Task 5.1 Identify and assess current barriers for measure implementation and develop recommendations to tackle these.
(University of Hull, UK)
Estuaries are globally important zones for urban, recreational and commercial activities as well as supporting a range of habitats and species of significant ecological importance. The role of estuaries is recognised by the legislative framework that has been developed to protect and manage these areas as well as those species and resources in adjoining habitats. However, estuaries worldwide are subject to a number of major threats, including increasing industrialisation and urbanisation, increasing resource scarcity notably for space and energy, and the impacts of climate change, sea-level rise and related increases in vulnerability and decreases in resilience. In addition to local pressures, climate change is now increasingly recognised as having a range of severe impacts on estuarine ecosystem functions and services, but current legislation and associated management may not necessarily be wholly appropriate to deal with these longer-term changes.
Here we consider how the current legislation and management addresses the potential impacts of climate change on a large estuarine system. Alongside a set of recommendations, we emphasise that the implementation of governance instruments needs to be underpinned by continued monitoring, improved modelling and enhanced predictive capabilities and integration and collaboration across management levels.
This publication can be found in Environmental Science & Policy.
Task 5.2 Improving Estuary Governance - Comparison of the governance of the Elbe, Scheldt and Humber regarding estuary management
(Coordinated by Hamburg Port Authority, Germany)
Key messages and recommendations
The motivation for IMMERSE Partner Hamburg Port Authority was to compare governmental and decision making structures and processes of the three estuaries and analyse what valuable lessons can be learned from estuaries with comparable physical, economical and societal characteristics (and hence comparable challenges and tensions between actors and their interests) although if different governance structures and cultures may exist.
Key messages from the report based on comparison of the Scheldt, Elbe and Humber estuaries:
- differences in mutual dependencies between actors and cultural differences affect governance modes;
- effective stakeholder participation is a chicken-egg problem;
- a joint knowledge base promotes conflict resolution and collaboration;
- long-term visions can contribute to the integration of policy issues.
Task 5.4 Execute measure in upper Scheldt to reduce tidal intrusion and increase nature value
(Flemish Waterways, Belgium)
The Flemish Waterways widend an upstream part of the river Scheldt by excavating a side channel, creating nature value and providing more room for water.
The deliverable of this activity is the creation of a side channel in field with monitoring of the effects.
More information about the implementation and photos can be found in the Scheldt StoryMap.
Task 5.5 Influencing institutions and /or current action plans / strategies
(University of Hull, UK)
Since reducing flood risk around the Humber is a whole-estuary issue that cannot be compartmentalised or limited to places where current funding rules favour, the Humber 2100+ strategy aims to adopt a systems approach. A “systems approach” is an estuary-wide approach to integrated management based on the understanding of individual components such as hydro-morphology, physico-chemistry, and ecology, their interactions and how they, and the system, respond to change.
By embedding the systems approach within the Humber 2100+ strategy, it is hoped that long-term flood risk management activities in the estuary will align to a more holistic way of managing the natural environment.
The aim of this task was to identify approaches to encourage multi-stakeholder acceptance of appropriate novel measures within the Humber 2100+ strategy. Within the partnership the University of Hull had an advisory position.