Greening Shorelines to Enhance Climate Resilience

This report describes the results of an initial study to advance policies and practices in British Columbia, and elsewhere, with regard to the use of "soft" shore armouring alternatives within the context or climate change, sea level rise (SLR) practices and guidelines and flood protection.
The study was initiated by the Stewardship Centre for British Columbia (SCBC), with the support of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan).
The intent of this study was to test several approaches, for specific case examples, and evaluate the effectiveness of the soft shore armouring alternatives, compared to an equally appropriate hard alternative, based on the following criteria:
  • Adaptability to climate change related sea level rise
  • Their effectiveness in protecting the shoreline against flooding.
  • Their effectiveness in providing ecological resilience.
  • Their relative cost, considering initial capital cost, maintenance cost and long term replacement cost.
For the purpose of this evaluation, three soft shore alternatives were selected for evaluation:
  • Use of a mainly beach nourishment or shore replenishment alternative, consisting of supply and placement of typical beach intertidal matrials - ranging from sand to gravel/cobble mixture.
  • Use of nearshore - mainly inter-tidal-rock features, including boulder clusters and inter-tidal and sub tidal rock habitat reefs.
  • Use of a typical headland - beach system to maintain a conventional beach intertidal substrate in an area exposed to incident waves from more than one primary direction.
In the first two alternatives, the soft shore alternative is applied to the adaptation of an existing community scale hard shoreline. In the alternative, the soft shoreline alternative was already in place. In this particular example, the soft shore alternative is compared to a conventional sea dike alternative to provide additional insight.
In all cases,the hard and soft alternatives provided appropriate levels of flood protection for the scenario considered in this study.
Author: Grant Lamont, JohnReadshaw, Clifford Robinson, Philippe St. Germain,
Publisher: Stewardship Centre of BC
Jun, 2014
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