01/09/16: Back to the beach: Sampling campaign going on in the Netherlands

Ecological validation of tidal flat restoration by dumping

Recently, a flexible dredging and sludge dumping programme for the Schelde estuary has been developed, in particular for the Westerschelde. The aim of the programme ‘flexible dumping' is to decrease maintenance dredging in the future while at the same time contributing to the area and quality of ecologically valuable shallow water and intertidal. The principle is to decide where to dump on the basis of the most recent monitoring results and insights.

The presently available monitoring results are insufficient to draw hard conclusions regarding the developments in ecological value of dumping sites. The research- and monitoring programme ‘Ecological validation of tidal flat restoration by dumping' aims to research the added value of dumping on tidal flat margins for the ecological functioning of the estuary. The programme consists of collection of data and an ecological study.

In order to be able to better predict the ecological effects of ‘flexible dumping' additional monitoring at dumping sites in use is presently undertaken. Also, pilot monitoring at new dumping sites and the use of new monitoring techniques may reveal which cost efficient monitoring efforts result in valuable results.

The programme is now well underway, with the littoral sampling of benthic macrofauna being finished and the ecological study in full progress. Preliminary results of sampling reveal significant differences in species number and biomass between different tidal flats.