On 20th February 2014 some 40 people gathered in the Lymington Community Centre to hear Colin Scott of ABPmer deliver an appraisal of the progress being made with coastal habitat creation work. He summarised progress and issues in national context (drawing upon feedback from the ABPmer conference held in November 2013 as sponsored by the SPS). He also drew attention to the following key developments in the Solent:
- The Medmerry Realignment – this large-scale project next to Selsey has delivered local flood protection and provided compensation habitat to facilitate other flood defence works in the Solent. It was of huge benefit that it was completed before the recent severe storms because the damage and cost of restoration would have been huge without it. It has responded well to these storms and is proving to be a cost-effective and valuable project already.
- The West Wittering, Lepe and Lymington Regulated Tidal Exchanges – these projects highlight the range of techniques that have been used for providing a controlled introduction of tidal waters onto hinterland habitats and, thus, allowing for longer-term adaptations to coastal change and sea level rise.
- The Lymington Saltmarsh Recharges – two new projects by the Lymington Harbour Commission and Wightlink Ltd have been undertaken to delay the erosion of saltmarshes locally. These are mitigation for possible development impacts. Colin considered that they had performed very well and had been successful in achieving their goals. He pointed out that they are actually relatively small in scale (i.e. volumes of sediment used) compared to comparable projects in Essex. He expressed the hope that more, larger-scale projects would be attempted to protect marshes in the Solent in the future and recommended that long-term strategies for such work are developed.
To view Colin’s presentation slides click here.
A video showing the progress of the Whitelink marsh creation project can be seen below. It shows a time lapse of the build up of the marsh, quite against the trend of the area.
(A talk by Geoff Holmes from Lymington Harbour Commissioners given to stakeholders earlier in the year adds an interesting perspective on the importance of Habitat Creation. It can be viewed by clicking here)