Rijkswaterstaat
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
Recent publications
Building with Nature (BwN), is a concept that has been applied in various projects around the world in the broader context of nature based solutions for climate resilience and adaptation. Most of these projects are regional or local in nature and are implemented on a smaller scale. Larger scale projects are more rare. The aim of this article is to highlight a number of large‐scale projects that have been completed or are in the developing stage. The focus will be on coastal regions, from temperate locations in the Netherlands and from developing countries in the tropics including Bangladesh. The value of implementing the principle of BwN for a sustainable future is underlined and described. Certain aspects of governance are highlighted to point out the differences and challenges, but also similarities, of carrying out such projects in different parts of the world.
In soft-bottom marine ecosystems, bedform variation is induced by wind-and tidal-driven hydrodynamics. The resulting megaripples, sand waves and sand-banks form a spatially and temporally heterogeneous seafloor landscape. The strong physical forces imposed by the migration of these bedforms are important determinants for the occurrence of different macrozoobenthic species. Quantifying the effect of these forces can help in differentiating natural-and anthropogenically induced physical stressors. However, large-scale mapping of seabed morphology at high resolution using multibeam echosounder is challenging, costly and time-consuming, especially in shallow seas, prohibiting wide swaths. Instead, their bathymetry is typically studied using single-beam transects that are interpolated to bathymetric grids with a relatively coarse resolution (20 m). However , this leaves out information on smaller scale (<20 m) bedforms that can be ecologically relevant. In the Dutch Wadden sea, a shallow tidal system, we characterized bedform variation at high resolution using single-beam data for the first time. We calculated a 2-D Terrain Ruggedness Index (TRI) at sub-meter resolution along the single-beam transects and interpolated the results to a full 3-D grid. We then validated the result by relating TRI to independently modeled hydrodynamic parameters and to the distribution of macrozoobenthic species. We found that TRI successfully integrates the variation of tidal-driven bed shear stress and wave-driven orbital velocity. In addition, we found TRI to be a good predictor of the occurrence of macrozoobenthic species. The inferred small-scale bedforms provide valuable information for separating the relative importance of natural dynamics versus anthropogenic disturbances such as dredging and bottom trawling activities. We discuss that by repurposing already available single-beam data in this way, bedforms can be characterized at high resolution without the need for additional equipment or mapping campaigns, yielding novel input to decision-making on marine management and conservation.
In recent years, owing to important improvements, the applicability of supervisor synthesis has significantly increased. We discuss notable developments that were pivotal in the application of supervisor synthesis to large infrastructural systems.
In regions with a temperate climate, a well-maintained grass sod on a clay layer is considered a reliable protection for dams and dikes. In the Living Lab Hedwige-Prosperpolder, on the left bank of the Scheldt river straddling the border between Belgium and the Netherlands, a series of 27 overflow tests with a purpose-built overflow generator has been executed to determine the strength of the protective layer against erosion at various conditions. The goal of this paper is to inform on the executed test program and the initial results. From the results, it was concluded that in general, a high-quality grass cover on the landside dike slope can withstand high overflow discharges well for 12 to 30 h, without severe erosion damage. Anomalies, such as the presence of animal burrows, reed vegetation, and already present deformations can strongly reduce the resistance of the cover layer and may lead to failure within a couple of hours.
Plastic pollution in aquatic ecosystems is a growing threat to ecosystem health and human livelihood. Recent studies show that the majority of environmental plastics accumulate within river systems for years, decades and potentially even longer. Long‐term and system‐scale observations are key to improve the understanding of transport and retention dynamics, to identify sources and sinks, and to assess potential risks. The goal of this study was to quantify and explain the variation in floating plastic transport in the Rhine‐Meuse delta, using a novel 1‐year observational data set. We found a strong positive correlations between floating plastic transport and discharge. During peak discharge events, plastic transport was found up to six times higher than under normal conditions. Plastic transport varied up to a factor four along the Rhine and Meuse rivers, which is hypothesized to be related to the complex river network, locations of urban areas, and tidal dynamics. Altogether, our findings demonstrate the important role of hydrology as driving force of plastic transport dynamics. Our study emphasizes the need for exploring other factors that may explain the spatiotemporal variation in floating plastic transport. The world's most polluted rivers are connected to the ocean through complex deltas. Providing reliable observations and data‐driven insights in the transport and dynamics are key to optimize plastic pollution prevention and reduction strategies. With our paper we aim to contribute to both advancing the fundamental understanding of plastic transport dynamics, and the establishment of long‐term and harmonized data collection at the river basin scale.
