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European Marine Sand and Gravel Resources: Evaluation and Environmental Impact of Extraction

Period: November 2002 till January 2006
Status: Completed

Thesaurus terms: Geophysics; Gravel; Modelling; Sand
Geographical terms: ANE, Baltic [Marine Regions]; ANE, North Sea, Southern Bight [Marine Regions]

Institutes (10)  Top 
  • AZTI Foundation; Marine Research Division, more
  • University of Southampton; National Oceanography Centre, Southampton; School of Ocean & Earth Science (SOES), more
  • Universiteit Gent; Faculteit Wetenschappen; Vakgroep Geologie; Renard Centre of Marine Geology (RCMG), more
  • University of the Aegean; Department of marine sciences, more
  • National and Kapodistrian University of Athens; Departement of Geography and Climatology, more
  • Maritime Institute Gdañsk (IM), more
  • Université du Littoral Côte d'Opale (ULCO); Laboratoire Géomorphologie dynamique et Aménagement des littoraux [Coastal Geomorphology and Shoreline Management Unit] (GeoDAL), more
  • University of Twente; Water Engineering and Management (WEM), more
  • Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel; GEOMAR Research Center for Marine Geosciences (GEOMAR), more
  • European Commission; Fifth Framework Programme, more, sponsor

This project addresses the urgent need for integrated and coherent approaches (at a European level) to resource prospecting and the assessment of the environmental impacts of marine aggregates (sand and gravel) extraction. Its objectives include (i) the compilation of information on usage, production, resource availability and relevant regulatory (licensing) regimes at a European level; (ii) the evaluation of existing geophysical/geological survey strategies, instrumentation and interpretative techniques used to prospect resources; (iii) the assessment of existing methods to assess the physical and ecological impacts of the extraction. The project comprises both 'desk'- and 'fieldwork'-based investigations. With regard to the field studies, two resources (and extraction sites) at the southern North Sea and Baltic Seas will be prospected using state-of-the-art geophysical/geological techniques and instrumentation (e.g multi-beam and very high resolution seismics). The physical impacts of the extraction on the seabed/adjacent coastlines will be assessed using innovative hydro-, sediment and morphodynamic modelling, calibrated/validated by high quality in-situ measurements. The ecological impacts will be assessed using improved research protocols. The integration of the results will be then used to formulate improved research protocols and guidelines.

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