Coastal zones are under severe pressure from anthropogenic activities, as well as on-going climate change with associated sea level rise and increased storminess. These challenges call for integrated and forward looking solutions. The concept on Integrated Coastal Zone Management, as defined during the last twenty years, provides the overall policy frames, but tools to support the planning and management efforts are almost lacking. Furthermore, the forward-looking dimension to embrace the effects of climate change is nearly absent in most implementations. The BLAST project, financed by the European Union Regional Fund through the INTERREG IV North Sea Region Programme, aimed at developing a web-based decision support system to assist Integrated Coastal Zone Management from a climate change perspective, and the current paper describes the methods used and the computing platform for implementing a decision support system. The software applied in developing the system is mainly Open Source components, thus, facilitating a more widespread use of the system.
Tools and Data
The wave energy resource is usually characterized by a significant variability throughout the year. In estimating the power performance of a Wave Energy Converter (WEC) it is fundamental to take into account this variability; indeed, an estimate based on mean annual values may well result in a wrong decision making. In this work, a novel decision-aid tool, iWEDGE (intra-annual Wave Energy Diagram GEnerator) is developed and implemented to a coastal region of interest, the Death Coast (Spain), one of the regions in Europe with the largest wave resource. Following a comprehensive procedure, and based on deep water wave data and high-resolution numerical modelling, this tool provides the monthly high-resolution characterization matrices (or energy diagrams) for any location of interest. In other words, the information required for the accurate computation of the intra-annual performance of any WEC at any location within the region covered is made available. Finally, an application of iWEDGE to the site of a proposed wave farm is presented. The results obtained highlight the importance of the decision-aid tool herein provided for wave energy exploitation.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are proposed to help conserve marine biodiversity and ecological integrity. There is much guidance on the optimal design of MPAs but once potential MPAs are identified there is little guidance on defining the final no-take boundaries. This is especially problematic in temperate zones where ecological boundaries are “fuzzy”, which can be quite complicated during a consultation process involving the government and divergent stakeholder groups. More decision-support tools are needed to help stakeholders and government agencies objectively compare conservation and socio-economic trade-offs among proposed boundary options. To that end, we developed a method to identify which boundary minimizes spatial overlap of highly vulnerable species and a dominant stressor. We used the recently proposed boundary options of a candidate MPA in Atlantic Canada to illustrate our method. We evaluated the vulnerability of 23 key species to bottom trawling, the most prevalent stressor in the area. We then compared the spatial overlap of the most vulnerable species and the 2002–2011 footprint of bottom trawling among boundary options. The best boundary option was identified as that which minimized spatial overlap and total area. This approach identifies boundary options which provide the greatest protection of vulnerable species from their most significant stressor, at limited socio-economic cost. It is an objective decision-support tool to help stakeholders agree on final boundaries for MPAs.
Interactive sea level rise viewers (ISLRVs) are map-based visualization tools that display projections of sea level rise scenarios to communicate their impacts on coastal areas. Information visualization research suggests that as users interact with such tools they construct personalized narratives of their experience. We argue that attention to narrative-building features in ISLRVs can improve communication effectiveness by promoting user engagement and discovery. A content analysis that focuses on the presence and characteristics of narrative-building features in a purposive sample of 20 ISLRVs is conducted. We also identify particular areas where these ISLRVs could be improved as narrative-building tools.
Recent evolutions in computing science and web technology provide the environmental community with continuously expanding resources for data collection and analysis that pose unprecedented challenges to the design of analysis methods, workflows, and interaction with data sets. In the light of the recent UK Research Council funded Environmental Virtual Observatory pilot project, this paper gives an overview of currently available implementations related to web-based technologies for processing large and heterogeneous datasets and discuss their relevance within the context of environmental data processing, simulation and prediction. We found that, the processing of the simple datasets used in the pilot proved to be relatively straightforward using a combination of R, RPy2, PyWPS and PostgreSQL. However, the use of NoSQL databases and more versatile frameworks such as OGC standard based implementations may provide a wider and more flexible set of features that particularly facilitate working with larger volumes and more heterogeneous data sources.
The heart of this Guide is the Matrix of 100 tools, divided into user categories (general public, resource manager, and technical expert) and subject areas. So whether you are a community planner who wants to see the potential cost/benefits of building a sea wall or a forest scientist who wants to work on species connectivity for many species simultaneously, you can quickly look up which tools might be appropriate for you.
All 100 tools are described in detail following the Matrix.
