Nature is reclaiming Rhine embankments
The City Gardeners of Basel-Stadt have been working towards greater plant diversity in the canton. The Rhine embankments provide an excellent example for how nature is reclaiming space from urbanisation.
It is better to aim for more diversity of plants rather than cutting them back. That way, the city becomes a space for various flora and fauna. The City Gardeners of Basel-Stadt had this change of paradigm in the 1990s.
“If you look at a habitat like Basel-Stadt, there is hardly a square metre that has not undergone any change,” Emanuel Trueb, head of Basel’s City Gardeners, said. “The only thing here that nature created itself was the Rhine valley: the Rhine, the Birsig, and the Birs rivers have moved on thier own to where they are today.”
There is no untouched landscape anymore
This is the region’s only natural feature that has not been formed by human hands. All the nature that can be seen in Basel-Stadt has been renewed or grew on its own. “There is no untouched landscape in Basel anymore,” Mr Trueb says. “But nature can adapt and quickly reinstates itself again.” This can be seen particularly well at the Rhine embankments.
No more weeding
The reason why Basel is so popular not just among humans but for living creatures in general is bound to the aforementioned change in paradigm in the 1990s. Emanuel Trueb began his work as a city gardener almost 25 years ago and still remembers how it used to be. “Our maxim was to trim and weed the landscape. The fortifications at the Rhine embankments were bare stone, all of which was cleaned regularly.”
Today, there are grassy areas, plants, flowers, and trees by the Rhine. “Over the past years, we changed our philosophy and let things grow,” Mr Trueb says. No more weeding and cleaning: nature grows much more beautifully and greener that way. “Nobody planted the seeds that grew into the plants by the Rhine embankments,” he adds. The only work done by the City Gardeners consists of mowing the slopes.
Sun-loving animals on Kleinbasel side of Rhine
Mowing is no easy task on the Kleinbasel side of the river as the embankment looks like a small forest in certain areas. “We will cut back those spots in part,” Mr Trueb explains. The shrubs keep the sunlight from the sunnier side of Basel. This causes sun-loving animals such as grasshoppers, butterflies, and lizards to leave the area again.
By allowing nature to grow more freely, there are more and more species living in Basel. Under the supervision of the City Gardeners, of course: “We keep a watch over the green areas and obserce how plant life develops.” A success: The green areas at the Rhine shore are full of diversity. On average, at least 30 different plant species can be found in on square metre.
Even wild roses have found their place by the Rhine. “We let them grow deliberately,” Emanuel Trueb says. “They grow rose hips – food for the birds.” The Rhine embankments are thus not just a nice place to be for humans. Animal life also found its small paradise thanks to Basel’s City Gardeners.
Police search launched after woman raped in Erlenmatt
The police are looking for a man who raped a woman twice in an apartment in the Erlenmatt quarter on Saturday night.
Current investigations by the criminal police of the public prosecution reveal that the woman had met a man on Saturday evening and they had gone to a bar together. Later that night, she went with him to an apartment in Erlenmatt, where she was raped. She was able to escape and run from the apartment to call for help.
However, the rapist dragged her back into the apartment and raped her again. The woman managed to escape on Sunday morning at about 6.30am, when she ran to the police station for help.
The police are looking for an unidentified man, about 25 years old, around 170–175 cm tall, of normal stature and with dark skin. He spoke Spanish and appears to be South American. It is not clear in which building the crime happened.
Witnesses who heard calls for help in Erlenmatt on Saturday night and can provide relevant information about the street or the building are requested to contact the criminal police of Basel-Stadt via the phone number 061 267 71 11 or by going to the nearest police station.