Plastic pollution in the world's rivers and ocean is increasingly threatening ecosystem health and human livelihood. In contrast to what is commonly assumed, most mismanaged plastic waste that enters the environment is not exported into the ocean. Rivers are therefore not only conduits, but also reservoirs of plastic pollution. Plastic mobilization, transport and retention dynamics are influenced by hydrological processes, and river catchment features (e.g. land-use, vegetation, and river morphology). Increased river discharge has been associated with elevated plastic transport rates, although the exact relation between the two can vary over time and space. The precise role of an extreme discharge event on plastic transport is however still unknown. Here, we show that fluvial floods drive plastic transport and accumulation in river systems. We collected unique observational evidence during the July 2021 flood along the complete Dutch part of the Meuse. Plastic transport multiplied with a factor of 141 upstream of the Dutch Meuse, compared to non-flood conditions, making the Meuse one of the most polluted rivers measured to date. Over one-third of the annual plastic transport was estimated to occur within the six-day period of extreme discharge. Towards the river mouth, plastic transport during the flood period decreased by 90\%, suggesting that the dispersal of plastic mobilized during the flood is limited due to the entrapment on riverbanks, in vegetation, and on the floodplains. Plastic accumulation on the riverbanks decreased significantly along the river, corroborating the river's function as plastic reservoir. Using new observational evidence, we demonstrate the crucial role of floods as driver of plastic transport and accumulation in river systems. Floods amplify the mobilization of plastics, but the effects are local, and the river-scale dispersion is limited. We anticipate that our findings serve as a starting point for improving global estimates of river plastic transport, retention, and export into the sea. Moreover, our results provide essential insights for future large-scale and long-term quantitative assessments of river plastic pollution. Reliable observations and a fundamental understanding of plastic transport are key to designing effective prevention and reduction strategies.
The paper introduces nature‐based solutions (NBS) and their application in coastal adaptation management. NBS seek to make use of local natural elements and processes in coastal ecosystems, as much as possible, to harness forces of nature for the benefit of society. We focus on soft sedimentary coasts, like beaches and dunes, salt marshes, seagrass beds and mangroves. By shifting coastal management from conventional ‘Building in Nature' to ‘Building with Nature', NBS can be seen as a valuable alternative to the traditional approach, which is based on hydraulic, civil engineered designs. NBS can be applied in diverse situations and at various scales, from small‐scale (ecosystem elements, a small pond) to large‐scale (entire coastal stretches). The practice of NBS is also valuable for climate change adaptation, when forces of nature will increase. NBS requires a governance setting that makes use of an integrated approach with disciplines of ecology, economy and society working together. But integration is not yet common practise in many countries. We conclude that NBS are a promising alternative to the traditional approach. Because the practise still is relatively young, more field and laboratory projects should be executed, in particular under extreme weather conditions. The future challenge is to build up more stakeholder acceptance and (local) trust in the concept.
Studies on the impact of changes in travel costs on car and public transport use are typically based on cross-sectional travel survey data or time series analysis and do not capture intrapersonal variation in travel patterns, which can result in biased cost elasticities. This paper examines the influence of panel effects and inertia in travel behaviour on travel cost sensitiveness, based on four waves of the Mobility Panel for the Netherlands (comprising around 90,000 trips). This paper analyses the monetary costs of travel. Panel effects reflect (within wave) intrapersonal variations in mode choice, based on three-day trip diary data available for each wave. The impact of intrapersonal variation on cost sensitiveness is shown by comparing mode choice models with panel effects (mixed logit mode choice models with error components) and without panel effects (multinomial logit models). Inertia represents variability in mode choice between waves, measured as the effect of mode choice decisions made in a previous wave on the decisions made in the current wave. Additionally, all mode choice models include socio-economic and spatial variables but also mode preferences and life events. The effect of inertia on travel cost elasticities is measured by estimating mixed logit mode choice models with and without inertia effects. The main conclusion is that the inclusion of intrapersonal effects tends to increase cost sensitiveness whereas the inclusion of inertia effects decreases travel cost sensitiveness for car and public transport modes. Car users are identified as inert travellers, whereas public transport users show a lower tendency to maintain their usual mode choice. This paper reveals the inertia effects over four waves of repeated respondent’s data repeated yearly.
