Synopsis 4 – Adapting coastal management

Chair: David Rissik


Mapping and visualisation of urbanised area inundation vulnerability: a case-study from the Yarra River delta in the City of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (936)

Yvonne Lynch 1 , Peter Wheeler 2 , Joshphar Kunapo 2 , Matthew Coller 3

  1. City of Melbourne Council, Melbourne, Australia
  2. University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  3. Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
The inundation of low-lying urbanised areas that have been constructed within coastal river delta landforms is an ever-present threat the world over. Such vulnerability often increases with on-going catchment change, and is expected to increase in the future due to predicted climate change scenarios. In these dynamic areas, the combination of high resolution spatial models of catchment and coastal areas, spatial data integration and multimedia visualisation techniques can allow for the early identification of a range of coastal zone management issues and potential problems. In this paper, we report the results of one such case study from the City of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, where highly urbanised area now extends over the Yarra River delta, situated at the head of Port Phillip Bay. This delta has been progressively developed since European settlement in the mid-1800s. Spatial modelling of this delta area has allowed high resolution indundation extent derivation, and spatial data integration and visualisation has allowed a range of inundation scenarios to be explored and understood by decision makers. The results from this research can be applied to support future Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) inundation scenario identification, awareness, and consensus-building activities amongst the sectoral stakeholder groups that will be tasked with identification of mitigation and/or adaptation strategies, which will inevitably need to be deployed at this location due to the predicted and combined effects catchment and coastal climate change.

Reimagining Futures: developing a shared understanding of coastal hazards and private risk in Tasmanian communities (937)

Amber Sturges 1

  1. Department of Premier and Cabinet Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, Australia

Coastal communities in Tasmania are affected by coastal hazards either through the loss of public amenity or through impacts on private land. State and local government can support private land owners and the community to reimagine futures for their coastal communities by providing information that will assist with their understanding of the risks presented by coastal hazards and building their resilience.

Through the Tasmanian Coastal Adaptation Decision Pathways (TCAP) project, state and local government have worked with seven vulnerable coastal communities to understand their risks and develop appropriate adaptation responses. Through TCAP, the Tasmanian Government is supporting private land owners to understand and manage risks through the collection of evidence and the provision of information.

Information provided to Councils and communities includes inundation and erosion maps, an analysis of assets at risk, and the cost of those risks. This information has been provided to communities along with the overarching principles of TCAP, which are: governments (at any level) cannot subsidise people to live in hazardous locations and; private risks associated with coastal hazards are the responsibility of private land owners and need to be managed. The seven communities involved in TCAP have been overwhelmingly receptive to the information provided, and it has established a sound base for ongoing planning between the communities and local and state government about coastal adaptation.

This presentation discusses the TCAP approach to developing understanding within communities of public and private risk from coastal hazards and how this approach has been received by the participating communities.


Adapting to the Future: Challenges for Coastal Settlements in Victoria (1111)

Murray Herron 1 , Phillip Roos 1

  1. Deakin University, Geelong, VIC, Australia

The future of coastal development in Victoria is facing many challenges, from a booming population growth and influx of tourists, to the impacts from changes in the climate resulting in extreme weather events and rising sea levels.

These challenges are putting pressure on a current land use planning system that is not equipped for dealing with these issues. The current trend in land use planning in the region is to favour suburban sprawl and tourism developments along the coast, which increases the negative impact and also the risks of damage to built assets and the environment due to coastal erosion and flooding.

In identifying opportunities for precautionary adaptation planning and risk management plans, this paper reflects on a recent research project that examines the movement coastlines from 1820 through to 2012 and forecasts that movement out to 2100 of various small coastal towns along the Victorian Coast.

The paper summarizes the outcomes of the process of visualization land use patterns using the Community Viz software tool that showed the impact of proposed development on the coastal landscape, identifying the challenges that needed to be dealt with.


Community, consultants and council: a case study in adapting to an emerging coastal vulnerability (1115)

Ian Preece 1 , Phil Watson 1 , Fred Pribac 1

  1. Clarence City Council, Rosny Park, TAS, Australia

Clarence City Council has received the 2014 Australian Coastal Award for the implementation of an endorsed climate change adaptation pathway.

Over the past five years, council has introduced Planning Scheme overlays, mainstreamed Climate Change across all business sectors within the Council and undertaken a series of no regretand win-win strategic approaches to on ground coastal adaptation projects. These have included; beach scraping, dune building, biodiversity assessments, sand supply assessments, high-resolution aerial monitoring of vulnerable beaches, beach profile surveys, community beach monitoring, photogrammetric assessments of erosion trends and development of new Coastal Erosion Hazard and Coastal  Inundation Planning Scheme overlays.

In order to develop a strategic on ground adaptation approach for Clarence’s most vulnerable coastal beach, Lauderdale, Council became a partner in the Tasmanian Coastal Adaptation Decision Pathway Project.  Extensive, stakeholder consultation and scientific assessments resulted in the identification of a strong community desire to protect property from erosion whilst maintaining the beach for as long as possible. This endorsed strategic pathway has enabled Council to progress with confidence on planning major adaptation works. After exploring various coastal defence options, and following further consultation, the Council now has technical, social and in-principal local Government political licence to progress with a multi-million dollar, 160 metre, trial groyne at Bambara reef.

