In just couple of months, Royal Boskalis Westminster will start the first phase of one of the largest nature restoration projects in western Europe: Marker Wadden.
This EUR 33 million project includes the construction of a nature island in lake Markermeer, the Netherlands.
This first island will serve as a test case for the development of the other islands in a later phase of the project.
Ultimately, the Marker Wadden should cover an area of 100 km2 with reed marshes, mud flats and shallow littoral zones. The design of the Marker Wadden islands is conducted by Vista landscape.
Trap the silt
Conservation organisation Natuurmonumenten has developed a plan for the creation of islands with natural shores that can trap the silt and decrease the water turbidity.
Suspended sediments will settle on the lee side of the islands. This will greatly improve habitat quality for endangered plants and animals.
Restoring the water quality of lake Markermeer will boost productivity of the aquatic food chain from the bottom up, and will likely result in a recovery of fish populations.
If there are sufficient land-water environments, natural processes will start to play a role in shaping marshes and wetlands.
Showcase of modern water engineering
The restoration of lake Markermeer with the new nature islands is a technical challenge. The project will be based on the concept of ‘Building with nature’, maximizing the use of natural processes.
The engineering is not restricted to the construction of the islands itself, but also to the creation of these processes.
In the case of the Marker Wadden project, the ‘Building with nature’ concept involves the dredging of a deep channel in which large amounts of sediment will accumulate due to natural flow patterns and gravity.
The trapped sediment will be used to build the islands.