Natural and nature-based features (NNBF) have been used for more than 100 years as coastal protection infrastructure (e.g., beach nourishment projects). The application of NNBF has grown steadily in recent years with the goal of realizing both coastal engineering and environment and social co-benefits through projects that have the potential to adapt to the changing climate. Technical advancements in support of NNBF are increasingly the subject of peer-reviewed literature, and guidance has been published by numerous organizations to inform technical practice for specific types of nature-based solutions. The International Guidelines on Natural and Nature-Based Features for Flood Risk Management was recently published to provide a comprehensive guide that draws directly on the growing body of knowledge and practitioner experience from around the world to inform the process of conceptualizing, planning, designing, engineering, and operating NNBF. These Guidelines focus on the role of nature-based solutions and natural infrastructure (beaches, dunes, wetlands and plant systems, islands, reefs) as a part of coastal and riverine flood risk management. In addition to describing each of the NNBF types, their use, design, implementation, and maintenance, the guidelines describe general principles for employing NNBF, stakeholder engagement, monitoring, costs and benefits, and adaptive management. An overall systems approach is taken to planning and implementation of NNBF. The guidelines were developed to support decision-makers, project managers, and practitioners in conceptualizing, planning, designing, engineering, implementing, and maintaining sustainable systems for nature-based flood risk management. This paper summarizes key concepts and highlights challenges and areas of future research.
For successful and sustainable management of barrier islands, a thorough understanding of the ebb-tidal delta dynamics and interactions with the adjacent shorelines are of the utmost importance. Such understanding requires detailed observations and interpretations of the morphodynamics of smaller-scale features such as the individual channels and shoals (referred to as intra-delta dynamics). The intra-delta dynamics of Ameland Inlet (the Netherlands) are studied through analysis of sixteen high-resolution bathymetric surveys, supplemented with an extensive dataset of hydrodynamic observations collected in 2017. The observations are compiled into a synthesis of the morphodynamics of the ebb-tidal delta and its neighboring shorelines, to provide a basis for present day and future coastal management. Our observations show that Ameland Inlet as a whole can be classified as a typical mixed-energy, wave-dominated system. However, the ebb-tidal delta contains distinct areas that are wave or tide dominated, and these areas evolve with the changing morphodynamics of the ebb delta. Between 2005 and 2021, large morphodynamic changes have occurred on the ebb-tidal delta and continuous erosion of the island tips occurred. Limited wave-sheltering by the ebb-tidal delta exposes the shorelines of the adjacent barrier islands to significant wave-driven sand transports and sand losses. Sediment supply from longshore transport and the erosion of the updrift island Terschelling contributed to the formation, growth and migration of a series of ebb-chutes and lobes, which eventually led to complete relocation of the main channel on the ebb-tidal delta. This main channel relocation took 15 years to complete and is an example of the ebb-delta breaching model of sand bypassing. Changes in the sediment bypassing patterns result in a sediment starved western island tip of Ameland, necessitating repeated sand nourishments under the Dutch coastal maintenance policy. Our observations also confirm the role the ebb-tidal delta as a sand reservoir for the downdrift barrier island. The delta sand body is not a reservoir for the back-barrier basin, since the basin is predominantly supplied with sand eroded from the updrift island of Terschelling. As demonstrated in this study, the intra-delta dynamics of an ebb-tidal delta are complex and can change drastically through time. Only through detailed measurements and observations can all the intricate interactions that take place be unravelled.
