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Engineering firm pushing a terraced diking system for tidal areas

Space for recreation and briny agriculture

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

AMSTERDAM - Dutch engineering firm Arcadis has conceived an original solution to give the area around the Duchess Hedwige Polder, on the Dutch-Belgian border near Antwerp, new prospects.

The Hertogin Hedwige Polder, which also is on the banks of the Western Scheldt, the estuary of the Scheldt river, is slated to be flooded as part of a compensation scheme for the perceived negative impact on the Scheldt’s ecological system that is expected to result from dredging work required under a treaty to enhance shipping access to the Belgian port of Antwerp.

Arcadis proposes a terraced, multifunctional dike, which protects the hinterland from flooding, while also including space for agriculture and recreation. The concept envisions the lower terraces to be used during low tides for recreation, nature education, and nature development. The second terrace level is seen as ideal terrain for bicycle paths and walking trails, which would only be subjected to flooding during high tide. The upper terrace level would provide space for so-called ‘briny agriculture,’ referring to crops such as glasswort and sea lavender.

Arcadis views its new type of diking as suitable for other tidal prone areas in the Netherlands, including the eastern Scheldt and the Wadden Sea coast. In the United States, the city of San Francisco has expressed an interest in the new Arcadis design, which is considered very suitable for the San Francisco Bay, the city’s gateway to the Pacific Ocean.