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 Building with Nature Guideline > Projects > Adaptive monitoring of sand extraction areas - Maasvlakte 2 extension, NL

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Adaptive monitoring of sand extraction areas - Maasvlakte 2 extension, NL


Location: the Netherlands, Rotterdam port area

Date: 2008 – 2013 (first phase) / 2033 (complete project)

Involved parties: Client: Rotterdam Project for Mainport Development (PMR). Contractor: PUMA (Projectorganisatie Uitvoering Maasvlakte 2) consisting of Boskalis and Van Oord. Monitoring: IMARES Wageningen U, PUMA, Deltares; NIOZ, IECS, TNO, Rijkswaterstaat Dienst Noordzee.

Technology Readiness Level: 9 (operations successfully completed in actual environment)

Environment: Sandy shores, ports and cities

Keywords: adaptive monitoring, adaptive management, ecology

The Maasvlakte 2 (MV2) case is selected to serve as a hindcast example of possible adaptive monitoring schemes around sand extraction activities, i.e. how could adaptive execution monitoring have helped and/or have added value to the project? For the entire lifespan of the Mainport Rotterdam, extensive Monitoring and Evaluation Plans (MEPs) have been set up, such as the MEP Sand Extraction and the MEP Land Reclamation. Their goal is twofold: (1) verification of how do the actual effects relate to an activity compared to expected scenarios, and (2) gathering data for filling important knowledge gaps. Every five years, all MEPs are evaluated. If needed, management plans are adjusted. As the scope of the case study is marine sand mining, this historic case description of the Maasvlakte 2 focuses on the MEP Sand Extraction.

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Planning and design

Monitoring is a condition for permitting under several laws, which already has to be taken into account in the planning and design phase. The permit conditions include requirements for a monitoring plan, its execution and its evaluation. The main monitoring requirements in the case of the sand extraction for Maasvlakte 2 originate from:

  • the Nature Law, under authority of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation (Ministerie van Economische Zaken, Landbouw en Innovatie (EL&I)) and;
  • the Mineral Extraction Law, under authority of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment (Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Milieu (I&M)).

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Several aspects were important for the execution phase, namely:

  • baseline monitoring
  • adaptive monitoring during execution
  • structural evaluation of the MEP and legislative requirements

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Operation and Maintenance

Because this case description is focused on monitoring of the sand extraction for Maasvlakte 2, 'post-construction' refers to the monitoring phase after the sand extraction has ended.

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Lessons Learned

To identify the lessons learned from the monitoring of the Maasvlakte 2 extension, the Frame of Reference (Van Koningsveld, 2003) is applied to the monitoring plan of MV2. The Frame of Reference tool can be used to support decision making, as well as to set a target for expertise improvement. The main research question is in how far the monitoring program uses adaptive management approaches as set by the Frame of Reference.

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