Coastal News

Rotterdam Reef Successfully Installed for Nature and Shoreline Protection

Rijkswaterstaat, the Municipality of Rotterdam, Boskalis, and Reefy are testing the Reefy artificial reef system to support nature restoration and conservation efforts in the tidal area of the river Meuse as part of the ‘Groene Poort’ or ‘Green Gate’ project. After careful preparation and in close collaboration with all the partners, 17 Reefy modules were assembled underwater by Boskalis in under three days.

The artificial reef is approximately 25 meters long and 3 meters high, which makes it possible to see its top layer during low tide.

Next to the four consortium partners, this pilot project was made possible thanks to the invaluable technical advice and support of PortXL, Rotterdam Zoo Blijdorp, Burgers Zoo, TU Delft, and Deltares.

“We need to rethink marine infrastructure and include the right conditions for letting nature thrive. It is important that water and sediments can go through breakwaters; then, those appropriate conditions will allow ecological foreshores to develop that can grow with sea level rise. The ReefBlocks provide this and the necessary complexity to boost life underwater. These eco-engineering solutions will be cheaper to maintain compared to traditional structures in the face of climate change,” said Jaime Ascencio, CEO and Co-Founder of Reefy.

8. Golven en water door blokken(Photo credit: Reefy)

“To improve the water management and quality, we are constructing various types of breakwaters along the riverbanks of the Nieuwe Waterweg. This creates a sheltered area that is favorable for (migratory) fish, birds, and aquatic plants. We use sustainable (recycled) and innovative materials for the breakwaters. We are happy to give space to a pilot such as this one that has both hydraulic and ecological value and is produced sustainably,” said Sander de Borst, Technical Advisor, Rijkswaterstaat (Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management).

“The reef helps us to improve biodiversity, protect against flooding and make waterfronts more attractive with tidal nature. Close cooperation with a startup, a corporate, and a water authority gives added value for all of us. Together we will improve the nature of the river delta in Rotterdam,” said Joep van Leeuwen, Senior Consultant Urban Development City of Rotterdam.

10. Founders Left to right Jaime Ascencio Leon Haines(Photo credit: Reefy)

“The ecological development on the reef will be continuously monitored by us to see effects on the total improvement in ecosystem services, compared with the conventional solutions. Before the installation, the benchmark biodiversity measurements were taken by Reefy, and we expect the first ecological results of this transformational coastal defense project in a few months,” said Leon Haines, CTO and Co-Founder of Reefy.

“It’s always a special feeling when something that you have worked on with colleagues for so long can be put into practice and tested in the real world. This step is not the end goal, but only the beginning of the large-scale application of these modular artificial reefs,” said Paul Peters, Program Lead Artificial Reefs Program of Boskalis.

12. Drone shot 4(Photo credit: Reefy)

“The Reefy Living Breakwater has been tested in our experimental facilities, showing stability and wave attenuation under hurricane conditions. We see the potential in the field and are looking forward to further collaboration.” – said Marcel van Gent, Manager Coastal Structures and Waves, Deltares/TU Delft.


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