Lauwersmeerdijk, the Netherlands

The Lauwersmeerdijk is located in Groningen. It does no longer meet the requirements for flooding protection and must therefore be reinforced. The dike is located along the Wadden Sea, which is a valuable area for Dutch nature. Therefor this construction project offers a unique opportunity to restore local ecosystems and contribute to the growth of aquatic populations. Commissioned by Waterschap Noorderzijlvest and in collaboration with Arcadis (design & consultancy), Heijmans (construction) and Heuvelman Ibis (hydraulic engineering),  ReefSystems contributed to the development of the ecosystem enhancement plans for the Wadden Sea. For this unique pilot project ReefSystems has delivered 7 artificial ''MOSES'' reefs and 6 ''Reefpools''. The MOSES reefs are build up on a 2m by 2m baseplate and create a colonizable surface of 35 m² each with   interesting microhabitats for various organisms.


From 2021 until 2023 researchers from Van Hall Larenstein University will be monitoring these artificial habitats to find out its effects on local marine populations. After two years the best artificial reefs will be selected, whereafter the final design for the whole 9km dike is made. The goal is to develop a vital nature-inclusive coastal zone along the Wadden coast, where humanity and nature both thrive. This project shows how construction- and renovation projects can be executed in the future.

Background information

Since 2018 this project is being developed by multiple parties*. After exploring the possibilities to reinforce the dike, methods for nature inclusive design were explored. This led to the ambition to create a natural transition between the sea, the intertidal zone and the dike.

*Groninger Landschap, Natuurmonumenten, Staatsbosbeheer en Natuur, Milieufederatie Groningen, Rijkswaterstaat Noord-Nederland, gemeente Het Hogeland, provincie Groningen, ingenieursbureau Arcadis en aannemerscombinatie Waddenkwartier, Heuvelman Ibis, het Waddenfonds en de Programmatische Aanpak Grote Wateren.

The Intertidal zone

The intertidal zone, also known as 'shore', is the area above water level at low tide and underwater at high tide. This area can include several types of habitats with various species. The intertidal zone along the Lauwersmeerdijk functions as an important area with habitats for many aquatic animals from the Wadden Sea. Due to coastal development this area is vulnerable and therefore support for nature in necessary. 


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