Coastal Management - Planning Approaches

Planning Approaches

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There are five generic strategies for coastal defense:

  • inaction leading to eventual abandonment
  • Managed retreat or realignment, which plans for retreat and adopts engineering solutions that recognise natural processes of adjustment, and identifies a new line of defence where to construct new defences
  • Hold the line, shoreline protection, whereby seawalls are constructed around the coastlines
  • Move seawards, this happens by constructing new defenses seaward the original ones
  • Limited intervention, accommodation, by which adjustments are made to be able to cope with inundation, raising coastal land and buildings vertically

The decision to choose a strategy is site-specific, depending on pattern of relative sea-level change, geomorphological setting, sediment availability and erosion, as well a series of social, economic and political factors.

Alternatively, integrated coastal zone management approaches may be used to prevent development in erosion- or flood-prone areas to begin with. Growth management can be a challenge for coastal local authorities who often struggle to provide the infrastructure required by new residents seeking seachange lifestyles. Sustainable transport investment to reduce the average footprint of coastal visitors is often a good way out of coastal gridlock. Examples include Dongtan and the Gold Coast Oceanway.

The 'Managed Retreat' option, involving no protection, is cheap and expedient. The coast takes care of itself and coastal facilities are abandoned to coastal erosion, with either gradual landward retreat or evacuation and resettlement elsewhere. This is the usual response when land of little value will be lost. The only pollution produced is from the resettlement process. Where endangered property has high value, it is less often applied.

Read more about this topic:  Coastal Management

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