Thanks to a great team of co-authors we’re gaining new understanding of the Rhine-Meuse delta and how its sediment is behaving!
PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY:
Deltas need sufficient sediment to grow with sea-level rise and counteract natural and human-induced subsidence. A sediment budget quantifies if a delta is net gaining sediment or if it is losing sediment over a long time period. The Rhine-Meuse Delta (RMD) has a negative budget: Its entire network of channels is losing sediment annually. The reason for this negative budget is the high amounts of sand and mud removed for navigation to inland ports and from harbors which are periodically dredged. As a result, some of the channels in the area degrade rapidly, which causes issues for river management and dynamics including water quality, flood safety, and ecology. Other deltas worldwide are managed similarly to the RMD and will therefore face the same sediment issues. A strategy is required to deal with channel degradation and find ways to maintain sediment in the system.