This page presents the outputs from IMMERSE activities to date as well as project promotional materials. It will be continuously updated as more deliverables become available.
WP3 Measures: Defining pressure and solutions
Task 3.6 Explore solutions as part of a sediment strategy in Scheldt estuary to adapt to the effects of climate change - Description of the mouth of the Western Scheldt, including an overview of the data availability until 2019 (in Dutch)
This overview report is part of an intended knowledge program on sediment management in the mouth of the Western Scheldt. To obtain a better understanding of the sediment dynamics in the mouth and the exchange of sediment with the Western Scheldt, a sediment pilot is included in this knowledge program. This report contains a general description of the mouth and an overview of relevant data available for this area. The inventory defines the basis for the design and disposition of the sediment pilot, including the monitoring program.
In this report attention is paid to, among others, the existing infrastructure, management and maintenance and morphodynamics. In addition, the ecological values and characteristics are discussed on the basis of studies from the past decades. The available ecological datasets are discussed in detail. An overview is also given of relevant data obtained through project measurements or in the context of monitoring programs. Measuring poles and wave buoys are present in both the Dutch and the Flemish part of the estuary. Data relevant for the understanding of hydrodynamics, morphology and sediment balance is discussed in this report.
Since the aim is to provide an overview by bundling the available information, no new studies were carried out for this report. The information included in this report is subject to change, therefore this report has been delivered as version 2019.
The sediment pilot, a nourishment in the mouth of the Scheldt estuary, is included in a research program of Rijkswaterstaat which addresses large scale questions like the effect of accelerated sea level rise in the estuary. In order to define specific goals for the sediment pilot, an inventory was made based on existing knowledge and known knowledge gaps in morphology and ecology of the mouth of the Scheldt estuary. This inventory will be used in defining the location and design of the nourishment and as starting point for a multi-year monitoring and evaluation program.
WP4 Measures: Assessments, tests and pilots
Task 4.4 Feasibility study on river engineering measure in the Elbe
River engineering solutions that create additional flood space area known to affect sediment transport patterns and the development of specific habitats in estuaries such as shallow water areas. As part of a stakeholder consultation process 23 potential locations were identified for various engineering measures that could positively influence the characteristics of the Elbe estuary. They were discussed among the members of the estuary partnership “Forum Tideelbe”, and the 3 most suitable measures have been identified for further recommendation to the responsible authorities. The reconnection of the Dove Elbe, an anabranch located in the east of the city of Hamburg that has been separated from the estuary, was one of the most suitable locations to address tidal pumping but also to provide benefits for nature and society. IMMERSE partners HPA and BAW decided to support the estuary partnership by:
a) developing a measure layout to reconnect the Dove Elbe with the participation of stakeholders,
b) assessing the hydromorphological effects of the developed measure layout through numerical modelling, and
c) tendering a feasibility study that should investigate the ecological effects of the measure as well as the possible support of the measure by the locals by conducting stakeholder interviews.
Results of the investigation can be found in the (German) report: the study delivered important insights of the measure´s effects and led to concrete results, different than preliminary investigations in the estuary where only potential benefits were evaluated without considering social components. The whole process let to important insights on the relevance of stakeholder participation and adequate communication to achieve acceptance. Now, potential implementation is in the power of administrative decision-makers in the Elbe estuary.
WP5 Preparing for Implementation
Task 5.2.1 Improving Estuary Governance - Comparison of the governance of the Elbe, Scheldt and Humber regarding estuary management
The motivation for IMMERSE Partner Hamburg Port Authority was to compare governmental and decision making structures and processes of the three estuaries and analyse what valuable lessons can be learned from estuaries with comparable physical, economical and societal characteristics (and hence comparable challenges and tensions between actors and their interests) although if different governance structures and cultures may exist.
Key messages from the report based on comparison of the Scheldt, Elbe and Humber estuaries:
1. Differences in mutual dependencies between actors and cultural differences affect governance modes.
An explanation for the high (perceived) mutual dependency at the Scheldt is the fact that strict European ecological requirements “forced” Flanders and the Netherlands into a mode of collaboration. The lower (perceived) interdependency at the Elbe can be explained by the strong policy compartmentalisation and associated fragmentation which prevent that the federal states experience that mutual dependencies are relevant for resolving conflicts.
2. Effective stakeholder participation is a chicken-egg problem.
At the Scheldt stakeholders experienced a positive impact of the collaboration that took some years. For the Elbe this ‘proof’ of positive impact is not yet available. The question is whether decision-making through collaboration in such complex situation can be improved when there is no trust yet that the collaboration is favourable for the stakeholders and governmental actors.
3. A joint knowledge base promotes conflict resolution and collaboration.
Having a knowledge base that is based on joint fact-finding was very effective at the Scheldt in reducing and/or preventing conflicts. As actors agree on the knowledge that is used for decision-making; possible conflicts about these decisions are better understood amongst actors and therefore also less pronounced. Joint development of knowledge helps understand different interests better and hence enhances collaboration between actors.
4. Long-term visions can contribute to the integration of policy issues.
The long-term vision of the Scheldt shows that it is a powerful intervention to create conditions for good governance as it facilitates the integration of issues and creates a basis for actors for a common understanding about conflicting issues such as sediment management or nature development.
Further recommendations to achieve higher levels of collaboration, specific to the Elbe estuary, are also provided.
WP6 Stakeholder Integration
This document presents a list of stakeholder groups of the IMMERSE partner estuaries as well as groups of interest in partner and other North Sea Regions estuaries. An overview of relevant organizations including their main area of interests is provided and can be used for organizing a meeting or event. Due to data security rules no addresses can be shown, but they can be provided by the responsible authors of the document.
A first step in the stakeholder process, i.e. before integrating stakeholders in the measure development processes, a mapping of relevant stakeholders was undertaken if not yet available (IMMERSE Task 6.1). In IMMERSE the partners mapped stakeholders from project estuaries as well as from across the NSR. As a second step, an analysis and discussion of past experiences of stakeholder involvement should be undertaken to improve the stakeholder integration. This is done under IMMERSE task 6.2 for which the results are presented in this report.
Task 6.6 Develop a long term nature perspective for the Scheldt estuary with stakeholders
In the Scheldt estuary there is a very complex government situation, with sometimes strongly opposing stakeholder views. In this situation the governments that are collaborating within the Flemish Dutch Scheldt Committee face ecological goals that are very difficult to reach, especially when taking in account the long-term development of the estuary. Therefore, the Flemish Dutch Scheldt Committee wishes to develop a ‘perspective for nature on the long term’, which goes beyond the legal obligations within the N2000 framework. Such ‘perspective’ requires proper insight on the actual state of the estuary in such a way that there is agreement on the facts. The initiative was taken to make a joint analysis of the natural system of the estuary, with the most important stakeholders and experts.
Many governments and interest groups accepted the invitation. In 2017, as the first step, a plan of approach was accepted by all participants. This plan described the process of joint fact finding. During the spring of 2018 the system analysis started. During numerous sessions a common understanding of the natural state of the estuary was developed. This system analysis was finalized in the first months of 2019 and then presented to the Flemish Dutch Scheldt Committee. It describes the state and trends of the natural system, as well as possible explanations for these observations. The subject is the entire estuary in between the embankments, influenced by the tide, from the weir at Gent up until the imaginary line between Vlissingen and Breskens.
The document focuses on four themes:
- Hydrodynamics and morphology
- Water quality
- Flora and fauna
A summary document in English concisely describes the findings relevant for these four themes.
Project Promotional Material
IMMERSE Flyer Elbe (English version)
IMMERSE Flyer Elbe (German version)