Paardeweide in Berlare and Wichelen serves as a flood control area. On average, this area floods once a year. It is here that the very first reed atoll, a jumble of sluices and creeks full of fish-eating birds, was built.

Surface area: 85 hectares
Territory: Berlare and Wichelen
Area type:  flood control area
Project target: wetlands (with non-tidal branches)

Paardeweide has been made into wetlands: there you will find open water, reeds and mix of foxtail grass and marshy grasslands. The area almost immediately attracted various herons, waders and other water birds. The most remarkable species to be found breeding here are the avocet and the common tern. Another remarkable sighting is that of numerous European spoonbills.

A reed atoll is situated in the eastern section of Paardeweide. This atoll alternates deeper zones with open water with shallower zones inhabited by reed vegetation. This biotope has been developed for finicky birds, such as the little bittern, the black-crowned night heron and the great bittern.

The fish trap Paardeweide guides fish into the flood control area.

Using a clever fish trap and a water inlet (non-tidal branching), fish can freely choose to enter the Scheldt or the flood control area. The water flows into the area via the easternmost sluice and back to the Scheldt via the fish trap.