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Beatriz Marin-Diaz, Gregory S. Fivash, Janne Nauta, Ralph J.M. Temmink, Nadia Hijne, Valérie C. Reijers, Peter P.M.J.M. Cruijsen, Karin Didderen, Jannes H.T. Heusinkveld , Emma Penning , Gabriela Maldonado-Garcia, Jim van Belzen , Marjolijn J.A. Christianen, Tjisse van der Heide, Daphne van der Wal, Han Olff , Tjeerd J. Bouma, Laura L. Govers
Combining foreshore ecosystems like saltmarshes and mangroves with traditional hard engineering structures may offer a more sustainable solution to coastal protection than engineering structures alone. However, foreshore ecosystems, are rapidly degrading on a global scale due to human activities and climate change. Meanwhile, conservation measures often focuses on hard engineering techniques to protect marsh/mangrove edges. Alternatively, foreshore ecosystems could be protected by using connected ecosystems which can trap and stabilize sediments, thereby reducing hydrodynamics loads on the ecosystem. In our study, we aimed to test the effect of large-scale biodegradable artificial reefs, aimed at mussel bed restoration, on tidal flat morphology. We hypothesized that the structures would attenuate hydrodynamics and trap sediment which could ultimately be beneficial for adjacent saltmarsh stability. For this, a large-scale experiment (630 m) was conducted on the tidal flats of the Dutch Wadden Sea, by installing biodegradable artificial reefs that were constructed to facilitate mussel bed establishment. Waves, sediment dynamics and sediment properties around the structures were monitored over three years. Our results demonstrate that intact structures attenuated waves (up to 30 %) and enhanced sediment accretion but also promoted local scouring. In general, we conclude that artificial reefs have the potential to attenuate waves and trap sediment on tidal flats. However, to benefit connected foreshore ecosystems, an even larger implementation scale is needed to affect tidal flat morphology.
Conference Presentation, SER2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program