Brussels Environment is working on the upgrade of the Senne river banks at Paepsemlaan in the south of the Brussels-Capital Region. This initiative will restore and enhance approximately 1 km of river bank in a natural way. The works commenced in September 2018 and will end in the spring of 2019.

This action aims to restore and protect biodiversity by making more room for nature within the area. A meeting and walking space will additionally be created on the right bank, where passers-by can pause next to the water to recharge their batteries and escape the city stress.

Making green space visible

The first phase of the works was carried out in September and October 2018. The landscape was opened up to make this green space more visible from the road and pavement. Invasive plants were removed, trimmed or cut. More suitable plant species will be planted at a later stage. Rock deposits were installed at various locations for different purposes:

  • Strategic deposits were installed in the riverbed. Firstly, to create spawning zones that encourage the gradual return of fish to our region’s waters by enabling them to reproduce more easily. And secondly, to introduce more variation in the the Senne currents. These rock deposits or ‘cribs’ promote the (re)development of flora and fauna in and around the Senne.
  • Deposits and stone layers were also been installed in certain places along the river banks in order to channel the water flowing from the streets into the river. This creates strips of wetland (shallow, broad, vegetated ditches) and the river banks suffer less erosion as a result. The strips of grassland, where marsh plants spring up, collect, store and filter (reservoirs) the run-off water before it enters the Senne.

New path and planting

During the second phase of the works, which will commence at the beginning of 2019, a path will be constructed and lined with trees and shrubs. Nature is not very accessible in this urban zone. However, thanks to the project, those living and working in the area will be able to enjoy fresh air in fine weather. The left waterfront and bank will be replanted, but will remain inaccessible to the public in order to allow the fauna and flora to evolve without being disturbed.