Saturday, 7 June 2008

exam summary

The coastal zone plays a major role in our everyday lives, whether situated on the coastline itself or in the heart of the busiest cities, evidence of the coastal zone can be seen everyday. From aggregates used to make buildings to the fish purchased in supermarkets, the coastal zone provides a large proportion of the things we see around us.
Unfortunately, the coastal zone we have come to rely on is under threat, some of these threats being natural and others being generated by man, these threats can be seen below
· Fishing practices (dredging and trawling damages the seabed)
· Over fishing (leading to the diminishing levels of fish in the ocean)
· Ocean acidification
· Coastal land reclamation
· Shipping industry (oil spills and invasive species etc)
· Aggregate dredging (affects currents and coastal erosion)
· Offshore resource development (oil and gas)
· Aquaculture (spreads disease and destroy coastlines)
· Tourism industry (leads to litter etc)
· Climate change (increased storms etc)
· Sea level rise (increased erosion and change in coastal topography)

There are many governmental, scientific and public organisations which are involved in the management of these pressures and threats, a few examples of these can be seen below
· Governmental organisations (DEFRA)
· Non governmental organisations (National trust, Cornwall wildlife trust)
· Stakeholders
· Scientific companies
· Multi national organisations (UN, IPCC)
· Environmental groups
· The fishing industry
· The tourism industry
· The public

In many cases the management of an issue can be achieved in many ways, the Devon maritime forum aims to provide an overview of coastal issues in Devon and hopes to form greater understanding amongst authorities and agencies involved in the planning and management of the coastal zone, the forum covers a lot of factors concerning the coastal zone however one area of particular area of interest is the problems concerning Lyme bay. Lyme bay contains protected species of sea pink fan, this is under threat from the scallop dredging which is also taking place in the area, the area clearly needs management, the successful implementation of this can be done in a variety of ways
· Create coastal user groups
· Obtain sufficient NGO support for the area
· Create a grass roots system of management
· Involve the community for participation and support
· Build a good scientific base of knowledge about impacts etc
· Conservation zones
· Improve awareness and understanding in the area

Monday, 12 May 2008

Introduction to CZM

Coastal zone management is emerging as the hot topic in today's environmental news, threats of climate change and species endangerment have called upon CZM for answers. This blog contains a brief summary of some of the important case studies, topics and legislations regarding coastal zone management, as well as giving me the opportunity to expand my knowledge about current news and events regarding CZM I hope that it will provide others with a baseline of knowledge surrounding the covered topics.

BAP’s: A brief summary

A Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) is an internationally recognized program which addresses threatened species and habitats and is designed to protect and restore biological systems

The convention of Biological diversity was signed In June 1992by 159 governments at the Earth Summit, which took place in Rio de Janeiro (it is also known as the Rio Convention.). This entered into force on 29 December 1993 and it was the first treaty to provide a legal framework for biodiversity conservation, It called for the creation and enforcement of national strategies and action plans to conserve, protect and enhance biological diversity.

In 1993, following on from the Rio convention, the UK government consulted over three hundred organisations throughout the UK and held a two day seminar to debate the key issues raised at the Convention. The product of this was the launch of Biodiversity: the UK action plan in 1994 which outlined the UK Biodiversity Action Plan for dealing with biodiversity conservation in response to the Rio Convention.

The principal elements of a BAP typically include:

1)Preparing inventories of biological information for selected species or habitats.

2)Assessing the Conservation status of species within specified ecosystems

3)A creation of targets for conservation and restoration

4)Establishing budgets, timelines and institutional partnerships for implementing the BAP.

The United Kingdom biodiversity action plan covers not only Terrestrial species associated with lands within the UK, but also marine species and Migratory birds, which spend a limited time in the UK or its offshore waters. The UK plan encompasses 391 Species Action Plans, 45 Habitat Action Plans and 162 Local Biodiversity Action Plans with targeted actions.

For more information about BAP’s click here

Mullion harbour shoreline management plan

The National Trust acquired Mullion in 1945 principally through a gift from Mr A Meyer. In addition to the harbour itself, the Trust also cares for other buildings within the vicinity of the harbour. The harbour still supports a small fishing community, with a few boats landing mainly crabs, lobster and crawfish. It is now for recreation and quiet enjoyment that most people visit the cove.

Global warming and sea level rise are affecting coastal areas throughout Britain, leaving existing sea defences struggling to provide the same level of protection as in the past. Predictions are that these pressures will continue to increase. Recognising this threat, the Trust commissioned the Mullion Harbour Study in 2004 to identify future options for the long-term management of the harbour. The study looked into the structure of the harbour walls, and assessed the cultural and economic impact of the harbour on the surrounding community. The Trust hopes that the study will assist other harbour owners, as climate change and sea level rise are not faced by the Trust alone.

The Mullion Harbour Study identified a number of possible options for future management:

1. Installation of an offshore breakwater

2. Maintain and repair

3. Managed retreat

Option 1 was rejected as impractical, expensive and environmentally damaging. It was recommended that the Trust adopt a strategy, which combined the other two options. This will allow residents and visitors to enjoy the harbour for as long as possible, but recognises that, at an unpredictable date in the near or distant future, the cove will revert back to its original state of an undeveloped bay.

