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Save the Delta

The Dutch Perspective

Netherlands Building with Nature Alliance
Van Oord and Deltares

May 4, 2010
The Problem
• Massive oil spill is approaching the Mississippi Delta
• Delta is home to 70% of the waterbird species of the US
• 400 species are threatened by oil spill
• Delta is major production location for shellfish
• The breeding season is starting now!
• Massive spill, massive impact = need for massive
protection measures
Starting point
• Oil spill will continue for longer period (months)
• Lower estimate 800.000 l/d, high est. 4.000.000l/d
• 11d of spill equals Exxon Valdez (using high est.)
• 420d of spill equals Gulf War I spill (high est.)
• Utilize robust, large scale, low cost techniques to protect
the Delta area, based on Dutch know-how
• Take measures that will benefit the Delta long term after
resolving of the spill, compensate ongoing erosion
• Take measures with minimal impact on environment
• Large area vulnerable
• Infinite coastline length
• Impossible to defend
• Impossible to clean

main trajectory
of oil spill
• Shortened coastline
• Reduced vulnerable area
• Focussed cleaning effort
• Flush with Mississippi water

Saving the Delta

Reclaiming control? Yes we can!

Similar solutions possible for

eastern part of Delta and other
• Shorten the coastline and focus protective measures

• Beaches are effective barriers for oil spill and beaches can
be cleaned better than marshlands
• Sand can be nourished to create barrier beaches in front of
the delta
• Sand barriers (bunds) will reduce and concentrate inflow of
seawater into the Delta
• Mississippi waterflow can be redirected to block inflow of
sea water into the inner delta
• Sand barriers will protect Delta for longer period against
erosion and boost Chandelier Island chain
• 100-150 km of protective sandy bund needed
• moving app. 40 - 80 million m3 of sediment
• apply in 2-3 months? Flexible solution.
• start immediately, scale up as soon as possible
• Dutch effort in combination with US government (Jones
Act needs to be bypassed)
• Massive and swift deployment of dredging capacity
needed! Scale is feasible.
Activities proposed
• Create Alliance including governments (waive Jones Act)
• Guarantee funding for mobilization
• Mobilize Dutch dredging fleet
• Propose detailed action plan
– maximal effectivity
– minimal impact on dredging and nourishment locations
– long term benefit
• Guarantee funding for implementation
• Start work within one week and scale up as quick as
• Start monitoring of effectivity and impacts
• Adaptive execution strategy based on monitoring
• Where to find sufficient sources of sediment?
• Conflicting uses of the area
• Availability of dredging hardware
• Distribution of oil spill next months
• Optimization of location and design of barriers based on
bathymetry and risk of contamination and value of
• Where to find sufficient sources of sediment?
• Availability of dredging hardware
• Distribution of oil spill next months
• Optimization of location and design of barriers based on
bathymetry, risk of contamination and value of ecosystem
Our Proposal
• Alliance now consists of Deltares and Van Oord but can
be extended according to needs.
• Van Oord and Deltares start mobilizing tomorrow
depending on arrangement of funding
• Louisiana or US federal authorities guarantee
mobilization fund of 10.000.000 US dollar
• Van Oord is committed to start nourishment operation
within app. two weeks from now.
• Detailed planning and engineering, waive of Jones Act
needs to be sorted in the meantime.
• Depending on planning, the Alliance will upscale its
activities as needed.