Thursday 26 November 2020

Beach dynamics and recreational access change
Link to report

The report responds to a request from Marlborough District Council (MDC) for information on the coastal environment, with a particular focus on supporting the development of a bylaw to address changes in recreational use patterns that have occurred since the Kaikōura earthquakeWe present a selection of information from our earthquake recovery research that has a focus on understanding the impacts and ongoing processes of change. 

Major impacts of the natural disaster are associated with vertical uplift of the coastal environment, although ongoing erosion and deposition processes are also important. Interactions with human activities are also important because they can exert strong influences on the reassembly of ecosystems which is a critical aspect of outcomes over the longer-term. 

Earthquake uplift caused widespread mortality of many coastal habitats and species (e.g., algal assemblages) that are adapted to a relatively specific set of conditions, often associated with characteristic locations in relation to the tidal range. In uplifted areas the intertidal zone has moved seaward leading to a physical widening of many beaches. This has provided greater opportunity for off-road vehicle access to the coast and has become particularly noticeable at headlands and other natural barriers that were previously impassable at high tide. Off-road vehicles pose threats to sensitive vegetation and wildlife unless appropriately managed. Achieving this is assisted by an understanding of the specific impacts of vehicle use, which in turn requires information on the location of sensitive areas. 

To ensure the best outcomes for earthquake recovery there is an urgent need to assess and respond to the new spatial patterns, and to make plans to avoid conflicts where possible.

Thursday 15 October 2020

Marlborough beaches recreational survey

Marlborough beach survey

As part of our RECOVER earthquake recovery research the Marine Ecology Research Group has established an online survey to assist the Marlborough community in recording and understanding the level and types of recreational beach uses that are occurring at present on the earthquake-affected coast

We are hoping to capture a comprehensive view of recreational activities and interests. This information will be beneficial to the wider community to support decision-making on earthquake recovery needs and potential strategies for achieving the best outcomes looking ahead. The survey is open to all interested people who are 18+ years of age (for informed consent reasons) and have information they would like to share.

The survey questions are open-ended and allow for any activity, view or perspective to be recorded. Privacy will be maintained at all times and no identifying information is asked for or collected. UC will be preparing summaries of the results and these will be made freely accessible via an online link.

Please access the Marlborough survey on the following link

Wednesday 19 August 2020

Risk factors for coastal conservation revealed by the Canterbury earthquakes

We're pleased to announce publication of the companion paper to ‘Coastal tectonics and habitat squeeze’ in the international journal Science of the Total Environment.

This paper investigates the resilience of coastal vegetation to the effects of relative sea-level change which is the subject of very few empirical studies due to the scarcity of sea-level change events of appreciable magnitude in modern times. The novel opportunity provided by the Canterbury earthquakes allowed us to design a robust impact assessment to quantify effects and identify anthropogenic factors that influenced the pattern of losses or gains. 

The findings illustrate opportunities for managing risks to coastal vegetation types such as saltmarsh which are threatened by sea-level rise. 

The conservation of these characteristic ecosystems is of global importance for the sequestration and storage of blue carbon alongside many other ecosystem services that include considerable habitat values for characteristic wildlife such as waders and shorebirds in the Christchurch case.

In summarising results from the study we derived four key principles for building the resilience of coastal ecosystems that will be of interest to coastal managers worldwide.

Monday 13 July 2020

Coastal tectonics and habitat squeeze

We're pleased to announce publication of a new paper in the international journal Natural Hazards.
This is the first chapter in the 'Resilient Shorelines' Ph.D.

The Canterbury earthquakes provided a rare opportunity to observe the actual effects of a sea-level rise event. This study explores the impacts of hydrological changes resulting from tectonic ground movement in low-lying coastal environments, and draws analogies with future climate change.

The paper describes landscape-scale changes and assess interactions with human land-use patterns and disaster recovery responses that include a large scale managed retreat. The results illustrate mechanisms by which 'coastal squeeze' effects may occur with sea-level rise - and also ways to avoid them through innovative planning and design.  

Principles identifiable from the actual impacts in this case provide useful insights for other situations of sea-level rise.

We highlight the need for an improved focus on whole-system resilience in responding to sea-level changes, and the importance of disaster recovery processes for adaptation to climate change.

Friday 26 June 2020

Recover newsletter issue 5 on Kaikōura coastal recovery

#RECOVER Issue 5 features lab work on seaweed responses to stressors and drone survey work to
quantify earthquake impacts and recovery along 130 km of coastline in the intertidal zone

Available online here

Saturday 6 June 2020

International interest in drone surveys

It was great too see a recent article Barbara Barkhausen in a German magazine focussing on New Zealand's environment and appeal as a tourism destination.

Read the online version here:

See more aerial images on our Feacebook page here

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