Sealed soils can be found everywhere in our cities and industrial sites: they are covered by a floor covering, such as concrete and asphalt, to make them airtight and waterproof. This prevents rainwater from percolating, which on the one hand prevents groundwater supplies from replenishing and on the other hand increases the risk of local flooding during heavy rainfall. Unsealing areas that are not in their natural state is the key to restoring natural soil functions.
We are therefore particularly pleased to announce that the extensive unsealing and creation of a new, more ecologically valuable condition on Kurl 3 has been completed: Around 3,700 m² of traffic, storage and parking areas remained on the Kurl 3 site after the end of mining use – roughly the size of half a soccer field, in sealed condition. By unsealing these areas, we have unleashed great ecological potential and created a habitat above and below ground. The natural materials brought in now take on the role of valuable secondary habitats, especially for endangered and rare animal and plant species. In the coming weeks, HeimatERBE will add additional elements, such as stone bars and logs, to structurally enrich the freshly created habitats and increase habitat diversity, and also establish a trail concept including a nature trail on Kurl 3.
The preparation of this measure started already in early summer 2021: in coordination with the responsible authorities, investigations of the material were carried out. After approval, we were able to start the work. A natural, significantly narrower path still allows access to the area. Partial areas have been and will continue to be driven over at regular intervals by employees of the methane gas plant and the radio mast operator, primarily for maintenance purposes – but full sealing is not required for this.
In places, some woody roots had broken through the concrete and asphalt at the edges of the sealings. These ornamental shrubs were first cut back along with bordering shrubs to expose the full extent of the sealing and the later working area for unsealing.
The following work steps were carried out in chronological order after coordination with the authorities:
1. clearing of the construction site during the ecologically less sensitive winter months
2. chiseling up the asphalt and concrete pavements, also during the winter months
3. removal of the surface course
4. construction of a 3 m wide path made of percolating natural materials – approx. 800 m²
5. application of natural sand of regional origin for species protection purposes in the remaining unsealed areas – approx. 2,900 m²
Thanks to these elaborate measures, we were able to eliminate the above-mentioned load factors of sealing. The entire measure area is now capable of infiltration, thus contributing to groundwater recharge, absorbing water and storing it in the pore spaces. It thus has a positive effect on the microclimate.
By the way: we have continuously recorded and balanced the environmental effects of the individual steps ecologically. Soon we will inform about our own organizational Life-Cycle-Assessment!
We are looking forward to further developments and will keep you informed!
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