With an area of 29,1 km², the Steinhude Mere is the largest inland lake in north-west Germany. The shallow lake with a maximum depth of 2,9 m and an average depth of 1,3 m is embedded in the Steinhude Mere Nature Park, which covers a total of 310 km² and was founded in October 1974. The lake was formed in a basin towards the end of the last ice age around 14.000 years ago. Since 1984, the nature park has taken part in various competitions on the subject of sustainable tourism and has been awarded first and second place several times.
What makes it special
Despite the small surface, Steinhude Mere has a huge significance for resting, wintering and moulting birds, due to the isolated geography. This is one reason why the Steindude Mere was Living Lake 2017 in Germany.
· Ramsar Site 87, Wetland of International Importance
· EU Natura 2000
· Nature Park - Naturpark Steinhuder Meer
The upland moor area of the Steinhuder Meer Nature Park is home to a variety of rare animal and plant species over an area of 2.300 ha. It provides a habitat for Peat Moss, Cotton Grass and Sundew. The wildlife is also very impressive, with rare bird species such as the Crane, Ferruginous Duck and Osprey, as well as various dragonfly and butterfly species, Moor Frogs and adders.
Climate change affects Steinhude Mere in particular. The water level is very important for a shallow lake like the Steinhude Mere. With an already low average depth of 1,35 m, a drop in the water level is becoming more and more of a problem due to increasingly warmer summers and a lack of precipitation in the winter months.
In 2018, the water level dropped by 47 cm as a result of the hot summer at the time.
The association “Ökologische Schutzstation Steinhuder Meer” was founded in 1991. In productive co-operation between volunteers and full-time staff, regular and extensive surveys of animals and plants are carried out in the nature reserves. Practical nature conservation work serves to renaturalise the moors. Guided tours of the moors and wet meadows, as well as tours of the birds of the night, are part of the regular public relations programme. Lectures and exhibitions are also organised. Active regional press work provides information about nature around the Steinhuder Mere.