four estuaries

TIDE focused on the estuaries of the Elbe (D), Weser (D), Scheldt (BE/NL) and Humber (UK). All show similar characteristics:

• They are used as shipping channels leading to large ports
• They are characterised by a strong tidal influence
• They transport large quantities of sediment
• Most estuarine areas are designated Natura 2000 sites

similar challenges

Sediment transport is steadily increasing
In order to keep the ports operating, increased maintenance dredging and therefore an improved sediment management strategy is necessary.

Estuarine ecosystem functions are endangered
Important ecosystem services - like flood regulation, coastal protection, water purification and biodiversity - are threatened.

Decision makers are faced with an increasingly challenging legal and global economic framework:
• EU Directives such as the Birds and Habitats or the Water Frameworks Directives need to be properly implemented.
• In order to ensure the economic prosperity of the region, the large ports need to be managed in a sustainable way.

Climate change is likely to exacerbate these problems in the future, unless appropriate compensation and mitigation measures are found.

objective and approach

The goal of the TIDE project was to help make integrated management and planning a reality in the Elbe, Weser, Scheldt and Humber estuaries. For this, TIDE took into account the ecological, economical and societal needs of the regions involved and interlinked the multiple processes and large scale efforts taking place in the estuaries. TIDE integrated the knowledge and solutions generated by previous projects such as HARBASINS, SedNet and New!Delta (e.g. optimised sediment management strategies, historical development of the estuaries). TIDE also drew from the numerous management plans that have been or are being prepared as responses to urgent issues like flood prevention or nature protection in compliance with EU directives.

project activities

Science: TIDE improved knowledge about estuary functioning. For the first time, the ecosystem service approach allowed for inter-estuarine comparisons. This knowledge reduces the risk of one-issue actions resulting from isolated concerns.

Governance: TIDE improved the effectiveness of policy mechanisms and instruments in each region. Operating via regional working groups bringing together various stakeholders, it realised integrated management and governance in each region.

Measures: TIDE compared, assessed and planned mitigation and compensation measures (i.e. sediment traps, new dredging methods, restoration of river shores). It also jointly developed new, solution-oriented mitigation methods.

Information: TIDE raised awareness of the issues at stake among the different target groups, ranging from EU policy makers to estuary residents. On this basis, it increased understanding and acceptance of necessary changes.

Transnational: TIDE brought together the best available knowledge and practices from within the TIDE regions and beyond. This was ensured through jointly agreed work plans and methodologies resulting from continuous exchange of experience and knowledge among TIDE partners.

Documentation: TIDE experience was synthesized in a joint TIDE toolbox including tools and recommendations.

Experience transfer: The TIDE toolbox was presented to other planners, managers and decision-makers of other estuaries and related ecosystems in “TIDE on Tour” seminars.

project partners

Hamburg Port Authority
Lower Saxony Water Management, Coastal Defence and Nature Conservation Agency
Free Hanseatic City of Bremen
University of Bremen
Flemish Authorities, Department of Mobility and Public Works
Maritime Access Division
Antwerp Port Authority
University of Antwerp
Institute of Estuarine & Coastal Studies, Hull