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Investigating the flood risk reduction potential of soft coasts and vegetated shorelines. The FP7 FAST project is zooming in.

Mindert de Vries

Presentation of the FAST project at the INSPIRE Conference 2016, Barcelona 26th-30th September 2016.
http://inspire.ec.europa.eu/events/conferences/inspire_2016/page/oral#session_15

ABSTRACT: The FAST project uses the Deltares expertise and that of its project partners – University of Cadiz, University of Cambridge, GeoEcoMar and the Royal Netherlands Institute of Sea Research – in creating information relevant for engineers and ecologists from Earth observation data sources. FAST uses the Deltares open source software and data infrastructures to create value for end users at the downstream side of the GMES/Copernicus programme, utilising data from Sentinel satellite missions while maintaining compliance with INSPIRE conventions. The low lying delta areas specifically suffer from water-related issues such as erosion of coasts, increased storm activity, changed sediment availability and steadily rising sea levels. For the last century, engineers often preferred hard infrastructure to solve flood safety-related issues; however, due to high demand on space and population growth, and insights in negative effects on ecosystems, solutions are increasingly sought in soft or hybrid engineering that include services provided by nature as part of the solution. As part of this trend, Nature-based flood defence solutions are proposed, discussed, designed and implemented. As part of Nature-based solutions, foreshores are relevant. These are areas bordering both land and water, such as wetlands, reeds and marshes. Foreshores deliver several services, like increasing sedimentation, reducing erosion and attenuating waves that mitigate flood risk. Including foreshores and floodplains in levee design and safety assessments can result in considerable cost reductions for flood risk management. Application requires better knowledge of uncertainty of their performance and their actual status. In the FAST project we gain high-frequency, high-resolution spatial information on the status of foreshores in Europe and beyond. We verify this information with field studies in four different European countries with a variation of vegetation types and wave conditions. The FAST output will be firstly an awareness raising tool informing citizens on the potential contribution of foreshores on any coastline of the world to flood risk reduction. It will use the XBEACH model to calculate the possible flood risk reduction produced by the ecosystem services delivered on the foreshore. FAST is teaming up with the RISC-KIT project to create a high quality, detailed and complete assessment of the flood risk issues related to climate change and sea level rise, providing information toward managers for design or adaptation of flood risk reduction solutions.

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