Seagrass beds form a biotope that is of major importance for marine ecology. Climate change, disease, coastal redevelopment and pollution are causing a global decline in seagrass. This is a worrying development because these small green plants have major environmental benefits. They store carbon dioxide, prevent sediment from being washed away and help protect the coast. Seagrass plays a major role in a coastal reinforcement project in Romania.
Van Oord is to construct new breakwaters and create new beaches that will protect the popular Black Sea resort of Eforie from erosion. Part of the project involves creating three hectares of seagrass. Van Oord is currently studying the most effective way to rehabilitate the seagrass at this location given the local circumstances.
Together with the University of Groningen and The Fieldwork Company, Van Oord is working on a series of lab and field tests at Lake Grevelingen in the Netherlands. In the lab, the influence of sediment on the germination of seagrass seeds is studied. In the lake, seeded sediment have been planted to monitor the germination process. The outcomes of the lab and field tests will help determine the best method to rehabilitate seagrass in Eforie.
These tests are teaching us valuable lessons that we can apply worldwide. One of Van Oord’s sustainability themes is Empowering Nature and Communities. Van Oord aims to take the lead worldwide in ensuring that projects contribute to local prosperity and nature restoration. — Nathalie Strookman, Environmental Engineer at Van Oord, Nathalie Strookman
Van Oord started the construction works in Romania in June. The old pier and barriers are being replaced by new breakwaters. Next year, a trailing suction hopper dredger will be deployed to restore the beaches. Once all construction work has been concluded, the rehabilitation of seagrass will start. The coastal reinforcement project is expected to conclude in 2023.