Ecological monitoring - the sand motor

A huge amount of sand was laid near Kijkduin in 2011 to be distributed further across the beach by the natural currents: the so-called 'sand motor'. IMARES is investigating the effects of the sand motor on marine nature.

The coastal zone of the Netherlands is preserved in various places by means of sand suppletions at weak links. Sometimes the surface of the beach sand is raised, sometimes beaches are widened. In recent years, shoreface suppletion using marine sand has been carried out more and more frequently, which is less expensive than raising the surface level of existing beaches. The sand motor at Kijkduin is a large-scale experiment in terms of both hydraulics and marine biology.

Sampling of the surf zone and the lagoon for seabed fauna on the sand motor in 2012
Sampling of the surf zone and the lagoon for seabed fauna on the sand motor in 2012

The coastal zone is also a habitat for all kinds of organisms that can withstand the dynamics of the surf, particularly the breaking of the waves and the sand transportation. This gives rise to a specific community of animals. The creation of the sand motor in 2011 reinforces those dynamics of the surf zone on the outer side, and has also led to the creation of a sheltered lagoon on the inner side.

IMARES will monitor the development of fish and seabed fauna populations over the coming years as well as birds and sea mammals in the area on and around the sand motor. The research results, published over a series of years after the creation of the sand motor, will show whether and how the community of marine organisms responds to such a large-scale hydraulic intervention.