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Theme Project 7: Design and operation of nature-based SALTISolutions


Nature-based solutions utilize the inherent dynamics of the coupled ecological-physical system. We design and evaluate estuary-scale nature-based solutions that deal with salt intrusion/mixing, primarily building on the principles of nature-based solutions unravelled in project 6. The impact of alternative solutions is assessed for ecosystem service levels (biodiversity, habitat provision and nature-based flood protection) and nautical safety and port economics, both for today’s conditions and a future subject to climate change.

Project description

Coastal managers, port authorities and industries are actively working on the sustainable development of estuaries with time horizons of 100 – 150 years. The acceptability of large-scale interventions like naturebased SALTISolutions relies on co-creation of these solutions with stakeholders, and the integration of added values beyond the primary engineering objective (mitigation of salt intrusion) in the designs. In this project we co-create a number of concept nature-based SALTISolutions and demonstrate the aggregated effect of these in terms of salt intrusion (WP7.1), natural estuarine services (WP7.2) and nautical safety and port economics (WP7.3) and will serve as input for stakeholder engagement (project 8) and the virtual delta (project 9).

Building on the thorough understanding of physical processes from projects 2-5 and bio-physical process interactions developed as part of project 6, this project aims to develop nature-based SALTISolutions in the integral design environment for salt intrusion mitigation (WP7.1) with a particular focus on beneficial effects for biodiversity, habitat provision and nature-based flood defences (WP7.2) and nautical safety and port economics (WP7.3). Aggregated assessment of estuarine health (joint effort), using the concept of ecosystem services, forms a major challenge in this project.

Project deliverables

  • Design, assessment and integral evaluation of nature-based SALTISolutions to mitigate salt intrusion
  • Maximization of nature-based SALTISolutions’ benefits for estuarine services (biodiversity, habitat provision and flood safety)
  • Optimization of nature-based SALTISolutions for shipping routes, dredging requirements, nautical safety and port operations

Project leader

Prof. dr. ir. S.G.J. Aarninkhof


Prof. dr. ir. M.van Koningsveld

Prof. dr. P.M.J. Herman

Dr. B.W. Borsje

Prof.dr. D. van der Wal

PhD candidates & Postdocs

F. Bakker

Jesse Bootsma

Gijs Hendrickx

Prof. dr. ir. S.G.J. Aarninkhof

Prof. dr. ir. S.G.J. Aarninkhof

Delft University of Technology


Last modified: 17/06/2022