Building with Nature: Coastal Protection

Posted April 24, 2019

The most serious threat resulting from climate change in the North Sea Region coastal areas is the increasing flood and coastal erosion risk. The Interreg VB North Sea Region ‘Building with Nature’ project demonstrates solutions to this threat in which natural elements like wind, waves and tides are used.

The coastlines in the north sea region are prone to erosion, reducing the beaches that break the waves and form dunes. Traditional civil engineering solutions like revetments often do not provide a sustainable long term solution to prevent coastal retreat. Besides that they disturb the connection between the beach and the dunes which is essential for the coastal ecosystem.

A Building with Nature solution for coastal erosion is to nourish the affected coast line with sand. The sand is naturally redistributed along the shore by wind, waves and tides. This forms and preserves a beach and dune system that protects us against sea level rise and provides extra space for nature and recreation. Feeding the coastline with sand enables it to grow with the rising sea level.

The Building with Nature project has several locations where this solution is being implemented. These living laboratories are studied individually and in total to help us understand the behaviour of shore face and beach nourishments. With the information gathered, more coast lines can be provided with Building with Nature solutions in the future.

Interreg Building with Nature: adapting to climate change, naturally.