Officials to study effects of sand extraction in the North Sea

Worldwide, sand reserves are dwindling, while more and more sand is needed to protect coasts against rising sea levels.

As part of the National Science Agenda, a study will be launched focusing on the ecological optimisation of sand extraction in the North Sea.

In this project, government authorities, fishermen, dredgers, nature organisations and researchers will collaborate on the ecological optimisation of sand extraction.

Sand extraction is expected to increase dramatically for the purposes of the natural protection of sandy shores against flooding and for major infrastructure projects.

Large-scale marine sand extraction results in considerable ecosystem effects as a result of changes in currents and sediment transport, and the physical disturbance of benthic habitats.

Sand nourishment is, and will remain, an important component of the Dutch coastal management strategy. The Netherlands extracts relatively large amounts of sand and the country is facing the challenge of making the optimal decisions to minimise the ecological impact, while still meeting the national demand for sand.

Consortium partners for the project include Deltares, Wageningen University & Research (consortium leader), Delft University of Technology, NIOZ, University of Twente, North Sea Foundation, Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences, Breda University of Applied Sciences, Rijkswaterstaat Sea and Delta, Boskalis and Van Oord.

Photo: Deltares