Strategies for environment-friendly beach nourishment
Shore nourishments are carried out worldwide for several decades. Nowadays, shore and beach replenishments are carried out on a regular basis to mitigate coastal erosion. The recent paradigm shifted to an Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and to an Ecosystem Approach to Management (EAM). Hence, new concepts, models and tools for the implementation of more sustainable and environment friendly shore nourishments are demanded. Combining the expertise of coastal engineers, geologists, biologists und toxicologists, the joint research project STENCIL aims at making a first step towards the long-term goal of establishing an ICZM and EAM for shore nourishments. In the frame of STENCIL scientists at AWI Sylt focus on monitoring the environmental conditions of benthic habitats at the extraction site (9 km west off Sylt) and the nourishment sites near and on the Island of Sylt using sophisticated remote sensing and validation methods. The measurements provide detailed information on the sediment distribution and the seafloor morphology. These data are implemented in the development of numerical models for coastal hydrodynamics and sediment transport. The essential aim is to assess the level of sustainability and durability of beach nourishments as well as the impact of dredging and dumping of sediment on benthic habitats involving both, the sources of the material and the places of replenishment in equal measure. A further goal is to contribute to developments of a set of standardized observation and analysis tools to aid future management activities. Hence, this study is designed as a pilot-project for the strategy concept ‘Wattenmeerstrategie 2100’ (MELUR-SH, 2015) that includes to develop adaptive measures for the Wadden Sea under climate and subsequent environmental change.