Coastal Restoration Trust of New Zealand

Coastal Dune Ecosystem Reference Database

Community based coastal monitoring: developing tools for sustainable management Thesis

Rickard, D.
Publisher / Organisation
University of Waikato
Burgeoning coastal development, recreational use, and the future affects of climate change are placing increasing strain on regulators to manage risk associated with coastal hazards. Low-lying coastal communities in particular are vulnerable to a range of natural hazards including coastal erosion, storm surge inundation, tsunami and water safety that come with varying levels of risk to life and property. New Zealand’s coastal hazard monitoring network is patchy and resources are limited. As a consequence there is considerable potential for coastal communities are going to need to take a more active role in monitoring their environment and building data bases and knowledge that can be used to better manage their coast. This paper describes simple methodologies based on the needs of various community groups and sound science principles that can be used to monitor beaches and the coastal environment. By employing these tools councils, technical experts and community groups will be able to make better-informed decisions for managing activities in the coastal environment. One of the keys to the successful uptake of a monitoring programme by a community group is its relevance to the group. The programme and the tools provided must fit the interests, needs, capability and resources of the group. This project develops tools for coastal monitoring and targets coastal community groups such as Coast Care, Coastal Hapu, Secondary Schools, and Surf Life Saving Clubs. The monitoring methodologies have been developed in consultation with Tainui ki Whaingaroa hapu, Raglan Area School, and the Waikato Beach Care and Coast Care Bay of Plenty. Successful methodologies for measuring changes on the coast are also those that are matched to the type of beach, use appropriate equipment, collect structured data, provide data to which analysis can be applied, incorporate local knowledge of the environment, and feed results back to the community and other interested parties such as councils and science organisations. This project provides the target groups with simple monitoring methodologies, field forms/checklists, and appropriate survey and measurement equipment (which have undergone field trials) to carry out coastal monitoring. A web-based facility has been developed to input, check and store data; and provide immediate feedback using graphs and images. It also provides background information on coastal processes relevant to monitoring programmes. In this manner, a scientifically robust data set is collected and stored within a secure and future proofed archive, providing valuable information to coastal groups for years to come. Although the primary objective of this research is to develop a means for coastal communities to monitor changes in their environment, there are additional benefits associated with engaging communities in the study of their environment. These benefits include increasing awareness of coastal hazards, capacity building, providing valuable educational resources, and improving the temporal and spatial data coverage of information for the New Zealand coastline.