Punching holes in Dutch dykes to free estuaries
I really like this story because it shows that engineers and communities can eventually do the right thing by nature. The holes have to be big enough to allow the food chain in and out with the tide. Stagnant water and algae blooms are something that we lived with in Alameda California living on a manmade lagoon. A pipe at both ends permitted a pass through, however, not sufficient to cleanse the lagoon. I once saw a shark swimming in there that apparently grew too large to get out through the pipe.
“The tide has changed for Dutch dykesThe Delta Works, a massive system of flood defences, are a Dutch national icon. A committee of government officials has now proposed some surprising alterations.
By our news staff
In 1953, the Netherlands, always vulnerable to flooding, suffered a major natural disaster. The North Sea washed over half a million acres of land and killed over 1,800 people on the south-western coast.
To protect future generations from similar harm, the Dutch government embarked on one of the greatest engineering projects in history. Over the following decades, engineers constructed a flood defence system of dams, sluices, locks, dykes and storm surge barriers. The Delta Works basically shortened the Dutch coast line and turned sea estuaries into freshwater lakes. In 1994, the American Society of Engineers labelled it one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, along with structures such as the Channel Tunnel and the Panama Canal.
Today, little over a decade after the Delta Works were finally finished, a group of Dutch civil servants want to punch a few holes in them. “