Sand nourishments to mitigate the eco-morphological losses caused by storm surge barriers

P.L.M. de Vet, J.J. van der Werf, B.C. van Prooijen, A.T.M. de Bakker, B. Walles, T.J. Bouma, T. Ysebaert, E. van Zanten, Z.B. Wang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Storm surge barriers (SSBs) protect the hinterland of estuaries against flooding, while in open state the tidal dynamics are maintained to some extent. Even when tidal dynamics are maintained, tidal conditions are inevitably affected by the confinement of the flow. As a result, intertidal flats – providing important ecosystem services – face losses through erosion. In this work, we integrated research on (1) morphological consequences of the Eastern Scheldt SSB (The Netherlands, 1987) and (2) intertidal flat nourishments mitigating these negative eco-morphological consequences. Through decades of data, we show that the SSB induced persistent erosion. We have demonstrated that sand nourishments on tidal flats can effectively mitigate SSB-induced erosion and ecological consequences. We have found that net lowering of tidal flats in systems as the Eastern Scheldt will proceed, also given accelerated sea level rise. Even though tidal flat nourishments are an effective mitigation strategy, we urge to steer first on minimizing irreversible hydromorphological changes caused by future SSB projects (e.g., considered for Galveston Bay). Through monitoring data on intertidal flat sand nourishments in this system, we identify the potential of these mitigation measures and provide recommendations for future SSB deployments and mitigation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCoastal Sediments 2023
Subtitle of host publicationThe Proceedings of the Coastal Sediments 2023 In 5 Volumes
EditorsP. Wang, E. Royer, J.D. Rosati
Place of PublicationNew Orleans
PublisherWorld Scientific Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)9789811275142
ISBN (Print)9789811279898
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2023


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