The highest number of inhabitants per square metre and the second smallest country in the world. No wonder they are dreaming of some extra living space...

Since April 2017 six hectare of land has been reclaimed at sea, exactly between two land marine nature reserves. Prince Albert is a fan of the development of the princely rock but is also very passionate about the environment. In other words: a balancing act that is resulting in unprecedented high environmental requirements!

A perfect job for MARED (Marine Environmental Department within the Jan De Nul Group). For three full years a delegation of four people will be working in Monaco. Even before the start of the project MARED was closely involved in convincing the Monegasque authorities of the suggested operational methods as in the negotiations about the turbidity limits. On the basis of literary and biological studies and the knowledge of an external specialist, limits were agreed. These had to prevent the impact of the work on sea grasses and red coral. A year before the start of the dredging work there was already a team present to compile reference information. Without this study and modelling, Bouygues – our client – would have never been able to convince the authorities that the environmental impact of the dredging is manageable. Even a year after dredging, a delegation will be present to make and follow-up the necessary checks.


These high requirements to guarantee biodiversity make Monaco a complicated and complex project. Apart from the driven dedication of the ladies for survey, logistics and accounting, what struck during our visit this summer, is the major female delegation at MARED. Together with Dries, Lola, Delphine and Francesca were responsible for the daily compilation, processing and analysis of the measurements coming from the buoys near the grasses and corals.

Both turbidity (baleful for the photosynthesis of the sea grasses!) and sedimentation, or the deposit of sand, are viewed very critically and observed strictly. Measurement buoys in the sensitive areas measure the turbidity of the water as well as the amount of light the plants get. In addition, sedimentation tubes are surfaced for analysis in the laboratory. And as if this wasn’t enough, photos of tiles on the seabed are taken, for a quick visual assessment. This way the difference regarding sedimentation can be easily determined. To guarantee open communication, all this information is made available continuously and in real time online and there are weekly meetings with the authorities.

The environmental narrative and the work of the MARED ladies, the girl power, are crucial for the yard in Monaco.