A natural coast is a dynamic environment, and its ecological value and resilience stems from its ability to change and evolve. In Chichester Harbour only 36% is dynamic and our aim for the coast, as far as possible, is to maintain and increase the length of the dynamic coast so that wildlife can better adapt to the pressures from climate change, increasing its resilience, and provide the wider multiple benefits so important to society.
This focus area is seeking to increase coastal resilience by working with partners to develop plans, policies, and encourage sustainable development to mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts; increase our understanding of environmental pressures, risks and opportunities; protect property and key infrastructure; improve coastal processes and sediment supply; and protect and enhance biodiversity such as saltmarsh, through management measures and projects.
Our ambition is to develop a long-term, holistic coastal environment plan for the Harbour, that supports delivery of sustainable solutions, biodiversity enhancements, public access, and enables the natural landscape to adapt to future pressures.
Boosting the Benefits
We also wish to increase the awareness and understanding of people visiting, living and working around the Harbour of the value of the natural environment and the many benefits its health can bring – including tourism and economic growth, wellbeing and leisure, water quality, carbon storage and flood and coastal erosion risk management. We will work collaboratively to:
- Explore opportunities to restore saltmarsh within the Harbour, to help combat the pressures surrounding coastal squeeze and develop more sustainable approaches to managing the coastline.
- Explore opportunities to improve coastal processes and increase sediment supply. For example, gradual eroding coastal cliff edges naturally provide gravel to grow spits and beaches and sand and clay to nourish mudflats and salt marshes.
- Trial new techniques such as the beneficial use of dredged sediment to restore saltmarsh and the use of biodegradable structures to retain sediment, encouraging expansion of saltmarsh between fragmented areas.
- Influence local policies to safeguard land around the Harbour for future saltmarsh and grazing marsh sites.
- Plan a safe route for the future coastal footpath. As sea level rises, and we continue to experience the impacts from storms and flooding, we need to provide safe access so that people can continue to enjoy the Harbour land/seascape.
- Drive forward the recovery of the SSSI through the improvement of the condition and extent of the saltmarsh within Chichester Harbour, helping to increase the wider benefits that this brings to people, the environment and wildlife.
Working in partnership and finding cost effective solutions will be key to driving forward change. We will encourage engagement with local Harbour users, communities, and other stakeholder groups, to learn and share, and help tackle these complex issues. We need to work together to determine solutions and take urgent action now to help protect the Harbour landscape for future generations to come.