Physical and biological dynamic coastal processes and their role in coastal recovery (BLUE-coast)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Geography and Planning

Abstract

The BLUE-coast consortium addresses NERC highlight topic B, Coastal morphology: coastal sediment budgets and their role in coastal recovery. This project will adopt a holistic and multidisciplinary approach, combining the expertise of biologists, coastal engineers, geologists, geomorphologists and oceanographers with complementary experimental (field and laboratory) and numerical skills, to understand what processes control the coastal system dynamics and answer the relevant scientific questions.
BLUE-coast will explicitly address uncertainties in the prediction of medium-term (years) and long -term (decadal and longer) regional sediment budgets and better understand morphological change and how the coast recovers after sequences of events, such as storms by: (i) improving representation of both transportable and source material within the coastal zone within models; (ii) establishing how transportable material is mediated by the ecological system using exemplar habitats representative of the UK coastal zone; (iii) assessing sensitivities of this mixed-sediment physical and biological system to possible changes in external forcing, including the combined impact of multiple variables and sequences of events, with the goal of understanding the internal dynamics of the system (e.g. nonlinearities, critical thresholds, tipping points, precursors and antecedent conditions) in parallel with assessments of behavioural uncertainties, and (iv) reduce uncertainties in medium to long -term prediction of regional sediment budgets and morphological change.
Project Overview: the scope of the Highlight Topic sets a requirement for quantitative knowledge on both physical and biological dynamic coastal processes in order to improve hydrodynamic model predictions of regional sediment budgets and morphological change. To deliver an integrated, holistic and cost effective response, our main activities will combine (i) a detailed study of representative shelf sea landscapes that spans the full variety of organism-sediment conditions typically observed in temperate coasts, with (ii) in situ validation studies of key processes, and (iii) manipulative laboratory and field experiments aimed at unambiguously identifying causal relationships and establishing generality, and (iv) integration of new understanding of controls and effects on coastal morphodynamics at regional scales and under environmental forcing. By undertaking a substantial element of in situ observation and process studies, we will directly quantify the effect of antecedent conditions on coastal erosion and recovery, the effect of biota on mediating sediment fluxes and pathways and the effect of event sequencing on coastal erosion and recovery, across a range of geographically significant sediment habitats. These data will act as calibration and validation datasets for existing and innovative numerical models that will be able to simulate the coastal morphological consequences of key biological and physical drivers, alone and in combination. We will gain mechanistic understanding and achieve generality by performing carefully controlled experiments, generating different flow regimes using flumes, tracking changes during natural events using state-of-the-art field measurement technology and, in the laboratory, using intact sediments and sediment communities exposed to anticipated future conditions (warming, ocean acidification, nutrient loading). As it is not feasible to quantify all the relevant morphodynamic processes at high spatial resolution across the entire UK coast, our approach is to address the principal objectives through 4 interdisciplinary workpackages that follow a logical progression of scientific themes.

Planned Impact

Our research will deliver improved predictions of coastal erosion in different coastal habitats, along with modelling tools to better understand coastal recovery and to understand the implications of climate change for coastal systems. We will provide evidence-based advice for different options for coastal protection and management. We will engage with stakeholders at the national (e.g. Defra, Environment Agency), regional (e.g. District Councils, Internal Drainage Boards, Regional Flood and Coastal Committees) and local level (e.g. community groups, coastal flood fora, the public) using workshops, web-based material, newsletters and an end-of-project roadshow. We will also engage with non-government organisations associated with coastal land management (e.g. National Trust, Crown Estate) or with interests in protecting specific coastal marine species or habitats (e.g. Wildlife Trusts, RSPB). We will produce a series of short accessible videos having adopted the technique successfully before. Management of the project's impacts will be under the newly created Institute for Sustainable Coasts and Oceans at Liverpool. We will produce an annual project newsletter and the communications teams of all institutes will be proactive with regular press releases for both national and regional media opportunities, especially focusing on local media in the three 'coastal type' areas where our fieldwork activities will take place. We will develop a programme of engagement based around interactive activities at community events, visits and school project work and will target 'hard to reach' sectors of the community through exploring partnerships with organizations such as the Active Learning Partnership.
We will disseminate our final results at a mobile roadshow that spend a day at a key location within each Regional Flood and Coastal Committee. This "Moving Coastlines Show" will culminate close to London where we will invite national level stakeholders (e.g. Defra, Environment Agency, Natural England) and stage a question-time style debate. The KE officer (NOC) will work closely with the Knowledge Exchange expertise at each institute to monitor and ensure timely delivery of outreach and impact. Quantitative measures of success will include numbers of people participating in engagement events; participation in our "Moving Coastlines Show"; usage of our online materials; and by using YouTube Analytics for our public outreach material, as well as the number of media articles generated. Policy impact will be gauged by the influence that our work has on strategic environmental planning, but success in this area would be maximized by changes in coastal planning attributable to our project, particularly in the guidance for Shoreline Management Plans.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Our modelling work has advanced understanding of the redistribution of polluted sediments from eroding salt marshes, as well as the factors controlling this erosion.
Exploitation Route Coastal stakeholders will be keen to use our findings in determining the remobilization and fate of legacy pollution.
Sectors Energy,Environment