For the safety assessment and design of levees in the Netherlands probabilistic tools are used, which account for both statistical and model uncertainties in the determination of hydraulic loads. However, climate change induced uncertainties in extreme wind climate or storminess are not yet accounted for. This paper presents a first assessment of the effect of uncertainties in storminess on Dutch levee design. An expert panel was consulted to define a range of plausible trends and uncertainties in extreme wind climate. Three scenarios were defined with variations of the current wind climate, including changes in wind speed high percentiles and in wind direction. For the defined scenarios probabilistic computations were carried out to determine the effect of the wind statistics variations on the water level, wave loads, and required levee height along the Dutch lakes and coast. In the case of an increase in wind percentiles (mean + 5%, standard deviation 12%), the required levee height increases significantly: up to 1.5–4 m along the Dutch coast and up to 1–2 m along the Dutch lakes. Given the large impact of the considered changes, it is first recommended to carry out a more robust assessment of the uncertainties in future storm climate and to measure and monitor evolution of future wind speeds.
Dit artikel geeft een beschouwing over de ontwikkeling van innovaties in de controlemethodologie. Allereerst wordt een literatuuronderzoek uitgevoerd, waarin lessen uit het verleden en het heden aan de orde komen. Vervolgens wordt het Systems engineering management raamwerk beschreven en toegepast op de innovatieprocessen van accountants. Conclusies uit beide analyses zijn dat er meer aandacht moet zijn voor de behoeften van assurance -gebruikers, de theorievormingsfase van de controlemethodologie en de implementatie van het kwaliteitsbeheersingssysteem. Het Systems engineering management raamwerk biedt goede handvatten om de kwaliteit van het innovatieproces en de controlemethodologie te borgen.
The sediment exchange between the Dutch Wadden Sea and the North Sea coastal zone is of key importance to Dutch coastal management. Net sediment import from the coastal zone to the Wadden Sea results in coastal erosion which needs to be compensated through nourishments. At the same time net sediment import is the source of sediment for the intertidal flats in the Wadden Sea to adapt to sea level rise (SLR). Understanding the current and future sediment exchange is therefore essential for sustainable coastal management. Insights in the sediment exchange directly influence the coastal nourishment strategies applied to the Dutch coasts. Projections of the future sediment exchange between the Dutch Wadden Sea and the North Sea are established using the aggregated morphodynamic model ASMITA for five sea level rise scenarios, viz. the present rate of 2 mm/yr and accelerated rates of 4, 6, 8 and 17 mm/yr in 2100. The differences in the projected import rates between the five sea level rise scenarios until 2100 are not as large as the differences in sea level rise rates may suggest. For the Eastern part of the Dutch Wadden Sea, where the morphology is near its dynamic equilibrium, the projected import rate in 2100 varies with a factor 3 (300%), for sea level rise rates from 2 to 17 mm/yr (factor 8.5, 850%). In the western part of the Dutch Wadden Sea, where the morphology is still far from equilibrium due to the closure of the Zuiderzee, the projected import rate in 2100 varies a factor 1.45 (145%) for these sea level rise rates. For the total Dutch Wadden Sea this is a factor 1.7 (170%). The projected increase of the import rate until 2100 with respect to the present situation (2020) is up to a factor 1.45 (145%) for the highest sea level rise scenario, which is significant but not substantial.
The development of the Coastal Genesis 2 research programme and its role in contributing to Dutch coastal policy are described in the paper. The organisation of policy development related to coastal flood risk and erosion in The Netherlands is addressed, highlighting the division of responsibilities between the policy and operational directorates of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. A conceptual model of the long term sediment budget of the Dutch coast that underpins the current Coastal Flood and Erosion Risk Management policy is detailed. The role of the operational directorate Rijkswaterstaat in coordinating a ‘Research for Policy’ cycle as a means of generating new insights on the coastal system and ensuring their subsequent inclusion in a new/revised conceptual model, is highlighted. By detailing the new conceptual model of the long term sediment budget, the paper demonstrates how key uncertainties related to this model guided the determination of the research agenda for Coastal Genesis 2. The paper concludes by reflecting briefly on the outcomes of the research programme and the role of the ‘Research for Policy’ cycle in ensuring the sustainable future of the Dutch coast.
