Amongst all the studies done at the MV2 Port of Rotterdam expansion, none was more exciting than the discovery of the Middle Stone Age civilisation that flourished on the Maas-Rhine delta 9,000 years ago.
TNO’s acoustic surveys of dredgers during all phases of the dredging cycle showed that permanent hearing threshold shift was not exceeded in any cases studied or in any species in question.
To meet the demands of this massive extension, engineers had to think out of the box – utilising Pleistocene sand, recycling rock from an old block dam and inventing new equipment and survey systems.
Given the inter-dependence of the underwater food chain from benthic fauna and algae to shells, worms, fish and birds, a new modelling strategy was instituted to evaluate the effects of enhanced silt concentrations during dredging.
Compliance for permitting was not enough for the monitoring team at the Port of Rotterdam. When they discovered gaps in scientific knowledge, they initiated more research.
This complex mega infrastructure project demanded an imaginative approach from the start, resulting in a transparent Design Construct and Maintenance (DCM) contract.
Lessons learnt when planning the construction of the new Rotterdam port extension about the uncertainties of environmental effects on a Natura 2000 site may be applicable to other situations.