Earlier projects TIDE and EMOVE showed that estuaries are subject to interrelated pressures, some of which have become more persistent since adoption of the current management plans:
- Amplification of the tidal range leading to shifts in estuarine dynamics, import of fine sediments, and increased flood risk
- Encroachment of salt water into ground- and surface water bodies and soils of coastal landscapes
- Increased flood frequency due to climate change
Estuary managers need to attend to resulting management challenges, such as reducing flood risk, maintaining access to inland ports and ensuring proper relocation of dredged sediment. These are not yet sufficiently addressed by current estuary management plans and resulting measures, which are mostly based on analyses and strategies developed more than a decade ago.
Since then, new knowledge and innovative methods have become available or advanced considerably (i.e. ecosystem service valuation, system analysis, serious gaming). These approaches can be used to create a better basis for developing the most appropriate, integrated solutions to prevailing problems. They can also help overcome barriers to implementing existing solutions, such as lack of stakeholder approval.
The proposed project will employ new methods to accelerate implementation of already defined measures, as well as get stakeholder agreement on new or adapted measures. Ongoing barriers to implementation will be resolved through stakeholder engagement processes to address concerns. New or adapted measures will be developed as needed in response to prevailing management challenges. The project will support management changes at identified sites by fully evaluating feasibility and designing corresponding action plans.
Achieving the project’s aim requires a range of partners and activities specific to both estuary sites and across the region. Sites include those investigated in TIDE and EMOVE, as well as additional estuaries facing similar challenges. By involving public authorities, researchers, and civil society organisations, management strategies at specific estuary sites will be updated through a process to bridge the gaps between knowledge generation, stakeholder interests and on-the-ground implementation. Transnational cooperation to exchange knowledge and best practices will enhance strategies to address common challenges.