Bio-Engineering for safety using vegetated foreshores

Promising Building with Nature (BwN) solutions for flood management, such as vegetated foreshores, inherently have a dynamic nature. Therefore there is a relatively large degree of uncertainty with respect to their contribution to flood protection. This hampers the implementation of vegetated foreshores in flood risk management in the Netherlands and abroad.

The objective of the BE SAFE project is to develop new methods to assess how and how much vegetated foreshores can contribute to flood risk reduction. Within the project, researchers in the fields of hydraulic engineering, ecology and governance collaborate to gain a better understanding of (uncertainties in) the long-term ecological, biogeomorphological, and hydraulic functioning and stability of these systems and effective implementation arrangements.

The team uses field observations on several sites and flume measurements to analyse fundamental ecological and physical processes for various types of wetland vegetation. The knowledge obtained will be applied in one implementation case study for a location in the Netherlands where dike reinforcement is required in the future. This case study integrates fundamental knowledge from all the disciplines. It is used to design governance and implementation arrangements, and to demonstrate how vegetated foreshores can contribute to flood risk reduction.

The project will provide the knowledge, methods and tools (e.g. a maptable) required for the design and implementation of vegetated foreshores as a safe, ecologically desirable, and cost-effective alternative in flood management.

Work package


Researcher and position


Hydraulic engineering and safety

TU Delft Hydraulic Engineering

PhD: Ir. Vincent Vuik

Prof. dr. ir. Bas Jonkman*



Dr. Zhenchang Zhu

Prof. dr. Tjeerd Bouma

Prof. dr. Johan van de Koppel


University of Twente

PhD: Ir. Pim Willemsen

Dr. ir. Bas Borsje

Prof. dr. ir. Suzanne Hulscher

Governance and implementation

TU Delft Technology Policy and Management

Postdoc: Dr. ir. Stephanie Janssen

Dr. Leon Hermans

* Bas Jonkman is also the principal investigator for this project

Presentations during the seminar of March 27, 2019 "Building Safety with Nature"


The project has started in the year 2014 and most work packages will finish in 2018, and some in 2019. The implementation case will be executed in the years 2017 and 2018. The project team consist of the following partners:

The project is supported by:

Utilisation partners and end-users of the project are shown below.