This paper highlights the innovations during the environmental impact assessment of the land reclamation (Maasvlakte 2) near the port of Rotterdam (The Netherlands). The construction of this new port area consists of two main activities: sand mining in the North Sea and land reclamation near the harbor entrance of Rotterdam. Various modeling studies have been carried out to assess the effects of the land reclamation and sand mining on the surrounding coastal waters. Three innovative developments are described in this paper: 1) a large-scale three-dimensional hydrodynamic model of the Southern North Sea with a very high resolution along the Dutch coast and in the Wadden Sea, 2) a new fish larvae model that takes account of the behavior of fish larvae in relation to the physical factors (eg. salinity, currents) and biological processes (eg. larval growth), and 3) a process-based model for the dispersion of mud in the North Sea that includes the exchange of mud to and from the sediment bed at various time scales (tide, spring-neap, seasons). Apart from describing these innovations, the paper also discusses the fruitful interactions between various disciplines and institutes, and the lessons learned from this extensive modeling effort
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