ICCE 2022

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STRENGTHENING COASTAL DEFENCE WITH ARTIFICIAL DUNES. (2023). Coastal Engineering Proceedings, 37, sediment.51.


The Belgian coast is primarily sandy and is locally subject to erosion (Deronde, 2004). Traditionally, erosion was counteracted using hard engineering structures like groynes, seawalls and sea dikes. Nowadays, the Belgian government uses a different strategy by adopting a more soft and dynamic approach where possible. Many ‘soft’ managing activities at the Belgian coast are carried out in the form of regular and routine sand nourishments to cope for future flooding risks and coastal erosion (Houthuys, 2012). This method gives room to a new approach for coastal management where the natural elements and processes facilitate the development of new engineered dune areas at locations where traditional dike structures currently protect the hinterland. In the context of climate change and strict requirements for water safety, these hard to adapt engineering structures will not resist future flood events and more innovative solutions like dune in front of a dike principles to deal with rising sea level are receiving considerable attention. As a result, concepts are worked out in which traditional sea dikes are reinforced with newly created dune systems, offering a high level of protection of coastal infrastructure and at the same time offering a more natural appearance and higher ecological and socio economical values. In the framework of the SARCC project, one pilot site is realized in Raversijde. Besides the coastal defense function of the artificial dune, a second benefit is achieved: mitigating the nuisance, created by aeolian sand transport and preventing roads and tram tracks at the dike crest to be buried in sand.


SARCC project: Improving the understanding of Nature Based Solutions in coastal cities,

Deronde, B. et al. (2004) Proceedings of the European Association of Remote Sensing Laboratories 3, 26 33

Houthuys, R. (2012) Morphological trend of the Flemish Coast in 2011. Coastal Division, 150 pp. (in Dutch)

Strypsteen G. et al. (2019). Dune Volume Changes at Decadal Timescales and Its Relation with Potential Aeolian Transport., J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 7, 357.

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Copyright (c) 2023 Pieter Rauwoens, Glenn Strypsteen, Jennifer Derijckere, Dries Bonte, Sam Provoost, Toon Verwaest, Steven Muylaert, Peter Van Besien