 
Description We have successfully engaged with the RSPB and the Minsmere Levels Stakeholders Group in disseminating the results of our modelling, monitoring and field investigations for the Minsmere coast. We are also engaging with EDF, Cefas and the local authories in sharing the outcomes of our work on Minsmere. For the Dungeness case study, we are now engaged in a consultation excercise with the E.A. on the proposed sea defence scheme for the Lydd Ranges shoreline. We have also shared progress on our modelling work more widely with Magnox.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Electronics,Energy,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description GIAA Award 2018/19 UKRI GCRF Global Impact Acceleration Account 'Present-day and future flood vulnerability of infrastructure assets in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG)'
Amount £19,944 (GBP)
Organisation University of Liverpool 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2018 
End 03/2019
 
Description Collaboration with Atkins and EA 
Organisation WS Atkins
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We have provide Atkins, on behalf of the EA, with maps of potential flooding resulting from combinations of extreme water levels and high waves.
Collaborator Contribution Atkins have provided us with an opportunity to align BLUEcoast modelling with the proposed EA scheme for Dungeness and Lydd Ranges.
Impact I understand these outputs have fed into the design of the proposals for the new scheme at Lydd Ranges, which are currently in consultation stage.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Collaboration with RSPB and Minsmere Levels Stakeholder Group 
Organisation Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Following an introduction made through the Suffolk Coastal Group at the Coastal Partnership East meeting in July 2017, we subsequently met with colleagues from the Minsmere Levels Stakeholder Group and the RSPB on the 21st November 2017 to discuss how the BLUEcoast work would be of value to them. We agreed to focus our modelling for Minsmere on the vulnerability of the coast to storms and sea-level rise, and on the variability of water levels in the back-barrier wetlands. We met subsequently with the group on 27th July to share progress on the monitoring, modelling and stratigraphic research being undertaken.
Collaborator Contribution Local support and dissemination. They have provided data on local water levels and vegetation, and have kept a watching brief on the radar survey deploying in December 2017. They provide continued support for and interest on the BLUEcoast project outputs.
Impact None as yet.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Radar survey 
Organisation Marlan Maritime Technologies
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Liaison with local authority, land owners and MoD regarding permissions to set up survey. Setting the operational requirements of radar surveys.
Collaborator Contribution Design, construction and operation of radar survey. Two surveys currently in operation for the BLUEcoast project.
Impact Commercial contracts for radar monitoring underway and in development.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Coastal Partnership East Dissemination Activity 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Dissemination of ARCoES decision support tool to the Coastal Partnership East and Suffolk Coastal Groups on the 13th July. Presentation focussed on demonstrating the ARCoES DST as well as the PhD research on stakeholder engagement in coastal management for the Minsmere Levels. The meeting also presented the opportunity to discuss the forthcoming BLUEcoast work with the Minsmere Levels Stakeholder Group and the RSPB.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Coastal Resilience Exhibition, Argyle International Airport, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, January 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A twelve banner exhibition on the theme of coastal resilience was created and displayed in the international check-in area of Argyle International Airport, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The banners were on display from the 14th to 31st January 2019 and were retained by the airport for further deployment. The event included a press launch on 15th January, which resulted in an article in the Island newspaper (Searchlight) and a local television piece.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://www.gov.vc/index.php/ict-centre/39-news/1011-the-university-of-liverpool-hosts-coastal-resili...
 
Description College Visit (Saint Vincent) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Andy Plater, Amani Becker, Dani Arribas-Bel and Ben Phillips visited St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College to deliver a workshop on the themes of (i) Coastal Systems and Landscapes and (ii) Coastal Hazards to
65 Geography students
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description College visit (Grenada) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Andy Plater, Amani Becker, Dani Arribas-Bel and Ben Phillips visited Marryshow College in Grenada to deliver a workshop on the themes of (i) Coastal Systems and Landscapes and (ii) Coastal Hazards to 25 Geography students
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Meeting with RSPB annd Minsmere Levels Stakeholder Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Supporters
Results and Impact Meeting to discuss how BLUEcoast modelling could feed into local strategy and decision-making.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
 
Description Modelling and monitoring of mega-recharge interventions in achieving nature-based coastal resilience, ECSA57, Perth, Australia 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented at ECSA (Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association ) conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description National Nuclear Laboratory visit to University of Liverpool 12/10/18 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Official visit from NNL Science Ambassador, Gareth Headdock, and Head of University Collaborations, Zara Hodgson to University of Liverpool. Presentations from Jenny Brown, Xiaorong Li and Amani Becker on work related to ARCoES and BLUEcoast projects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Oral presentation, ECSA57, Perth Australia 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Li, X., Leonardi, N., Plater, A. J. (2018) Habitat shift in coastal wetlands following storm events. Changing estuaries, coasts and shelf systems (ECSA) 2018, Perth, Australia, 3-6 September 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
 
Description Outreach meeting with stakeholders at RSPB Minsmere 26/27 July 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Meeting with BLUECoast stakeholders
Attended by Xiaorong Li
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Poster presentation, Sea Level Futures, Liverpool, UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Li, X., Leonardi, N., Plater, A. J. (2018) Survival of coastal wetland under rising water levels. Sea Level Futures conference 2018, Liverpool, UK, 2-4 July 2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description School visit (Grenada) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Andy Plater, Amani Becker, and David Byrne visited St Andrew's Anglican Secondary School in Grenada to deliver a workshop on the themes of (i) Coastal Systems and Landscapes and (ii) Coastal Hazards to ~60 Geography students (aged 14 to 16)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019