The Galgeplaat sand nourishment trial in the Eastern Scheldt was completed recently.
The result is positive. Nourishment stops the Galgeplaat tidal flat eroding as quickly and nature is recovering well. And there has not been any negative effect on mussel farming in the area.
The nourishment operation is intended to mitigate the negative impact of ‘sand starvation’ in the Eastern Scheldt. The Eastern Scheldt is home to intertidal flats that fall dry during ebb tides. But more and more sand from these flats is being lost to the tidal channel of the Eastern Scheldt, eroding them so that they disappear under water. That has a negative impact on biodiversity because the flats are home and a source of food to many birds and other organisms. And they are also natural breakwaters that mitigate the impact of waves on dikes. Coastal defences have to be strengthened when the flats erode.
The trial provided us with more information about nourishment as a possible way of counteracting the negative impact of sand starvation in the Eastern Scheldt. In addition, Building with Nature studies were carried out at a range of other locations in the Eastern Scheldt, including trials with oyster reefs. The combined results of these trials should develop the knowledge needed over the next 50 years to conserve this unique intertidal area.
Press Release, March 12, 2013