An environmentally friendly technique: Soil bioengineering

Soil bioengineering has for many years been neglected giving way to heavy techniques based on civil engineering. However, the teams at the NE Dept., pioneers of bioengineering, based their approach on ancestral practices and observations to develop their know-how in these alternative methods.
It is true that they have the advantage of preserving the fauna, flora and ecosystems whilst providing excellent protection for the bank against erosion phenomena resulting from wake waves.

In concrete terms, whenever it is possible and appropriate, this results in the replacement of sheet piling on the edge of canals by vegetation banks, which take root and flower in the summer. Natural materials (wooden piles, coconut fibre mats) support the overall development.

Not only do these vegetation-based techniques renovate the banks, they also offer undeniable advantages:
  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions: These techniques have an impact on the carbon balance that is 7 times greater than the use of sheet piling, according to initial results.
  • Preservation of biodiversity: A vegetation-based bank has an environmental function that is equivalent to that of a natural bank.
  • Landscape quality of projects: The diversity of the plants used gives a natural appearance to the bank.
  • Cost effectiveness: A vegetation-based bank costs about one-sixth of a sheet-piling bank.

For further information, contact the Water-Environment section of the NE Dept. on +33 (0)3 83 35 36 80 or by email at

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