The Maasvlakte 2 sand extraction area lies about 20 km offshore from the Port of Rotterdam (PoR) (Fig. 3, no. 1). The site was chosen in consultation with the project owner, the permit authority and the contractor.
The Maasvlakte 2 extraction site is the largest in the Dutch coastal area. It extends over an area of 2500 ha, has slopes of 1:7-1:10 and an extraction depth of about 20 m below the original seabed (i.e. the seabed is lowered to NAP -40 and -44 m). It has sufficient capacity (>250 million m3) to create several morphologically stable large-scale bedforms. Stability means that these bedforms do not change shape or height and migrate very slowly or not at all. They will therefore remain long enough within in the sand extraction site to allow for (re)colonisation by marine organisms.
Figure 3 shows the geographical location in the North Sea and zooms in on the the sand extraction site. The orientation of the naturally occurring sand waves in the area is shown in figure 4 near the edges of the sand extraction sites. The direction of the dredged furrows of the Trailing Suction Hopper Dredgers (TSHDs) is visible in the deep parts of the extraction site and is in line with the tidal current. The parallel to the tidal current orientated sand bar is denoted with number 1 and the oblique to the tidal current orientated sand bar with no. 2.
Fig. 3. Location of the pilot site Maasvlakte 2 in front of the Port of Rotterdam (PoR) denoted with 1.
Figure 4: Bathymetry of the deep and large-scale MV2 sand extraction site with a large northern and smaller southern part separated by an exclusion area consisting of clay. In the northern part 2 ecosystem-based sand bars are visible (picture: Maarten de Jong, based on multibeam data of PUMA).