The IMMERSE Final Conference was held in Antwerp 23-24 March 2022!
IMMERSE held its final conference on 23-24 March of 2022, in-person in the beautiful city of Antwerp, Belgium.
What was on the agenda?
- IMMERSE philosophy and key achievements + IMMERSE exhibition of solutions
- Keynotes: Introduction to estuarine environments + Environmental and societal challenges
- Panel Discussion: What is needed to ensure good estuary management - and how does policy contribute to sustainable estuaries?
- Breakout sessions on technical subjects related to the IMMERSE pressures
- Site visit via a boat trip to the downstream Scheldt
- Download the Programme here
- Throughout the conference, Christian Ridder of Business as Visual captured the discussion in the below visualisation of the IMMERSE project, main issues and key messages.
- Download the full-size image here.
- Welcome and Introduction to IMMERSE by Frederik Roose, Flemish Region Department of Mobility and Public Works
- What environmental and societal pressures do NSR estuaries have in common? A multidisciplinary overview by Prof. Patrick Meire, University of Antwerp (unavailable)
- Towards sustainably managed estuaries: Perspectives on estuary management in the context of future global challenges by Prof. Mike Elliot, University of Hull and IECS Ltd.
Breakout Session Presentations
1) Flooding strategies:
- Improve understanding of contributing role of local waterways to flooding, Holbaek Kommun
- Modelling and monitoring to inform a systems approach to the management of the Humber, University of Hull
2) Sediments and tides:
- Develop a morphological management strategy in the Western Scheldt, Port of Antwerp
- Feasibility study on the reconnection of the Dove-Elbe, Bundesanstalt for Wasserbau
- Pilot on Cross-border solutions for maintenance dredging, Flemish Department for Mobility and Public Works
3) Solutions for water quality:
- Improve water quality and provide economic stimulus through co-location of mariculture within an inshore wind farm, Tees Rivers Trust
- Development of innovative rain gardens to filter and degrade microplastics, Chalmers University of Technology
- Biota & microplastics interactions - A Humber case study, University of Hull
4) Solutions for flooding
- Exploration of solutions to adapt to the effects of accelerated sea level rise, Rijkswaterstaat
- Regional climate adaption investigation by use of numerical modelling, SWECO Danmark
5) Supporting habitat creation:
- Tees Estuary Intertidal Habitat Creation, Tees Rivers Trust
- Measure to reduce tidal intrusion and increase nature value, De Vlaamse Waterweg
6) Sediment quality:
- Stabilisation of contaminated sediments, Chalmers University of Technology
- Mapping the spread of particle-bound pollutants in the Elbe estuary, Bundesanstalt for Wasserbau
Final Plenary Session
In the final plenary session, all participants came together to summarise and reflect on what was discussed in the breakout sessions, and to develop a shared statement of what has a been learned in IMMERSE. Participants were asked to submit feedback again via the Slide app. Some of the key messages were as follows:
- Think, Learn, Share and Adapt when managing an estuary.
- Implement strategies step by step with endless endurance
- Think big. Start small
- Estuarine management has to be integrated and process-based and requires the matching (long-term) monitoring.
- Caring for estuaries involves monitoring, studying, researching, testing and preparing for future scenarios
- Sharing knowledge between partners will lead to better solutions and future planning of estuary management.
- Together we are stronger!
- Learning together to manage together
- Engage stakeholders to make them drivers of change
- A healthy estuary benefits all!
All North Sea Region estuary stakeholders were invited to experience the IMMERSE results and find solutions for common estuarine pressures. A full report detailing discussions and conclusions from the event can be downloaded here.