A unique new-build hydraulic engineering project is taking place in the Markermeer: Marker Wadden. We are creating a new group of islands from sand, clay and sludge from the Markermeer lake. This will improve the water quality and the habitat for birds, fish, plants and shellfish.
People, too, will benefit from this nature reserve: the first and largest island is already accessible to nature lovers and water sports enthusiasts.
Creating natural habitats
The lake is closed off from the sea and rivers by the Afsluitdijk and Houtribdijk. As a result, the ecosystem has been disrupted and the bed of the lake is being smothered by a blanket of sludge. There is a lack of natural habitats for plants and animals, such as banks, tidal mudflats and marshes, and shallow zones. This is a problem that affects many places, both in the Netherlands and the rest of the world. Removal of the sludge (and putting it to good use) is of benefit to people, nature and the economy.
A lot of knowledge is being gathered about building with sand, clay and sludge during the creation of the Marker Wadden. This knowledge can be deployed for other objectives, such as dyke reinforcement, erosion control or the creation of islands for residential use. The research focuses on 3 areas:
- Building with sediment: how do you use watery sludge or clay to make a solid substrate for an island?
- Development of ecosystems: how can the Marker Wadden contribute to the expansion of the natural diversity and increasing the supply and quality of food for birds and fish?
- From idea to creation and management: which steps are required, how do you control the decision-making process?
Marker Wadden knowledge and innovation programme
In the Marker Wadden knowledge and innovation programme (KIMA) Rijkswaterstaat, Deltares, EcoShape and Natuurmomumenten are investigating how the ecosystem of the Marker Wadden is developing. The objective of KIMA is to generate and present knowledge about building with sludge, sandy barriers, ecology and governance. Why a knowledge and innovation programme?
- The ecology of the Markermeer is unable to realise its potential due to the 'blanket of sludge’ that is smothering organisms living on the bed of the lake.
- There are no natural habitats for plants and animals, such as banks, tidal mudflats and marshes, and shallow zones.
- The knowledge that the project delivers will work as an incentive for more innovation within the knowledge and innovation programme.
- With the knowledge and experience that we acquire, we will strengthen the position of the Netherlands as an ‘exporter of knowledge’ in the field of ecology, hydraulic engineering and water governance.