Press release

May 4th, 2021

Startup ReefSystems established ecosystems in the waters of South Holland for more biodiversity and improved water quality

The green start-up ReefSystems offers environmentally friendly solutions to current problems in the hydraulic engineering and maritime sector. In this case, planters, allowing aquatic plants to grow on to sheet piles. These aquatic plants attract insect larvae, aquatic snails and other aquatic invertebrates, which is food for fish. In addition, the plants provide shelter and breeding ground, which can increase fish populations.

SPECTER, or SheetPile Eco-Territorial Reinforcement, is what the company calls their innovation. The system consists of two planters, one underwater and one on the water surface. Various native aquatic plants are placed in the cases. These are held with a biodegradable net, which protects the plants from leaching. "In the first year, the roots can create enough grip, so that the plants can return maintenance-free in the upcoming summers," says Jesse de Bont of ReefSystems. He started the company together with Max Dijkstra to initiate positive change for nature.

Water Framework Directive
"Sheet piles are very unattractive to animals and because the structures are often kilometers long, the impact of these installations is enormous. When a migrating fish currently swims along a sheet pile, it does not provide any sort of habitat. With the installation of SPECTER the cold steel wall becomes a green aquatic wall full of life under water", said Dijkstra. The company developed the concept for the planters in collaboration with urban ecologists and fish migration specialists. Regional water authorities also turned out to be very interested, since SPECTER offers a good solution for the Water Framework Directive (WFD). This is a directive that prescribes the requirements for water quality and fish stocks in Europe.

The Province of South Holland had been looking for solutions to strengthen nature in waterways for some time. The Province is currently having the planters installed at three different locations and expansion plans are being discussed. The Municipality of Utrecht and the Delfland Water Board also purchased the SPECTER-planters. In Utrecht they are mainly intended to create a greener street view. The aim of the water board is to allow aquatic plants to grow in places where this was previously not possible. According to fish migration expert Peter Philipsen (Nature at Work) SPECTER offers new opportunities for restoring important fish habitat along fish migration routes in places where this was previously impossible.

Note for editors
For more information or interview requests, please contact:

Jesse de Bont 
T: +31 6 17 27 02 93

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Jesse de Bont (ReefSystems), Meindert Stolk (provincie Zuid-Holland) & Max Dijkstra (ReefSystems) during the installation of SPECTER in Boskoop.

SPECTER installations Katwijk aan Zee


Installation of SPECTER Katwijk aan Zee

Placement of native aquatic plants at
de Gouwe, Waddinxveen 

Native aquatic plants

Installation at Katwijk aan Zee

Preparing the plants for installation