Coastal management involves controlling development and change, and undertaking works in the coastal zone.
Good management involves taking into account both physical and environmental considerations, as well as the views of local residents and others involved. There are two different types of coastal engineering, the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ strategies. Hard engineering includes man made defences such as sea walls, a costly wall place on the seaward side away from the base of the cliffs needing an additional advanced line of protection such as rocks on their seaward side. Groynes, timber posts and boards which run out to the sea at right angles to trap sediment drifting along the coast. Gabions, cages enclosing shingle or small blocks of rocks, and revetments, defences that are aligned parallel to the shore including post, pillars or walls of rocks placed on the foreshore. Soft engineering includes planting trees and grasses in and around the beach, encouraging sand nourishment by adding more sand, and then most drastically, a managed retreat which involves moving homes and farmland.Physical influences such as the type of wave and fetch can determine the type of management used.
For instance, if an area with a high, destructive wave count was not to receive a management scheme, and planners decide to retreat from the area, then this hypothetical area could soon be eroded back to an area that is no longer worth protecting. Furthermore, the sediment build-up and sea floor surrounding the area will have a large influence on the have energy, and as a result will be investigated before construction of a particular form of engineering can take place.Some coastlines that would attract lots of human management are those that are areas of large settlements. When people live in a coastal area they do not want to have to move their homes and will endeavour to manage the coastline to protect their land as much as possible.
This can have a terrible affect on coastlines further down the coast as the flooding will be moved them.Areas of natural beauty such as the sand dunes in Britain and coral reefs off more tropical coasts will also have an affect on the management, if any, is used. Local government do not want to see areas such as those aforementioned to become destroyed and as a result may focus management schemes on these areas. However planners may decide to limit the amount of hard engineering used in on coral reefs and the like as this may cause the area to become unattractive, and then the main issue of protecting the landscape will be undone by mismanagement.
There may also be ecological reasons for some areas to warrant more management than other parts of the coast. For example, areas with a high proportion of habitats or areas with endangered species will incur more management than places with few habitats.Events such as the North Sea storm surge of January and February 1953, which were expected to occur only once in 100 years, might become a 50 year, 20 year, or even 10 year event due to global warming and the melting of the ice caps. This prompted the building of the Thames Barrier, as the protection for London needed to be greatly improved. Completed in 1982, it allows for the controlling of water throughoutthe Thames River and the gates are raised to form a barrier across the river during flood and storm alerts. This is one case where management was needed to protect the people and property of London.
If this were not constructed, areas such as Lambeth, Newham, Southwark and Westminster would be under regular threat of flooding. Future danger to people, property and land does not come only from direct seaflooding. The formation of tsunamis after earthquakes is due to tectonics. Areas at risk from strong earthquake shocks are well known such as Japan, which experienced a great tragedy when a tsunami hit in 1993, but earthquake events are impossible to predict.