In October 2005 ALTERRA started a large-scale study on the effectiveness of unfertilized buffer strips along waterways in the Netherlands. They have investigated if such buffer strips can contribute to better surface water quality. The study was initiated in response to an agreement between the Netherlands and the European Union. Brussels wants the Netherlands to install buffer strips of at least 5 m wide along waterways, like in other countries of the EU. The Netherlands, however, has doubts about the effectiveness of buffer strips under flat conditions with little runoff. On the other hand, it does not want to exclude the possibility of implementing this measure with an eye to the water quality targets specified in the EU water framework directive. Buffer strips might be cheaper than alternatives. To review the research project a meeting was organised by Alterra on 18th of September 2006 in Wageningen. The judgement by the reviewers of the original project review meeting can be read is this publication
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