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Understanding Dredging


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Development of sustainable marine infrastructure; public-private considerations on key enabling factors

€ 20,-


Presented during:

CEDA Dredging Days 2015 - Innovative Dredging Solutions for Ports, Rotterdam


Aarninkhof SGJ - Boskalis, the Netherlands; Bridges TS - US Army Corps of Engineers, United States of America

Abstract: Recent years have shown a trend towards the development of nature-based solutions for sustainable marine infrastructure. Such solutions aim to address societal needs such as safety with respect to flooding, shipping, energy supply and nature, by aligning interests associated with ecology and economy. Innovation programs such as Building with Nature (Ecoshape), Engineering with Nature (USACE) and Working with Nature (PIANC) have contributed in significant ways to the development of the new concepts and projects. All three of these initiatives promote hands-on collaboration in multi-disciplinary project teams, and the products of these efforts are evident in projects and academic curricula worldwide. Although the benefits of nature-based solutions are clear, implementation within daily practice is not always straightforward. With this challenge in mind, we highlight seven enabling factors for successful implementation of nature-based concepts and practices.

Nature-based solutions for marine infrastructure come with inherent uncertainties, as they rely on dynamic relationships between physical and ecological processes to fulfill their functional requirements. Often, these uncertainties are manageable through application of sound engineering principles, monitoring and adaptive management. However, there are other factors to overcome. The nature-based solution should, among other criteria: fit with local governance, legislative, and regulatory frameworks; combine ecological with economic benefits; be considered and incorporated at the earliest stages of project development; and receive broad support from a variety of stakeholders – including among technical communities and the general public.

We provide an analysis here of the enabling factors for nature-based solutions, based on the experience gained from a series of projects with a strong “with Nature” quality. The projects that were selected to illustrate the approach have been drawn from examples worldwide, including the USA (Island development in the Atchafalaya River, Louisiana; wetland development in Duluth, Minnesota), UK (Southampton Channel Deepening), the Netherlands (Sand Motor Delfland, natural foreshore Houtribijk) and Indonesia (mangrove shorelines). Incorporation of these enabling factors in future projects will facilitate successful implementation of nature-based solutions for sustainable marine infrastructure.

Key words: Sustainable infrastructure, Building with Nature, Engineering with Nature, Working with Nature



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