My journey to Wanningen Water Consult...

 

I have been travelling through the world of water management ever since my study of Environmental chemistry (1993) and Aquatic ecology (1995). It is a journey with inspiring work and personal growth in which I, as an ecologist, contribute to achieving clean and healthy surface water. I have become active outside the borders of the Netherlands and I provide advice. I would like to expand this the coming years.

 

My journey starts in 1996 in Middelburg at the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management, Zeeland Department, in which I took care of an evaluation of the water management of the Volkerak-Zoommeer and worked on the ecological restoration in the Western Scheldt.

 

I transfered to the Water Board “Zuiveringsschap Drenthe” in 1997, where I, as water quality professional, took care of various evaluations and where I was responsible for the annual reports. While working at this Water Board I discovered the beautiful and inspiring area of the drainage basin of the Drentsche Aa. As an advisor I contributed to various ecological restoration projects. I cooperated with several stakeholders in this river basin. The Drentsche Aa has become cleaner since that time and I am proud of the fact that I have contributed to this development.     

 

In 2000 I started to work as an aquatic ecologist at the Hunze and Aa’s Regional Water Authority. One of the first projects in which I was involved is the ‘protection plan for fish in the province of Drenthe. I became fascinated by fish and fish migration because of this cooperation project of the regional Fishery Board, the Forestry Commission and the province of Drenthe. Further more, I learned that by means of open cooperation one is able to develop plans with a vast consensus that actually bring that solution of pressure points within reach.

 

A logical consequence is for me to start working on the construction of a fish crossing at Polder Breebaart near Termunten, where I give ecological advice. Here my fascination for the fish migration continues to grow. Why do fish migrate in the first place? And where do they want to go to? We develop, together with the Noorderzijlvest Water Board and the Groningen-Drenthe Fishery Board the fish migration vision “From sea to source”, which is currently the basis of the fish policy of both Water Board. Ever since quite a number of fish crossings have been constructed and the coming years more crossings are yet to come. Fortunately, the fish are able again to swim around freely.

 

During my journey I developed myself from professional concerning content (eutrophication, pesticides, wetlands, monitoring, evaluations) more and more to project leader and coordinator. In 2006 I became coordinator of the European Framework Directive Water and I took care of the implementation of this directive within Regional Water Authority. It appears to be very complex with many stakeholders and various interests, but this was the challenge for me. In 2008 it was decided which measures the coming decades will be taken in order to improve the ecological quality of our streams, lakes and canals. I am pleased that I have been able to make a contribution to these ambitious plans.

 

But I am changing…I have noticed I am able to guide and start work processes, because of my innovative and motivating character. I also know how to give a new impulse to projects that seem to fail, so they can still turn out to be successful. Motivated people are, according to me, the base for good results and this makes water management a pleasant profession. I want to use my experience in a broader sense both in the Netherlands and abroad. Therefore, I started the consultancy agency Wanningen Water Consult part time in 2007. I work independently, but I also often cooperate with Jeroen van Herk from LINKit Consult at Amsterdam (www.linkitconsult.nl). I give advice on planning processes and vision forming. I  focus both on the side of content as well as the process side. Reaching concrete and clear results is the most important aspect in my work.

 

The first year turned out to be successful. My journey therefore, took a new turn. From May 2008 I am working as a consultant full time. I work in and outside the Netherlands and the theme fish migration plays a central role in it. I hope to be able to offer an inspiring contribution the coming years, to the realisation of a clean and healthy environment for both humans as well as plants and animals.