Deltares: Role of Ecosystem in Flood Protection Underestimated

The properties of ecosystems could be used more to improve flood protection.

The restoration or preservation of these systems should be included in the early stages of flood protection and climate adaptation strategies.

This was the conclusion of a number of international researchers, who included Bregje van Wesenbeeck, an ecologist with Deltares specialising in ecological engineering, in a paper in the latest edition of ‘Nature Climate Change’.

Additional revenue

The researchers emphasise that ecosystems generate socio-economic benefits in addition to flood protection.

They make the natural surroundings more appealing, attracting more recreational visitors.

They can also create a natural habitat for more fish, shrimps and shellfish, generating additional revenue as a result.

Added value

In their paper, the researchers looked at three specific examples of ecological engineering: marshes, mangroves and oyster reefs.

Bregje van Wesenbeeck: ‘The systems seaward of dikes play a major role in mitigating wave impact, reducing currents and stabilising the bed. We think most added value can be obtained from synergetic solutions involving the combination of traditional hydraulic engineering technologies, such as the construction of a dike, with the preservation or restoration of functional ecosystems such as the active management of a salt marsh.’

Call for change

Despite the advantages, ecological engineering is still not used widely. The researchers believe that this is because coastal protection has traditionally been developed by engineers. They believe that ecologists should be involved more, and earlier, in flood protection planning to make sure that ecological engineering is introduced widely. Bregje van Wesenbeeck: ‘On top of that, efforts will have to be made to bring engineers and ecologists together. They have to learn to talk each other’s language and to learn the basics of each other’s specialisms. And more projects will have to be organised so that more practical experience can be acquired.’

Knowledge development

Ecological engineering is a relatively new concept that still requires extensive research. Deltares is one of the research institutes making a contribution.

More info

Press Release, September 5, 2013

Share this article

Follow Dredging Today


<< Nov 2019 >>
28 29 30 31 1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 1

2019 Western Dredging Association Gulf Coast Chapter Annual Meeting

The meeting will provide a forum for the exchange of information of interest to the dredging industry and its associates.

read more >

3rd International Congress Hydraulic Engineering Structures and Dredging

Russia’s leading maritime industry Media Group PortNews ( holds a traditional annual Congress “Hydraulic Engineering Structures and Dredging” in Moscow. 

The two-day Congress includes the 7th International Forum of Dredging Companies and the 3rd Technical Conference “Modern Solutions for Hydraulic Engineering”.

Infrastructure development is among the real sources of Russia’s economy growth. Construction of port facilities and new hydraulic engineering structures on the country’s inland waterways constitute an essential part of all infrastructure projects. It is important to take into account the best international practices to implement these projects effectively.

The program of the Congress will be devoted to the latest technologies for dredging and hydraulic engineering works. Speakers and delegates will refer to real projects to discuss specifics features of dredging works, as well as dedicated fleet and equipment involved.

To learn more about event, please, contact the organizing committee:

read more >


Dredging jobs in Abu Dhabi at NMDC

National Marine Dredging Company “NMDC” aims to be the largest dredging player in the Arab’s Gulf region...


Looking to fill a job opening?

By advertising your job here, on the homepage of, you'll reach countless professionals in the sector. For more information, click below...


Looking to fill a job opening?

By advertising your job here, on the homepage of, you'll reach countless professionals in the sector. For more information, click below....