Ecological dike foreshore upgrading – Eastern Scheldt

Operation and maintenance

For maintenance and monitoring standard procedures can be followed in the future. There is no risk of uncontrolled natural development. The project location will be monitored to compare the nature development here with that near a conventional dike foot. Meanwhile, the design has various positive impacts on economy and society, e.g. local entrepeneurs can make money out of the difers that come from abroad to dive here and panels educate the public about the vulnerable underwater ecosystem.


The technical design meets the requirements for safety, obviously the main objective of the dike and foreshore strengthening works. Flood safety provided by the structure can be assessed in the future following standard procedures. For the ecological aspects, maintenance requirements in the sense of engineering interventions is not necessary for the underwater landscape.  


The risk of uncontrolled and undesired natural development is not an issue here. Of course it is interesting to compare the newly developed ecosystem with that in a conventional dike foot landscape. Rijkswaterstaat will include this in the monitoring campaigns out for the entire project. Furthermore, ‘Stichting Anemoon’ has started a voluntary monitoring campaign enabling divers to upload their photos for ecological monitoring. Divers take photographs at the marking stones. A rapid recovery was observed as well as a high biodiversity. Also rare organisms appear to have settled within the landscape.


Instead of ecosystem degradation due to a traditional design, new opportunities arise with the chosen design. Local entrepeneurs can make money out of the difers that come from abroad to dive here. Moreover, the applied design concept can be exported to other countries.

Several publications made the public aware of the principles of habitat enrichment and how the ‘Ecodesign Structures’ contribute to this and create added value. On top of that, information panels make the public aware of the vulnerable ecosystem present under water. This increases support and helps to put this issue on the political agenda.

In addition to the ‘Ecodesign Structures’, three steel structures have been placed at the planning site. They are meant to support the ‘Sepia Project’, a project to protect the cuttlefish that enter the Eastern Scheldt in spring to mate.