Today’s challenges of erosion, flooding and storm surges are primary concerns for coastal communities around the world. Traditional coastal engineering solutions, such as concrete seawalls or rock breakwaters however, will become unsustainable due to their limited resilience, higher costs, societal impacts and unwanted ecological side effects. In response to these challenges, Coastbusters developed a nature-based solutions approach to sustainable coastal management. These solutions will create new habitats based on known ‘biobuilder species’ in the form of biogenic coastal reefs. The purpose of the reefs is to induce natural accretion of sand, attenuate storm waves and reinforce the foreshore against coastal erosion, thus adding to coastal protection.
Managing sediments, especially from dredging, is important for the management of estuaries and coastal areas. When implemented in the right way, a sediment management strategy can be qualified as a nature-based solution as it uses the physical processes of erosion and sedimentation to create added value. There is a need for an evaluation of sediment strategies and the habitats that are created for a wider range of objectives than only biodiversity and nature conservation. The concept of ecosystem services provides this broader framework.
Can nature-based solutions be mainstream solutions? Nature-based solutions have obvious advantages but have not been embraced at wider scale. The barriers which can hinder wide-scale application and the topic’s relevance to the dredging community are discussed.
This study examines which and, if possible, how much more ecosystem services are provided by the most recent nature inspired coastal protection project Prins Hendrik Zanddijk, in comparison with a traditional concrete and asphalt construction.
A paradigm shift is being increasingly embraced within the dredging industry. The traditional engineering approach is becoming a holistic approach in which the ecosystem is leading and values for people, profit and planet are integrated in an interdisciplinary manner.
The report provides the general concept of ecosystem services and the overall considerations on its use in the context of dredging projects.