How communities can transform coastal risk areas in WA

Climate change and rising sea levels pose a significant threat to coastal amenities around Australia, and the world. It’s now more important than ever to engage communities and stakeholders affected by coastal hazard risks. We believe that effective engagement is key to driving collective action.

But how do we make this happen? Here’s more on our approach.

Empowering stakeholders to act

Encouraging the community and stakeholders to be proactive about coastal risk management comes with its own set of unique challenges. We have found that communities often have diverse opinions about climate change and the urgency to act.

There is also a potential misalignment between public and individual interests relating to coastal zone management. These differences are not surprising; however they do highlight the need for better understanding of coastal adaptation and management.

To achieve this, we have developed a Coastal Hazard Risk Management Adaptation Plan (CHRMAP) workshop, designed to engage stakeholders and foster collective action.

A social responsibility

The fundamental premise of the workshop is: the social responsibility to alert the public to the potential loss of coastal amenities caused by climate change and rising sea levels.

The purpose of this workshop is to:

  • Provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of the social, economic and environmental aspects of CHRMAP.
  • Assess the depth of community knowledge and values related to coastal management.
  • Encourage discussions about adaptation strategies and the long-term commitment required for effective coastal management.

How it works

During the workshops participants are invited to engage in discussions on topics relating to the relevant section of coastline, including:

  • Identifying the values most important to community members in the coastal area.
  • Setting expectations for adaptation and approaches to coastal management.
  • Recognising that coastal management is an ongoing, transformative process.
  • Exploring potential roles and funding for coastal adaptation initiatives.

Despite the complexity of coastal management, efforts will be made to simplify the subject matter and encourage community engagement. We have found that leveraging local practices and customs can help ease participants into discussions and encourage support for sustainable coastal management initiatives.

Guiding principles

These principles are at the heart of CHRMAP workshops:

  • Diverse responses: Solutions do not always require technical expertise and may rely on community-driven initiatives.
  • Community ownership: For effective long-term change, the community needs to understand, accept and own its role as stewards of coastal resilience.
  • Government support: Government agencies need to empower communities to own and lead coastal management efforts.
  • Ongoing effort: CHRMAP is a process designed to shape and motivate community response, it is not an end solution.
  • Monitoring: Ongoing monitoring is essential to assess the effectiveness of coastline management. Citizen science is a powerful and affordable way to do this.

Empowering change

Approaching coastal management as a collaboration with local communities is critical to tackling the impacts of climate change and fostering a resilient coastal environment. The CHRMAP workshop empowers communities to engage with issues relating to coastal hazards and lead the charge towards effective and sustainable change.

Need support with coastal risk management?

We develop coastal management planning solutions for clients across WA. Over the years, we have prepared plans for significant stretches of coastline in WA. Our process often involves community and stakeholder consultation, which drives long-term progress in coastal risk areas.

For more information, please get in touch.

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