EU bird reserve Rieselfelder Münster

The Rieselfelder Munster wetlands are a Ramsar site in Germany that were listed on the 28th of October, 1983. The area was a former irrigation field used by the city of Muenster for sewage works. In the 1980's a new water recycling plant was installed leaving the fields to dry out. Local communities observed the change in the ecology of the area and began to wet the area to maintain the wetlands.

The wetlands at the site are mostly shallow-water basins. In the south and in the north-east are moist to moderately wet pastures, which sometimes flood.

The value of this site was recognised as internationally important for waders and ducks and hence became a Ramsar site and EU bird reserve. The site has a path and several bird hides, however, most is not accessible to the public.

The reserve was extended between 1997 and 2000 and a nature experience area was created. Guided tours, bird identification classes, photography and education programs for children and adults are run in this part of the reserve. It is also an area that is important for scientific research. Investigation into migratory species is carried out at the field station located on site.

Conservation measures planned for the site include:

  • Creation of deeper water bodies for diving and fish-eating birds.
  • Creation of larger, continuous moist pastures.
  • Closure of the area to traffic.
  • Creation of buffer-zones around the core-area.

Photo 1: Biological station

Photo 1, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 2: This reserve was initiated and is supported by the local public through the organisation "Freundes- und Förderkreis" (Friends and supportors) Rieselfelder Münster.

Photo 2, © Jörg Gebauer

Photos 3-15: There are several types of hides at the site. Newer ones have benches and spy windows created at a variety of different heights. Where hides are placed on stilts (Photo 5 and 6) a fence prevents access to the observation area.

Photo 3, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 4, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 5, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 6, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 7, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 8, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 9, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 10, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 11, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 12, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 13, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 14, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 15, © Jörg Gebauer

Photos 16-18: In the new part an observation tower gives a wide overview.

Photo 16, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 17, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 18, © Jörg Gebauer

Photos 19-22: All paths and approaches are concealed with natural vegetation. The fences are often made of willow branches.

Photo 19, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 20, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 21, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 22, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 23: During the breeding season of certain bird species, many areas which have general public access are closed.

Photo 23, © Jörg Gebauer

Photos 24-27: There are a number of different signs with explanations on species, records of observations and markings for the circular routes.

Photo 24, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 25, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 26, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 27, © Jörg Gebauer

Photos 28-30: All areas with water are surrounded with small embankments that are covered with reeds. To enable wildlife watching without causing disturbance, all lakes have a small swath cut into the reeds or have willow branch fences as hides.

Photo 28, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 29, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 30, © Jörg Gebauer

Photos 31-33: "Mini Rieselfeld" designed for children - outdoor experience with a picnic option (32), education programs held by teachers (33).

Photo 31, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 32, © Jörg Gebauer

Photo 33, © Jörg Gebauer