The tidal flats in the Eastern Scheldt tidal basin (The Netherlands) are eroding as a result of the construction of the storm surge barrier. These intertidal areas are important foraging grounds for birds and therefore it is important to mitigate the negative effects of erosion. As a pilot, a small part (20ha) of the Galgeplaat tidal flat in the middle of the Eastern Scheldt was nourished with 130,000m3 of sediment in 2008. This paper investigates this tidal flat nourishment using a large set of morphological and ecological monitoring data from 2008 to 2012. The nourishment proved effective in mitigating the negative effects of tidal flat erosion. The elevated tidal flat provides a foraging area for birds that is available for a longer period. The nourished area was relatively stable, giving time for the recovery of benthic macrofauna such that birds can benefit from the longer exposure time. Therefore, we conclude that sediment nourishments are an effective management measure to counteract the negative consequences of tidal flat erosion in the Eastern Scheldt, and have potential for other estuaries worldwide.
- Eastern Scheldt
- Estuarine management
- Morphological and ecological monitoring
- Sediment nourishment
- Tidal flat