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Enhancing the Ecological Value of Sea Dikes

Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, RWTH Aachen University, Mies-van-der-Rohe-Straße 17, 52056 Aachen, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(8), 1617;
Received: 9 July 2019 / Revised: 26 July 2019 / Accepted: 31 July 2019 / Published: 5 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-Based Solutions for Coastal Engineering and Management)
PDF [1922 KB, uploaded 14 August 2019]


Sea dikes protect low-lying hinterlands along many coasts all around the world. Commonly, they are designed as embankments with grass covers or grey revetments accounting for the prevailing hydraulic loads. So far, incorporation of ecological aspects in the dike design is limited. With regard to increasing environmental awareness and climate change adaptation needs, the present study reviews methods for ecological enhancement of sea dikes and discusses limitations and challenges related to these methods. In doing so, one key aspect is to maintain dike safety while increasing the ecological value. Potential for ecological enhancement of sea dikes has been found regarding natural or nature-based solutions in the foreshore, dike surface protection measures (vegetated dike covers, hard revetments and dike roads) and the dike geometry. While natural and nature-based solutions in the foreland are investigated thoroughly, so far only few experiences with ecological enhancements of the dike structure itself were gained resulting in uncertainties and knowledge gaps concerning the implementation and efficiency. Additional to technical uncertainties, engineers and ecologists meet the challenge of interdisciplinary collaboration under consideration of societal needs and expectations. View Full-Text
Keywords: green sea dikes; ecological enhancement; ecological engineering; nature-based solutions; ecosystem services green sea dikes; ecological enhancement; ecological engineering; nature-based solutions; ecosystem services

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Scheres, B.; Schüttrumpf, H. Enhancing the Ecological Value of Sea Dikes. Water 2019, 11, 1617.

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