In the Land of Dikes, Nature Now Reinforces Flood Defenses

BEVEREN, Belgium—The world’s levees are losing the battle against rising seas and overflowing rivers, so experts here want to learn how to fight smarter.

Locals in the coastal regions of northwest Europe, long known as the Low Countries, for centuries have expanded their space for farming and living with earthen barriers that hold back the saltwater and stop freshwater floods. Those triumphs of engineering now face unprecedented assault from oceans and rivers.