The construction of a storm surge barrier and other dams has resulted in a disbalance between sedimentation and erosion in the Oosterschelde, a Natura 2000 area. This has caused a decline in the total area of mud flats and sandbanks where wading birds can forage.
The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management is planning a sand nourishment project for the Roggenplaat, so that wading birds can retain their primary foraging area for the next 25-30 years. Wageningen Marine Research is conducting research into and evaluating the impact of this beach nourishment on the functioning of the ecosystem. Researchers will map out the sediment composition, the quantity/composition of soil life and will conduct seal and bird counts before and after the sand nourishment has been accomplished. It will also conduct a physical-morphological study in collaboration with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Deltares, NIOZ, and the HZ University of Applied Sciences. Finally, our institute will closely monitor whether there are any negative effects on the nearby mussel culture plots.
Scientific knowledge of how an area like this changes after human intervention can soon be applied to other delta regions both nationally and internationally.