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The Perkpolder Plan combines living, recreation and nature development in one single plan. Houses will be built on the former ferry access area (ferry service: Kruiningen-Perkpolder) and the old ferry port will be converted into a marina. To the east, a nature reserve outside the dykes will be developed. To this end, an opening (or a breach) has been made in the dyke on 25 June, 2015. To the west of the ferry access area a golf course and holiday homes are planned.

The concepts, which were developed as part of the EU project ComCoast, were used during the planning with the aim of developing a safe and sustainable coastal zone that provides an attractive place to live, do business, and relax. The residents, entrepreneurs, governments and interest groups are all closely involved in the planning.

The nature development outside the dykes fits perfectly with the Perkpolder Plan. Moreover, it also forms part of the nature compensation programme Tweede Verdieping Westerschelde [the second deepening of the Western Scheldt estuary] (40 hectares) and the restoration of the natural environment of the Natuurpakket Westerschelde [nature development package in the Western Scheldt](35 hectares). The entire surface area is therefore 75 hectares.

The breach in the dyke ensures that the nature reserve and the related erosion and sedimentation processes are influenced by the tides. In addition, the vegetation pattern will adjust itself to the new salty conditions. New bird species and bottom-dwellers will colonise the area.

Monitoring and researching the project
Research group Building with Nature and partners focus on the biotic and abiotic development in the nature reserve outside the dykes. This includes morphological developments, such as the increase of the ground level, the formation of the creek pattern, as well as the driving hydrodynamic processes, such as waves and currents. Additionally, the influence of the tides on the ground water levels, the plant growth, the colonisation by soil life (macrozoobenthos) and the use of the area by birds are researched as well.

In addition to the developments in the nature reserve, the effect of saline groundwater on the surrounding polders is researched as well. To restrict this influence, a unique seepage system has been installed. Deltares is conducted the research and is also involved in the adjustment of this seepage system (more information can be found on the website of Deltares).

The project started in September 2015 and will run until December 2018. Partners that are involved in this project are The Department of Waterways and Public Works Sea and Delta [Zee en Delta], IMARES Wageningen UR, Deltares and NIOZ.

These partners cooperate within the Centre of Expertise Delta Technology.
More information can be found on the website of The Department of Waterways and Public Works, Plan Perkpolder and Interreg ComCoast. For more information about the project, please contact Matthijs Boersema.