There is an unequaled abundance of bird life in these fields. Migratory birds of the meadow build their nests here, while other species can be found in the bushes and reeds to the north that are left undisturbed. The wet and salty environment allows for a wide variety of rare plants as well.
Staatsbosbeheer, the National Forest Commission, looks after the Reef in cooperation with the Hoogheemraadschap, the polder-board that is responsible for the level of the waters.
In 1981 a growing concern about the fate of the environment and wild life in the Westzijderveld led to the Vereniging tot Ongeschonden Behoud Westzijderveld (Society to Keep the Westzijderveld Intact). In a series of court cases, they succeeded in preventing the city of Zaanstad of further infringements through building activities.
And area of 1057 hectares (2612 acres) of the Westzaan Polder is now protected as a bird sanctuary under the European Natura 2000 scheme.