At Deltares in the Netherlands, a research team is developing a portfolio of technologies dedicated to the management of the finest and most challenging fraction of soft sediments. These technologies may unambiguously be called nature based because they make use of natural processes to enhance dewatering and strengthening, induce flocculation and the settling of fines, and protect the muddy bed from erosion.
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.
To manage costs and the long-term effects of dredging in highly dynamic estuarine areas, continued scientific research, modelling and analysis are indispensable.