After Easter 2006, a programme of works costing over £150,000 started to repair the harbour from winter damage and the Trust still continue a structured inspection and maintenance programme, at an estimated cost of at least £5,000 each year however, Once maintenance and repair is no longer deemed viable, the managed retreat phase will begin. In this phase, regular maintenance of the breakwaters will cease and the Trust will systematically remove the breakwaters whilst consolidating the inner harbour walls.

To view the full National Trust Mullion harbour study (2004) click here

The Marine Bill: A change in the right direction or just another consultation

The draft Marine Bill published sets out radical plans for a new network of marine conservation zones around Britain’s coast. The aim of the marine bill hopes that the nature reserves around the UK will have clear conservation objectives, to protect habitats and species of national importance, ensuring that some types of fishing, dredging or other forms of development do not damage them.

The draft bill also includes new systems for managing and protecting our coastal and marine waters through:

  • A new UK-wide marine planning system, which will enable us to set a clear direction for how we are going to manage our seas and make the best use of marine resources;
  • Simpler licensing of marine developments, for example, offshore wind farms; and
  • Improved management of marine and inland fisheries.

Under the proposed marine bill, a new Marine Management Organisation, a centre of marine excellence, will be created to regulate development and activity at sea and enforce environmental protection laws. The draft will also allow migratory and freshwater fisheries to benefit from modernised and more flexible powers. These will give the Environment Agency the tools to better manage fisheries for the benefit of anglers and commercial fishers. However, The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is extremely disappointed that the Queen’s Speech in 2007 only included a commitment to produce a draft Marine Bill, not a full Marine Bill. Melissa Moore, a MCS Senior Policy Officer said “A draft Marine Bill will amount to little more than another consultation, and we have already had two. The Government needs to speed up this process if it is to meet its manifesto commitment for a Marine Act before the next election.” A Marine Bill is urgently needed to deliver a marine planning system that will enable sustainable development of industries such as marine renewables and the designation of Marine Protected Areas. At present less than 0.001 per cent of our seabed is fully protected and there is currently no legislation to govern their protection

For more information on the current Marine Bill campaign click here

LEAP's: We can do anything if we all work together!!

Local environmental action plans (LEAP’s) help to solve environmental issues at a local level in Europe. LEAP’s involve developing a community vision, assessing environmental issues, setting priorities, and identifying the most appropriate strategies for addressing the top problems and implementing actions that achieve real environmental improvements. LEAP’s rely upon meaningful public input for local governmental decision making and provide a forum for bringing together a diverse group of individuals with different interests, values and perspectives. LEAP’s include the following goals:

1) To improve environmental conditions in the community by implementing concrete, cost-effective action strategies.

2) To promote public awareness and responsibility for environmental issues, and to increase public support for action strategies and investments.

3) To strengthen the capacity of both local government and NGOs to manage and implement environmental programs, including their ability to obtain financing from national and international institutions and sponsors.

4) To promote partnerships between citizens, local government officials, NGO representatives, scientists, and business people, and to learn to work together in solving community problems.

5) To identify, assess, and set environmental priorities for action based on community values and scientific data.

6) To produce a LEAP that identifies specific actions for solving problems and promoting the vision of the community.

7) To fulfill national regulatory requirements to prepare EAP’s, as required by national governments in some EU countries. Over the last several years, LEAP’s have been implemented in several EU countries

For case studies and more information about LEAP’s click here

SAC’s and SSSI’s for habitat protection: A Brief summary

Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) are strictly protected sites designated under the EC Habitats Directive. The Directive requires the establishment of a European network of important conservation sites that make a significant contribution to conserving the 189 habitat types and 788 species identified in Annexes 1 and 2 of the Directive. The listed habitat types and species are those which are considered to be most in need of conservation at a larger European level. The UK network of SAC’s is made up of 614 sites covering a total area of over 2,630,000 ha. SAC’s complement Special protection areas and together form a network of protected sites across the EU called “Natura 2000”.

Compared with other designations SAC’s tend to be large, often covering a number of separate but related sites, and sometimes including areas of developed land and unlike many other designations, SAC’s can stretch beyond the low tide mark into the marine environment. In fact, some are almost all completely found within the marine environment.

Sites of special scientific interest (SSSI) were generated under the wildlife and countryside act 1981 which states that the government has a duty to notify as an SSSI any land which in its opinion is of special interest by reason of any of its flora, fauna, geological or physiographical features it may have. SSSI’s in the UK are designated by Natural England however, the SSSI is not necessarily owned by a conservation organisation or by the Government, they can be owned by anybody. The designation is primarily to identify those areas worthy of preservation. The recent Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 has strengthened the law and given greater power to the designating body of a SSSI to enter into management agreements, refuse consent for damaging operations and to take action where damage is being caused through neglect or inappropriate management. Local Authorities and other public institutions now also have a statutory duty to further the conservation and enhancement of SSSI’s.

For a summary of SAC designation and selection click here

For a list of SAC’s in the UK click here

For more information on SSSI’s click here