Today, coastal infrastructure, such as seawalls, quays and groynes, present on the Channel coast are not designed to  incorporate habitat for marine species or conserve and protect coastal and transitional ecosystems. Instead they serve only human activities: transportation, fishing, coastal development and protection, pleasure boating, and tourism.

Coastal infrastructure replaces rich coastal ecosystems with artificial substrate that is comparatively poor in biodiversity. To avoid these negative effects and the creation of infrastructure that does not improve the local environment, it is necessary to support coastal project managers and engineers towards a new method of designing coastal infrastructure. Starting with an environmental analysis, the planner focuses their strategy on the needs of the site: for example, the protection of a locally-occurring species or the general improvement of the local ecosystem. The creation of a global assessment method (Marine Strategy Framework Directive/ Water Framework Directive) will provide the necessary tools for this analysis. Then, WP T1 of the MARINEFF project will facilitate the protection of a targeted species (native European oyster Ostrea edulis) and WP T2 will enhance overall biodiversity. These eco-engineering solutions, which will directly integrate habitats for marine organisms in coastal infrastructure, will be made possible by adapting commonly used materials (concrete) to specific ecological specifications.

Eco-engineering units will be deployed on 2 large-scale pilot operations and 6 experimental sites (ES) to monitor their progress in-situ and ensure transferability throughout the project area. The improvements made by these eco-engineering units will be measured according to the Water Framework Directive descriptors (measurement of biomass, biodiversity, abundance of fish resources and eutrophication, monitoring of invasive species, and analysis of food webs). The project aims to achieve an overall improvement of at least 15% in all these indicators compared to the existing biological communities. 

The economic profitability of the eco-engineering units will be ensured by working with well-known building materials and techniques to guarantee a negligible additional cost (<5%) compared to existing eco-engineering options. MARINEFF will accelerate the marketing of our solutions by creating training (WP T3) and business models for engineers, contractors and other key stakeholders.

The MARINEFF project involves 9 French and British partners with complementary expertise:

The MARINEFF project was selected under the European cross-border cooperation program INTERREG VA France (Channel) – England co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund for €3.9 million (total budget €5.7 million). 

Duration of the project: 01/04/2018 – 30/06/2023