New Developments on Coastal Protection along the Belgian Coast
Keywords:Beach profile, beach nourishment, groin, shore protection, coastal engineering.
Beach, and particularly profile nourishment is not a universally accepted solution for coastal protection. Its cost has been criticized; its temporary remedial nature emphasized. However, no better, less expensive solution has been proposed. Let nature take its course is indeed the simplest approach but one that in many instances does not face up to economic realities. Belgium's coastline is short and its occupation is intensive. Politically and economically it cannot be left to evolve without intervention. Traditionally groins have been constructed to hold off the assault of the sea and retain sand for the beaches. This approach has proven to be unsatisfactory, even damaging. A major beach nourishment program was undertaken at the eastern end; at that time, it was the largest such program ever carried out and absolutely necessary to save the touristic nature of the area. The results have been generally praised. New problems developed in the coast's central part. The situation is far from redressed in Ostend; trouble spots appeared at the very western end and intensive erosion has occurred in Bredene, near Ostend, a situation already described ten years ago. But it was De Haan (a.k.a. Le Coq-sur-mer) that immediate action became necessary and an apparently successful artificial nourishment has just been completed. This paper briefly recapitulates the work undertaken at Knokke-Heist; the proposals made for Ostend describes the present situation in Bredene and provides a detailed account of the completed program at De Haan.