The reduction of flood risks is one of the main challenges facing European coastal managers. Sea-level rise, changing weather patterns and increasing population density in coastal areas make innovation in coastal management an urgent priority. One innovation is the systematic use of natural features such as vegetated foreshores to protect the coast.
In order to decide which approach to coastal defence is best in any given area, it is important to have a clear picture of the current status of the defences in place. The multidisciplinary EU project FAST (Foreshore Assessment using Space Technology) is collecting data about eight ecosystems in the tidal areas and flood plains of four European countries. The data, which come from the latest European Sentinel satellites and field measurements, are being used to design practical measurement approaches. This allows water managers to use natural coastal defences in their management plans and to improve flood risk management in their areas in the longer term. That is efficient and sustainable, and it also cuts costs.
The second year of the project, which ends in December 2016, will be devoted to the further development of the measurement methods in collaboration with the possible end users. Deltares has developed the first interactive version of the open source final product, the software tool MI-SAFE. The partners - the University of Cambridge (UK), the University of Cadiz (SP), GeoEcoMar (RO) and NIOZ (NL) - collected the data. An Open Earth data management system was deployed to store the information and use it for the initial model calculations with Xbeach. This program calculates the effect of vegetation on incoming waves. Knowledge sessions were organised at the ASLO conference in Spain and the Delft Software Days to disseminate the knowledge.
We believe it is important for us to work closely with end users on the development of the tools that meet their local or regional needs. That also safeguards the long-term commercial application and availability of the FAST services.
The tool seems very relevant. We have been looking more and more at how to use earth observation data for our work. Information that is shareable in an understandable way is important to us, not only at the EU level, but also on the global scale to demonstrate better the important role of ecosystems.
In this project Deltares worked together with the following partners: