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 Building with Nature Guideline > Projects > Coral Protection - Puerto Caucedo Dredging, DO

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Coral Protection - Puerto Caucedo Dredging, DO

Location: Puerto Caucedo, Dominican Republic
Date: 2002 – 2003
Involved parties: Ballast Nedam (Van Oord), CSX World Terminals, Caucedo Investments Incorporated

Technical Readiness Level: 7 (system prototype demonstration in operational environment)
Environment: Tropical shelf seas and shores, Ports and Cities, Estuaries
Keywords: port, dredging, coral, monitoring

Building with Nature designTraditional design

More emphasis has been put on finding more sustainable solutions when working in or close to coral areas. The ecosystem is adopted as a starting point for the design and realization of marine infrastructure projects. When construction works and dredging take place in the vicinity of corals, the corals need to be monitored, and adverse effects should be mitigated, frequently in combination with relocation or recolonization of affected areas.

Historically, the environmental protection measures at dredging projects near sensitive coral ecosystems was passive. Dredging project management was traditionally focused solely on carrying out appointed mitigation or compensation measures covering project impacts. Loss of coral habitat was taken as necessary to enable economic development or coastal safety. No realistic nature based solutions were recognized.
(picture: plume from coral rock dredging - source PIANC)


The coral environment had to be protected while dredging works were conducted for the port terminal construction of Puerto Caucedo. Therefore, an Environmental Impact Assessment study was carried out. Water quality was monitored and a special construction plan was implemented.

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Initiation phase

The new container terminal construction was ordered by CSXWT and constructed by Ballast Nedam Dredging (presently owned by Van Oord). Attention for ecological issues was high from the beginning of the project; the entire board of stakeholders (Dominican Government, financial lenders and project sponsors) ordered an Environmental Impact Assessment Study (conducted by Mouchel Parkman Consulting Services Ltd. Limited). In that way the entire board of stakeholders demonstrated their determination to carry out the works to a high standard of care. Based on the findings of this report and on stakeholders' requests, the contractors implemented mitigation measures to ensure the ecological safety of the local marine environment.

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Planning and design phase

To minimize the environmental impact of the dredging works, the EIA study advised the following mitigating measures:

  1. Relocation of valuable coral communities
  2. Water quality and current monitoring
  3. Erection of two settlement basins and a silt screen
  4. Discharge of reclamation water below the 40m depth contour

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Construction phase

In this section the 'construction' of the mitigation measures is described in more detail. 

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Operation and Maintenance phase

The project does not seem to have an adverse effect on the surrounding area and ecology.

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Lessons Learned

The mitigation measures were proven successful since the agreed Environmental Managements Plan was strictly followed and the requested environmental standards were fully met.

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