Changes of the operation of the Ems storm surge barrier to reduce the concentrations of suspended matter and dredging volumes

In the course of the project a three dimensional model of the Ems estuary is developed. It is used to simulate the hydro-morphological effects of different scenarios in which the Ems storm surge barrier is used for controlling tidal dynamics to reduce the import of sediment into the lower Ems river. The effects on suspended sediment transport and sedimentation volumes are assed.

Ems storm surge barrier near Gandersum
Ems storm surge barrier near Gandersum (©Jeger,

Duration: 2011 - 2014

 Figure: Model area and Ems storm surge barrier near GandersumBackground of this investigation is the persisting critical ecological status of the Ems Estuary. It is characterised by strongly increased suspended sediment concentrations in the lower Ems river, which derogate the lighting and oxygen conditions in the water and hereby the overall ecological function of the estuarine habitat. Moreover, high sediment concentrations and upstream sediment transport increase the necessity for dredging  in the lower Ems.

The causes for the unfavorable development in the Ems River are changes in the tidal dynamics and sediment transport dynamics which are attributed to anthropogenic interference into the morphology and geometry of the system (Talke and de Swart 2006; de Jonge 1983).

An optimized controlling of the Ems strom surge barrier is expected to to weaken the tidal asymmetry with flood dominance to reduce sediment import into the lower Ems.

Figure: Model area

Research division:


  • Prof. Dr. R. Mayerle


  • M.Sc. K.R. Niederndorfer
  • Dr. G. Bruss


  • NLWKN-Forschungsstelle Küste
  • Bst. Norden-Norderney