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3. The Regge Basin

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In this chapter we will introduce the river, its basin and the river renaturalization project. Our case, the Regge River, is the most important river in the western part of the Twente region. Numerous smaller rivers and creeks flow into this river. In the periods 1848-1879, 1894-1913 and 1925-1935 the Regge suffered from piecemeal canalization efforts. This was done mainly to facilitate shipping and agriculture, although the shipping industry has long since died out. It resulted in nearly all of the meanders being cut from the river. Over the years the Regge was changed from a meandering river into a water course that was confined by narrow shores with paths for maintenance (e.g. dredging). In the context of the Water Framework Directive all waters contained within this watershed are consequently labelled as ‘strongly modified’. This context is the starting point for the Regge Renaturalization Project.

The Regge valley is a particularly rural area of the Netherlands which has been historically a rich area for farming activities, though the overall area used for traditional (intensive) farming is decreasing. It belongs to the region of Twente, where, despite having a high population density, most of the inhabitants are concentrated in a line-up of cities, leaving the rest of the region quite rural by Dutch standards. We can classify the Regge valley as an area with an increasingly interwoven combination of agriculture, recreation & tourism, towns, and both wet and dry nature (Natura 2000 areas), with a quickly diversifying set of resource uses. There are large investments in recreation and wetlands and creek restoration. This creates various physical planning issues.

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