There have been extraordinary challenges, and new boundaries to manage, in progressing to this stage.  There remain some significant hurdles to overcome, particularly on the question of “who pays?”, and the acquisition of legal, State Government political, and insurance licences.


Washed away: Putting the April 2014 Honiara flood event in historical context (938)

Lloyd Tahani 1 , Noel Sainao 1 , Simon McGree 2

  1. Solomon Islands Meteorological Service, Honiara, Solomon Islands
  2. Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, Australia
The April 2014 flood event in Honiara caused 24 deaths and significantly impacted local infrastructure including bridges, businesses and houses. This study examines the causes of this event, its severity in the context of historical events and how the impact of future could be reduced.
Satellite and rainfall data were examined over the period from 1st of April to the 5th of April and compared with historical data. Satellite images show that the unprecedented flooding was the result of a slow moving tropical depression South-West of Guadalcanal. This system brought torrential rain to Northern Guadalcanal, causing river systems to overflow and flood large sections of Honiara.
Rainfall measurements showed that 298.6 mm of rain fell at the peak of the event on April 3rd, the highest daily rainfall ever recorded in Honiara. Additionally, 732.6 mm of rain fell over the four day period from 1st – 4th of April, surpassing the previous record for the entire month of April (640.8 mm). Finally, this event contributed to a monthly rainfall total of 952 mm, the second wettest month ever recorded in Honiara.
The Solomon Islands Meteorological Service (SIMS) is the primary source of weather information in the Solomon Islands. To improve the provision of essential information during disasters the SIMS is working to build better linkages with key agencies such as disaster management, water resources, food security and health. It is hoped that closer interagency cooperation will improve disaster early warning and assist relief efforts in affected areas

A marine climate change adaptation blueprint for coastal regional communities (939)

Stewart Frusher 1 , Sarah Metcalf 2 , Ingrid van Putten 3 , Malcolm Tull 2 , Nadine Marshall 4

  1. Institute for Marine and Antarctic Research, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
  2. School of Management and Governance, Murdoch University, Murdoch , Western Australia, Australia
  3. CSIRO Wealth from Oceans and Climate Adaptation Flagships, CSIRO, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
  4. CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences and Climate Adaptation Flagships, CSIRO, Townsville, Queensland, Australia

A joint FRDC-DCCEE funded project developed a marine climate adaptation blueprint aimed at assisting coastal communities to develop adaptation plans. The project utilised an innovative approach combining qualitative and semi-quantitative methods based on existing demographic data, expert knowledge, and semi-structured interviews.  A boundary organisation (Oceanwatch) was used to ensure that relevant linkages between climate and non-climate pressures were identified and key community and industry participants engaged. The methodology was tested on three case study communities in Tasmania, Queensland, and Western Australia.

Using these case study findings, we developed a web-based blueprint for use by coastal communities to raise awareness of marine climate change and the potential flow on effects into regional coastal communities ( The general and locally specific information on marine climate adaptation as derived from the case studies is used for illustrative and guidance purposes. Using a Sustainable Livelihoods Analysis, an interactive assessment of community vulnerability to climate change allows community members or local governments to assess where their strengths and vulnerabilities may lie. For example, one community may have very high education levels and financial capital but be lacking in the necessary coastal infrastructure to allow the further development of commercial fisheries and aquaculture. This interactive web-based tool provides each community with a first-step indication of where specifically adaptation may be needed to ensure they remain sustainable into the future. The tool also provides a conduit for communities to undertake more detailed adaptation planning.


Decision-making to facilitate habitat movements in Coastal Australia. (1117)

Debbie Chamberlain 1 , Hugh Possingham 1 , Stuart Phinn 1

  1. University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Introduction: The project focuses on the global & regional threats to coastal marine ecosystem services & functions & species’ responses to the interaction of stressors under climate change. The alteration in structural connectivity among estuaries, estuarine wetlands & freshwater habitats will influence the ability of marine-estuarine species to access crucial juvenile habitats. Ontogenetic and trophic shifts are important functions.

Methods: We address the impact of ocean acidification and elevated temperature and the interaction of these parameters on fin fish species from tropical coastal Australia through laboratory experiments that examine phenology and physiology. Finfish species to be examined are Lates calcarifer, Lutjanus argentimaculatus and Plectropomus leopardus. Remote sensing of coastal environments is used to provide quantitative assessments of species and vegetation biomass dynamics and ecosystem functions to inform systematic conservation planning.

Results: The investigation will be developed under a decision theory framework & encompass mechanistic and climate impact modelling & synthesis using spatial prioritization tools, the Marxan and Zonation suites.

Discussion:  Surface ocean acidification measurements of the open ocean and species’ responses differ to those in shallow coastal ecosystems and it’s these ecosystems that have lacked consideration. This project contributes to filling this knowledge gap.