Building with Nature

Nature’s force as a starting point

28 March 2017 - Published by Eric Boessenkool
The Building with Nature (BwN) partners are picking up steam. Recently the partners met in Denmark for the coordination meeting and a field visit. They spoke about living laboratories in the North Sea region that demonstrate BwN solutions, stakeholder engagement and connecting practice to policy.

Denmark has been affected by nature’s force in many ways. The partners could see the way in which glaciers shaped the landscape of Denmark and the continuous influence of the sea on the sandy beaches. Nature’s force is strong and that’s why this project wants to use this force and put BwN-solutions in the lead of decision- and policymaking.

Living laboratories in the NSR
During the meeting in Denmark the partners discussed all the living laboratories in the North Sea Region. These living laboratories demonstrate BwN-solutions at seven coastal sites and at six sites in estuaries, rivers and lakes. The goal of these laboratories is to learn and assess together how BwN-measures work and why they work best.

The Eddleston Water project
One of the laboratories in a river is The Eddleston Water project in Scotland. It is about to award a 3 year contract to continue the monitoring of measures on the ground. With this, we can assess their effectiveness in reducing flood risk downstream. Capturing this scientific evidence is essential to persuading flood managers to adopt building with nature solutions.

Ameland Tidal inlet monitoring
Other example laboratories are starting up: the Ameland Tidal inlet monitoring and possible outer delta pilot nourishment. An extensive monitoring campaign will start this autumn at the Ameland inlet. Joint analysis of recent beach and shore face nourishments at several partner’s laboratories is starting up. The first results will be presented at the Coastal Dynamics 2017 conference in Denmark.

Stakeholder engagement
We are working together to better understand the legislative framework that governs each partner and how we can promote building with nature. Stakeholder engagement is an important part of any Building with Nature project and we will develop case studies to demonstrate and share our experiences.

Connecting practice to policy
Within the project we learn together how BwN works, but of course, we also want to have an impact in the North Sea Region. To do this we need to connect BwN-measures to policy. BwN can be a good alternative for more conventional measures. We want to show policymakers these alternatives. The partners share their experience in implementing BwN and together with the knowledge of the living laboratories, we can develop a guidance on how to use and implement BwN.

The BwN-project’s objective
The overall objective of the BwN project is to make coasts, estuaries and catchments of the North Sea Region (NSR) more adaptable and resilient to the effects of climate change. BwN creates joint transnational monitoring programmes, uses state-of-the-art analysis methods, and develops improved designs and business cases. BwN coastal and catchment laboratories generate the evidence-base that is currently lacking to incorporate BwN solutions in national policy and investment.