The Hondsbossche and Pettemer sea dike no longer met current safety standards. Therefore the dike was reinforced in 2015 with a soft, natural barrier of 30 million cubic metres of sand on the seaside of the dike. It was renamed ‘Hondsbossche Dunes’.
The project represents a unique opportunity to study the development of nature on a large-scale sand nourishment. The design consists of a soft shallow foreshore (the beach), with various dune habitats. These connected systems make up the primary flood defence and provide the spatial quality required.
The aim of the innovation project is to learn more about efficient sand-nourishment with added value for nature and leisure.
We identified three research themes:
1. improving predictability in the development of engineered habitats
2. design optimisation
3. visitor perception of the coastal defences An improved understanding of these issues is crucial to the elaboration of an evaluation framework for decision-making about solutions using sand. It also provides a clearer picture of realistic possibilities for the design, management and maintenance of these solutions.
The results of the research will provide new knowledge about where soft approaches deliver added value and possible financial benefits by comparison with hard solutions. In conjunction with the research on the Sand Motor, this should result in a better fundamental understanding of sandy foreshores. We will also link the Hondsbossche monitoring programme to ongoing scientific research of reinforcement with sand, such as BE SAFE (NWO Building with Nature) and Nature Coast (STW Perspective).