In March 2016, Boskalis started work on the first stage of one of the largest nature restoration projects in western Europe - Marker Wadden. The project will transform the ecologically impoverished Markermeer lake into a dynamic area rich in animal and plant life, through the creation of nature islands using sand, clay and fine sediment. Building with Nature techniques play a key role in the project.
The challenge is to rebalance the ecology of the Markermeer and to develop a sustainable future for the lake by developing a high-quality nature area.
The lake was created in 1976 when the Houtrib dike between Enkhuizen and Lelystad was completed. The dike had a major impact on the underwater environment of the lake. Fine sediment that was previously carried away by the current to Lake IJsselmeer fell to the bottom of Lake Markermeer where it settled like a blanket, making the water of the lake turbid. As a result fish and bird populations declined dramatically over the last decades.
One innovation being introduced into the project is building with fine sediment, under the innovative Building with Nature research program initiated by Boskalis (see link below). Fine sediment is too soft to build an island. This will be resolved by building ring dikes of sand to contain the sediment.