Utrecht, the Netherlands

Sheet piles are unattractive for aquatic animals. They provide no shelter possibility, food or reproduction facility. Although the creation of habitats is highly important for species to survive, municipalities and contractors often fail to find te right solution. With minimal efforts and a low extra investment these steel structures can contribute to a better ecosystem.

ReefSystems has developed a product to stimulate biodiversity with sheet pile installations. In collaboration with Deltaplan BiodiversiteitsherstelHoogheemraadschap de Stichtse Rijnlanden and Gemeente Utrecht the improved SPECTER (Sheet Pile Eco-Territorial Reinforcement) version has been successfully installed at the Zeehaenkade in Utrecht. Various swamp plants have been tested with a 100% survival rate! These plants do not only filter the water and improve the water quality, but also create a greener city for improved living conditions. This installation creates habitats for:

  • Under water: fish, macrofauna, algae
  • Above water: birds, pollinators, insects

Under water the twigs attract algae, water snails and other aquatic invertebrates that are a food source for fish. These twigs also provide a high amount of shelter possibilities for juvenile fish during the migration to their breeding ground. This sustainable method of using twigs to stimulate biodiversity is often used by Rijkswaterstaat (see projects here).