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The deepening project in the Scheldt estuary: research as input for EIA and Appropriate Assessment
van Holland, G.; Bruens, A.; Heinis, F.; Sas, M.; Van der Weck, A.; Verbeek, H.; Meersschaut, Y. (2008). The deepening project in the Scheldt estuary: research as input for EIA and Appropriate Assessment. [S.n.]: [s.l.].

Author keywords
    morphology; deepening; dredging; disposal; environmental impact assessment

Authors  Top 
  • Van der Weck, A., more
  • Verbeek, H., more
  • Meersschaut, Y., more

Abstract
    The Scheldt estuary is an international seaway that is partly located in the Flemish Regionof Belgium and partly in the Netherlands. Large ocean-going vessels travel up and down the estuaryto and from Antwerp, a mainport situated at about 80 km of the river mouth.After two previous deepening programs (in 1970 and in 1997) an agreement for a new deepeningprogram was signed in 2005 between Flanders and the Netherlands. The Scheldt will then offer tideindependentnavigation for draughts up to 13.10 meter. The decision by the Flemish and Dutchgovernments forms part of an all-embracing mutual approach for the Scheldt estuary, as outlined bythe 2010 Development Sketch based on three principles: accessibility, flood protection and natureconservation. The enlargement program includes deepening and widening of the navigation channeland the disposal of the dredged material resulting from both the capital and (extra) maintenancedredging works. Extensive research has been carried out to examine what will be the effect of theplanned activities on the natural environment of the river, which is a special area of conservation(SAC). The morphological evolution of the estuary has been modelled to evaluate different dredgingstrategies. Turbidity during the dredging works and in the turbidity maximum zone of the estuary hasbeen modelled as was the salinity as input to the EIA and for the appropriate assessment of theNatura 2000 areas. The challenge of the project is to balance the navigation needs withmorphological and ecological sustainability of the estuary. In order to minimize (or compensate for) anegative impact of the dredging and disposal, an adapted (flexible) strategy for the disposal ofsediment has been put forward. The paper describes the set-up of the different research fields(morphology, turbidity and salinity, nature/ecology), and the results.

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