The project Perkpolder depoldering is a managed realignment scheme that will create a new estuarine nature area of 75 ha in the Westerschelde. Managed realignment is a new way of thinking about improving safety against flooding and creating new environments for nature and human activities. This method of flood defence creates space - intertidal environments such as saltmarsh and mudflats in which the sea can safely move. This can contribute to the EU Habitats Directive and Natura2000 goals. It can also help in the long term strategy of adapting to sea level rise through natural, intertidal mechanisms.
A new dyke will be built landward of the present dyke with the old dyke maintained but breached. Little is known about how such former agricultural land will develop and particularly which estuarine habitats and plant and animal communities will establish. This will be dependent on the former land use, elevation, salinity, sedimentation/erosion processes, seed and larval dispersal, biotic interactions, etc. In this project we will monitor these developments and study experimentally the biotic and abiotic interactions. Based on this, we will gain knowledge on how to optimally design such managed realignment areas in the future. The project is an example of a Building with Nature approach that make use of the properties of nature to develop/conserve nature areas that at the same time form robust and climate proof coastal defence systems.