The Wadden Sea is a unique intertidal wetland area, forming an important hub for migratory water birds. A feared effect of accelerated sea-level rise (SLR) is the gradual loss or even disappearance of the ecologically valuable intertidal flats. To date, the effect of SLR on the time-evolution of the intertidal areas in the Dutch Wadden Sea has not been studied. To explore the sensitivity of the intertidal flats to SLR and the spatial differentiation of the response, simulations are carried out with the reduced-complexity model ASMITA for four sea level rise scenarios: one with a stable rate of 2 mm/yr (current rate), and three with accelerated sea level rise rates to respectively 4, 6 and 8 mm/yr. In addition, a scenario with a linearly increasing rate to 17 mm/yr in 2100 has been added to get an impression of what may happen under more extreme SLR-rates. The results show that the intertidal flats in the larger basins are most vulnerable to drowning. Due to differences in tidal flat geometry, the intertidal flats in the smaller basins mainly reduce in average height, while the intertidal flats in the larger basins mainly reduce in surface area. Within the basins, largest losses are expected to occur just off the land reclamation works and along the western part of each tidal watershed. The intertidal flats are sensitive to the rate of SLR. With doubling the rate of SLR, losses nearly double as well. Complete drowning is not predicted for any of the considered scenarios, but for the larger basins volume losses of nearly 50% by 2100 are predicted for the highest considered scenario. This will transform these basins into more lagoon-like basins, which is expected to have major consequences for the ecology.
As many bridges are reaching the end of their service life, researchers are searching for new solutions to extend the lifespan of those bridges. Fibre reinforce polymers (FRP) could be possible a solution for bridges with deck problems. Lightweight FRP decks can be installed quickly via bolted connectors on steel substructure. In general, shear force in the connector is not taken into account during the design of FRP decks because slip behaviour and interaction with steel substructure is unknown. This research connects to research at TU Delft on non-slip shear connectors for FRP decks. Aim of this paper is to quantify shear forces in bolted connectors due to traffic and temperature loads. The direction of webs, fibres in panel facings and the expansion coefficient of resin has been investigated to determine the influence of the FRP deck on the shear force in the connectors. To investigate the results of traffic loading and temperature loading on real bridges, a database of bridges in the Netherlands has been used. Results from the analyses offer an indication of the influence of the laminates on the shear force in the connectors and show shear force ranges that can occur in existing bridges.
Estuarine landscapes form through interactions between fluvio-coastal processes and ecological processes within the boundaries imposed by hard substrate layers and man-made dikes and dams. As estuaries are ecologically valuable areas, monitoring and quantification of trends in habitats is needed for objective comparison and management. However, datasets of tidal flat and saltmarsh habitats along entire estuaries are scarce. The objective was to compare trends of biogeomorphological areas and habitat transitions along three estuaries in the Netherlands and assess whether these are generally comparable or mainly determined by system-specific histories. We present data for these estuaries obtained by automated classification of false-color aerial imagery. The automated method allows objective mapping of entire estuaries at unprecedented resolution. The estuaries are dominated by subtidal areas and tidal flats. The tidal flats have similar area along the estuaries while saltmarsh area decreases. Collective lengths of ecologically important transitions between saltmarsh, low-energy tidal flats and water differ more between the estuaries. These variations are due to presence of mid-channel bars and shore-connected embayments. Saltmarsh area is mainly determined by the different formation and embankment histories of the estuaries, embayments and side-branches. Much of the past saltmarsh flanking the estuaries was lost due to past land reclamation. In one system, ecologically important low-energy tidal flats are reduced by a sudden decrease of tidal amplitude, causing increase of subtidal area at the cost of intertidal area. Large areas of high-energy tidal flats in one estuary remain unexplained. The automated method can be applied in other estuaries, provided that high-quality areal imagery is available. Extensions of the data to other estuaries would allow for system-scale trend comparison between estuaries of ecologically relevant biogeomorphological characteristics.
Representatives from 14 countries worldwide worked together on improving their monitoring and ultimately their water management to reach the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 goals by 2030, thereby testing the Information Strategy Model (ISM). This model is developed to support identifying the need for information for water management. In a workshop setting, participants were instructed and subsequently developed the ISM for their own situation. The results show that the ISM fulfils its task of structuring the development and improvement of a monitoring network, but can be enhanced by adding detailed information for specific elements and needs explanation and assistance to be of use.
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107 members
Anouk Goedknegt
  • Noord Nederland
Machteld Rijkeboer
  • Centre for Watermanagement
Gerrit Burgers
  • Water, Verkeer en Leefomgeving
Eddy Lammens
  • Waterquality
Martin Soesbergen
  • Rijkswaterstaat GPO / Hydrobiological Laboratory
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