Managed realignment: recreating intertidal habitats on formerly reclaimed land

Garbutt, Angus; Boorman, Laurence A.. 2009 Managed realignment: recreating intertidal habitats on formerly reclaimed land. In: Perillo, G.M.E.; Wolanski, E.; Cahoon, D. R.; Brinson, M. M., (eds.) Coastal Wetlands: An integrated ecosystem approach. Elsevier, 763-785.

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Rising sea levels and changes in global and regional weather patterns, coupled with the high cost of maintaining coastal defences, have led coastal managers to look for more cost effective and sustainable methods of flood protection. Managed realignment, the landward adjustment of coastal defences and subsequent tidal inundation of the intervening land has, since the early 1990’s, been increasingly used to fulfil these requirements through out north-west Europe. We focus on managed realignment in north-west Europe specifically because the rationale, implementation and outcomes can differ from intertidal recreation efforts else where. Managed realignment allows tidal ingress through a simple breach in a flood embankment, re-introducing tidal inundation to formerly enclosed land, often for the first time in centuries. Results to date have shown that this technique of coastal management can quickly produce intertidal mudflats which are colonised by invertebrates and, given the appropriate elevation, saltmarsh plants. The method has the twin benefits of reducing sea defence maintenance costs and recreating intertidal habitats lost else where to land claim and erosion, a statuary requirement under European environmental law. A high level of public consultation, and the acquisition of appropriate consents, can mean that it can take several years from conception before a managed realignment scheme is realised. In addition, there are a complex set of socio-economic and environmental variables that can influence the success of a managed realignment scheme. Recreating intertidal habitats by managed realignment is an emerging science in north-west Europe and the eventual outcomes are still uncertain. Despite this, managed realignment makes good sense, allowing the coastline to respond to environmental change in a more natural, sustainable way.

Item Type: Publication - Book Section
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biodiversity > BD01 Conservation and Restoration of Biodiversity
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Emmett
ISBN: 9780444531032
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 11 Mar 2009 16:01 +0 (UTC)

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