First results of Marker Wadden knowledge and innovation programme

Published: 7 March 2018

The Marker Wadden, an archipelago of nature islands in the Markermeer lake, is one of the largest nature projects in Western Europe. We are using sand, silt and clay to create new islands and, in the process, open up opportunities for knowledge development and innovation.

The Marker Wadden Knowledge and Innovation Programme (KIMA) is organising its first congress on 7 March. The partners – Rijkswaterstaat, EcoShape, the Dutch Society for the Preservation of Nature (Natuurmonumenten) and Deltares – are sharing the first results from the past year and confirming their alliance in a memorandum of understanding.

Agreements about knowledge development

Roeland Allewijn (Rijkswaterstaat), Henk Nieboer (EcoShape), Maarten Smits (Deltares) and Teo Wams (Natuurmonumenten) are the signatories.

Talking about the importance of the moment, Allewijn of Rijkswaterstaat says: ‘This alliance fits in with the efforts made by Rijkswaterstaat to actively share knowledge and draw on the innovative brainpower of research institutes, the business sector and other government bodies for sustainable and future-resilient water management.’

Maarten Smits of Deltares: ‘In conjunction with our partners, we now formally committing ourselves to a knowledge programme for the Marker Wadden. Quantitative knowledge about the development of natural values ​​and water quality through the creation of these islands is of major importance, both in the Netherlands and elsewhere. The KIMA alliance leads to a unique combination of expertise in very different fields.’

Finally, Henk Nieboer of EcoShape points out that: ‘KIMA is a great addition to the Living Lab for Mud, where we are studying the useful application of silt. For example to create salt marshes or to allow silt to ripen into clay that can be used to strengthen dikes. As the Dutch water sector, we can use the concentrated knowledge from the Living Lab worldwide to transform silt from a problem into a solution.’

MoU Marker Wadden

Maarten Smits (managing director Deltares) is signing the MoU (on his left is Roeland Allewijn, RWS)

Learning from nature development and building with silt and sand

From the outset, the aim was to use the Marker Wadden to learn as much as possible on and around the islands about the development of natural values, improving water quality and building with silt and sand. The Marker Wadden knowledge and innovation programme (KIMA) is an alliance bringing together NGOs, research institutes, the business sector and government, and it is part of the National Water and Climate Knowledge and Innovation Programme (NKWK), which unites research institutes, business and government so they can work together on pilot projects, current issues and long-term developments for a climate-resilient and water-robust delta.

The memorandum of understanding signed on 7 March regulates the formal aspects of the alliance, knowledge sharing and knowledge dissemination. It is the basis, and an incentive, for the research and funding needed for the ongoing development of the knowledge programme.

Newcomers will be able to use the data from the monitoring programme and facilities, and engage with three research themes: building with silt and sand, valuable ecosystems and adaptive governance.

Marker Wadden

The Marker Wadden is a whole new group of islands in the Markermeer lake. It is an initiative of Natuurmonumenten, which is responsible for the operational side together with Rijkswaterstaat. The Marker Wadden received a launch contribution from the Droomfonds of the Dutch Postcode Lottery and Natuurmonumenten. In addition, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the provincial authority of Flevoland and the provincial authority of North Holland are contributing to the execution of the first phase of the Marker Wadden.

The construction of the islands by Boskalis began in 2016. The overall construction of the five islands and the silt channel are expected to be completed by mid-2018 and the completion of the first phase is planned for 1 January 2021.