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Recommendations for the sustainable exploitation of tidal sandbanks
Van Lancker, V.R.M.; Bonne, W.; Garel, E.; Degrendele, K.; Roche, M.; Van den Eynde, D.; Bellec, V.K.; Brière, C.; Collins, M.B.; Velegrakis, A. (2010). Recommendations for the sustainable exploitation of tidal sandbanks. J. Coast. Res. SI 51: 151-164
In: Journal of Coastal Research. Coastal Education and Research Foundation: Fort Lauderdale. ISSN 0749-0208, more
Peer reviewed article

Available in Authors 

Keywords
    ANE, Belgium, Belgian Continental Shelf (BCS) [gazetteer]; Marine
Author keywords
    marine aggregate extraction; dredging; environmental impact assessment; environmental monitoring; sustainable development; mining guidelines; seabed regeneration

Authors  Top 
  • Van Lancker, V.R.M., more
  • Bonne, W., more
  • Garel, E.
  • Degrendele, K., more
  • Roche, M., more
  • Van den Eynde, D., more
  • Bellec, V.K., more
  • Brière, C.
  • Collins, M.B.
  • Velegrakis, A.

Abstract
    A basic requirement for allowing marine aggregate (sand) extraction on the Belgian Continental Shelf (which takes place on sandbanks) is that it should not result in major environmental changes. However, a tidal sandbank (Kwinte Bank, Flemish Banks), exploited intensively since the 1970’s, has shown evidence of significant morphological changes with the development of a 5 m deep depression in its middle section; thus, since February 2003, sand extraction has ceased in this area in order to study the environmental impacts and the regeneration potential of the seabed. The present contribution synthesises the results of the multidisciplinary research, which has taken place in the area and, on the basis of these findings, considers the need for an efficient management framework, in both the planning and monitoring stages of the extraction. The investigation has shown that extraction has had significant impacts on the seabed sedimentary character and ecology and the local hydro-and sediment dynamic regime. Under these conditions, regeneration of the seabed is not likely in the short-term and, although modelling exercises have indicated possible recovery in the medium- and long-term, this is likely to be inhibited by the lack of appropriate sediments in the area. The results have provided the basis of the identification of a ‘suite’ of criteria, which can assist in the strategic planning/design of marine aggregate concession zones, the efficient management of marine aggregate extraction and the planning of effective environmental monitoring; these criteria are related to considerations on resource location, the nature/thickness of the targeted deposits, morphodynamics and sediment dynamics, biology and ecology and extraction practices. The Kwinte Bank investigation has demonstrated also the need for intensive monitoring schemes in order to identify the morphological, sedimentary and ecological impacts, related to the dredging activities. A critical part of these schemes should be the evaluation of the dredging-related effects, against the background of the natural dynamics of the seabed; thus, baseline information is crucial, as, in its absence, impact assessments are likely to remain inconclusive.

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