Building with Nature

Building with Nature solution, sandy shores: world premiere

22 September 2017 - Published by Eric Boessenkool
The Houtrib dike between Enkhuizen and Lelystad in the Netherlands no longer meets the safety standards and is therefore reinforced. On September 21st, the work started. Not only with the usual extra rubble, but also in combination with a Building with Nature solution: a sandy shore. It is a world premiere for a dike in water without tide on this scale.

Rijkswaterstaat will place a sandy shore of 150 meters wide on both sides of the dike using sand that will be dredged from a nearby location in lake Marken. The sandy shore will stretch about 70 meters above water, the rest slopes down under the water surface. It is similar to what is done along the Dutch coast with the regular coastal maintenance program. At several locations sand is rain bowed, so the coast expanded in a natural way.

Building with nature
The question was whether this can be done in what is actually a tank of stationary water. Therefore, a test has been conducted over the last four years, halfway between the Houtrib dike on the side of lake Marken. The results were positive and therefore Rijkswaterstaat is going to use this Building with Nature solution for a part of the dike. Particular results of the test will be disseminated through the Interreg Building with Nature project.

Multiple benefits
Using the force of nature creates multiple benefits. Vegetation can grow on the sandpit. Even under water, more life will arise. That has already happened on another location close to Lelystad. The plate attracts breeding birds, mussels, snails and insects. Meanwhile, it stops the ground swell. This is how the sand protects the dike.

Source: NOS and Rijkswaterstaat