Authors: David Rissik
The Australian coastal area is home to many wetlands, including freshwater, brackish and saline water systems. The coast is also the place where most Australians live, work and play. This has resulted in many of these wetlands becoming modified or degraded. Climate change is a direct threat to wetlands and also modifies and exacerbates other existing threats.
To support effective climate change adaptation planning on the coast, the Australian Government provided funding to the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) to develop CoastAdapt. NCCARF made a significant effort to design a website together with users to ensure that CoastAdapt is intuitive to use and is pitched at the right level for a range of users. CoastAdapt contains:
- A complete and comprehensive decision support framework designed to support adaptation planning and decision-making about all climate change related risks on the Australian coast. This is called Coastal Climate Adaptation Decision Support or C-CADS.
- A set of ten Information Manuals that provide the technical underpinning for CoastAdapt. The Manuals cover in detail ten topics important for adaptation, ranging from engineering options through to community engagement.
- Infographics to convey key adaptation topics in visually engaging and appealing formats.
- An ever-increasing number of case studies, illustrating the actions being taken to respond to climate change and sea-level rise in Australia and overseas.
- Impact sheets that describe the impacts of climate change for a wide range of sectors.
- Templates and checklists to support risk assessment and management, and adaptation planning and implementation. For example, coastal managers frequently hire-in project support, and CoastAdapt contains information and checklists for working with consultants.
- Data about the present and future condition of the Australian coast and its climate, including sea-level rise projections, inundation maps and information about the erodibility of the coast.
Some important aspects of CoastAdapt for wetland managers, include guidance on impacts to freshwater ecosystems on the coast, information on climate change and coastal groundwater, several relevant case studies and a host of other information. Importantly, the guidance on Adaptation Risk Management and Planning accords with global best practice and will help wetland managers to address the principles identified in Finlayson et al. (2017).
Climate change will continue to affect our coasts and their natural assets into the future. By following the guidance in CoastAdapt, we will be able to plan and trial adaptation approaches, learn from their outcomes, and help to ensure the long-term viability of these important systems.
CoastAdapt home page
Finlayson, C M, Capon, S J, Rissik, D, Pittock, J, Fisk, G, Davidson, N C and Bino, G (2017). Policy considerations for managing wetlands under a changing climate. Marine and Freshwater Research, 68(10), 1803-1815.