In the Urdenbacher Kämpe nature reserve – in contrast to most other riverine areas – there are no dikes to prevent the River Rhine from overflowing its banks. Since the wetlands retain the surplus water, this provides natural flood protection for the towns and cities further downstream.
Regular flooding gives rise to a typical wetland habitat characterized by fluctuating water levels. This is important for "specialized" plants that like to get their feet wet. Rare plants including burnet and autumn crocus flourish in the nature reserve's wet meadows.
The flood map
shows the areas subject to frequent flooding. At nearly all of the information panels in the nature reserve, you will find flood-level marker posts documenting particularly high floods.
Between Rhine and Old Rhine
The nature reserve is bordered by the Rhine on one side and the Rhine's old bed on the other, which runs right along the outskirts of Düsseldorf. Seven hundred years ago the great river had its bed where today the Old Rhine is only a small stream. A particularly high flood in 1374 caused the river to change its course.