Open water

Approximately 2,000 hectares of the Lauwersmeer National Park consists of open water in the former channels and gullies of the Lauwers Sea. Most of the water is shallow, with a maximum depth of 10 metres. The fact that Lauwersmeer still has links with the Wadden Sea is apparent from the fish caught there: flounder and smelt can still be found in the lake.

Food, drink and sleep

The open water constitutes an important drinking place and a safe place to sleep for the thousands of geese that overwinter here. In addition, the water is an important source of food for fish-eating birds such as grebe, cormorant and merganser. The shallow water is an important place for resting and feeding for bottom-feeding ducks such as the shelduck, and for a variety of waders such as the avocet.

Fixed water level

As regards water levels in Lauwersmeer, it was decided that the lake should have as constant a water level as possible This was fixed at 0.93 metres below Normal Amsterdam Water Level. In fact, Lauwersmeer has an important function as a water storage site. Almost all the surplus rainwater that falls in Groningen, Friesland and North Drenthe is discharged into the Wadden Sea via Lauwersmeer through the enormous drainage sluices at Lauwersoog. When there is a stiff northwesterly wind it is impossible get rid of the water into the Wadden Sea. The wind pushes the water towards the shore and there is no real low water in the Wadden Sea. At times like that, Lauwersmeer has to be able to accommodate all the water. Until drainage can start again.