Things to note:
- We use a broad definition of tools, including anything that facilitated: 1) gathering and distributing relevant data (e.g. regional databases that support queries and downloads); 2) conducting analyses and modeling (e.g. vulnerability assessments); 3) visualizing data and analysis/modeling results (including current and potential future conditions); and, 4) integrating information into planning for conservation, land use, and land management.
- We place an emphasis on tools currently in use within the region.
- We do not include products that were simply guidelines, frameworks, or processes (but the Appendix does include some that seemed especially useful; for example, see TESSA).
- We mostly avoid tools that were geared to one state or province and those that could not be readily utilized throughout the region.
- We do not include tools that are more accurately described as services—in other words, those that required extensive and expensive—personalized set-up or customization.
- We avoid tools that were no longer maintained as well as most tools still under development. Because tools often become obsolete and new ones frequently emerge, this guide should be updated periodically.
The Background section of this guide lists the Necessary and Desired Attributes of the tools included in the Matrix.
We have selected 11 tools from the Matrix that we describe as a “toolkit” that can support many of the NPLCC’s needs. Each of these tools also had widespread interest among NPLCC partners and/or applicability to multiple functions in the Matrix. This guide takes an in-depth look at these 11 Featured Tools, covering what they do best, how they work, their data requirements, key outputs, computer and software requirements, training requirements, and costs. A “snapshot” of each featured tool gives a brief description, examples of use, and an “at-a-glance” table that shows the tools in a matrix format.
We chose four tools to explore further via Case Studies. These are here to provide a more nuanced look at how tools have actually been applied, especially where the application experience yielded important Lessons Learned and Helpful Hints. The case studies from the region will also promote national and international awareness of NPLCC work on landscape-level conservation in the face of climate change.
Finally, the Appendix lists other potentially useful resources that did not qualify as one of our “Matrix tools” but that may assist you with your work—for example, by helping you use the tools more effectively.
Marine spatial management is an important step in regulating the sustainable use of marine resources and preserving habitats and species. The systematic conservation planning software “Marxan” was used to analyse the effect of different conservation objectives and targets on the design of a network of marine protected areas around two islands of the Azores archipelago, Northeast Atlantic. The analyses integrated spatial patterns of the abundance and reproductive potential of multispecies, the vulnerability of fish to fishing, habitat type, algae biotopes, and socio-economic costs and benefits (including fishing effort and recreational activities). Three scenarios focused on fisheries-related objectives (“fisheries scenarios”, FSs) and three on multiple-use and biodiversity conservation objectives (“biodiversity scenarios”, BSs), respectively. Three different protection targets were compared for each set, the existing, minimum, and maximum levels of protection, whereas conservation features were weighted according to their biologically/ecologically functioning. Results provided contrasting solutions for site selection and identified potential gaps in the existing design. The influence of the conservation objective on site selection was most evident when minimum target levels were applied. Otherwise, solutions for FSs and BSs were very similar and mostly shaped by the protection level. More important, BSs that considered opportunity cost and benefits achieved conservation targets more cost-efficiently. The presented systematic approach ensures that targets for habitats with high fish abundance, fecundity, and vulnerability are achieved efficiently. It should be of high applicability for adaptive management processes to improve the effectiveness of existing spatial management practices, in particular when fishing and leisure activities coexist, and suggest that decision-makers should account for multiple users’ costs and benefits when designing and implementing marine reserve networks.
Table of Contents
- From the Director
- Resilience: One Louisiana Community’s Comeback from a Two-Hurricane Punch
- Massachusetts Ocean Plan Gets High Marks Following First Approved Project
- West Maui Initiative Connects the Dots between Everyday Actions and Coral Reef Health
- Smart Devices are Helping Create Estuarine-Smart Kids in Florida
- Online Atlas Documents Coastal Land Cover Changes over Time
- End Note
A model is developed to calculate and spatially allocate ship engine exhaust emissions in ports and extensive coastal waters using terrestrial Automatic Identification System data for ship movements and operating modes. The model is applied to the Australian region. The large geographical extent and number of included ports and vessels, and anomalies in the AIS data are challenging. Particular attention is paid to filtering of the movement data to remove anomalies and assign correct operating modes. Data gaps are filled by interpolation and extrapolation. Emissions and fuel consumption are calculated for each individual vessel at frequent intervals and categorised by ship type, ship size, operating mode and machinery type. Comparisons of calculated port emissions with conventional inventories and ship visit data are favourable. Estimations of ship emissions from regions within a 300 km radius of major capital cities suggest that a non-negligible percentage of air pollutants may come from ships.