Stronger Shores: investigating how marine habitats can protect coastal communities

Exploring how marine habitats could protect coastlines, reduce erosion and mitigate climate change impacts

The Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme was launched by Defra in November 2020 to test innovative measures to increase resilience to flood risk and coastal erosion. South Tyneside Council and its partners were successful in securing funding to deliver the ‘Stronger Shores’ project, investigating how marine habitats can protect coastal communities.

Stronger Shores is now in its Delivery Phase (completing in 2027), exploring how natural marine habitats like seagrass meadows, kelp forests and oyster reefs can be used to protect coastlines, reduce erosion and provide mitigation for the impacts of climate change. Collecting evidence from initiatives throughout the north-east, the project is addressing the substantial, and critical, knowledge gaps that exist regarding the societal value of subtidal coastal habitats and the methods for their restoration.

The project is based on partnership, with projects delivered by Newcastle University, University of Plymouth, Tees Rivers Trust, North Sea Wildlife Trusts and the Wild Oyster Project (Zoological Society of London and Groundwork North East and Cumbria). These organisations have considerable expertise in marine habitats delivering engagement, restoration and research on kelp, seagrass and native oyster reefs.

Supporting South Tyneside Council in coordinating the delivery, Arup and ABPmer are providing technical and advisory services, facilitating engagement and data exchange as well as advising on the overarching Stronger Shores Toolkit which will enable the flood and coastal erosion risk management community to benefit from the innovation and lessons learned from the programme.

Our contribution on the project is particularly focussed on four key workflow themes and, working with Arup, ABPmer is helping provide advice and support on modelling and flood and coastal erosion risk management; marine ecological survey and monitoring for habitat restoration; data management and advising on the Stronger Shores Toolkit. This includes providing ecological survey specifications and developing data management strategies along with facilitating the project’s partner meetings.

Header photo courtesy Andrew Pearson

ABPmer's specialists are experienced in delivering flood and coastal erosion risk management solutions, from undertaking strategic research, to collating business cases and assisting with detailed design.  

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