Ask Nature to Protect and Build-up Beaches


  • R. H. Charlier
  • C. P. De Meyer


Erosion, artificial reefs, dewatering, Berosin, Beachbuilder, artificial nourishment


The Belgian coast is protected for 50% by hard constructions including slanting seawalls and groins. Most of them were built after the extremely severe 1953 storm. The other 50% of the coast consist of dune-belts and beaches. More than a century ago a groin field was implanted in front of the dune barrier protecting the coastal plain. But both nature and man's activities encroached on this natural defense and by the forties several east coast resorts were left without a beach at high water. Hard structures did not provide adequate protection, they even seemed to worsen problems, and yet, some new techniques like the use of the HARO were welcome innovations. The extension of Zeebrugge harbor provided an opportunity to consider artificial nourishment using the dredgings. The approach provided some satisfaction but recharges were necessary. Meanwhile the west coast started to show signs of erosion. Various beach protection and restoration methods were tested but discarded for a variety of reasons. Then nourishment with a feeder berm was decided upon for the De Haan sector and has yielded excellent results. The paper, while focusing on Belgian approaches, reviews alternative approaches such as artificial reefs and dewatering, but also methods that call upon Nature to rebuild beaches, among which Berosin and Beachbuilder.