Parts of the “Bienener Altrhein, Millinger Meer and Hurler Meer” nature conservation area were designated as early as the 1950s and 1960s. It has existed in its current form since 1996 and is just under 640 hectares in size. The “Empeler Meer” nature conservation area is 6 ha in size and has been designated a nature conservation area since 1986. Together, the two areas form a European Natura2000 area as one of the last well-preserved oxbow lake systems on the Lower Rhine.
The Conservation Centre in Kleve district (Naturschutzzentrum im Kreis Kleve e.V.) has been responsible for looking after the area since 1993. For example, this includes annual breeding bird mapping, agreements with farmers on mowing times and examining the water bodies. In 2011 and 2012, a concept of measures for the area was drawn up that forms a basis for further decisions and measures.
The black tern species protection project, which the Nature Conservation Centre has been implementing since 1997, is a special feature. With its help, it has succeeded in returning the black tern, which was at risk of extinction, back to the Bienen Old Rhine.