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Case studies

CoastAdapt provides a compendium of case studies from Australia and abroad to illustrate what coastal practitioners and decision makers are doing to adapt to a changing climate. They describe real-world adaptation planning and actions and provide insights into lessons learned, effective strategies and potential pitfalls. Case studies in CoastAdapt are organised under 13 categories to help you find something to match your interests. There are brief snapshots, longer full case studies and engaging videos.

Real-life test cases of CoastAdapt performance

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A small coastal town in South Australia is undertaking a more planned and integrated approach to coastal adaptation, using CoastAdapt resources to identify existing and potential coastal hazards and their possible impacts with a focus on tourism

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Resources from CoastAdapt were used to run a workshop on the Far South Coast of New South Wales to educate oyster farmers about climate change impacts and options to plan for these impacts

PDF icon pdf   693.02 KB
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Warrnambool City Council undertook a procurement process for coastal assessment services to support decision-makers who may need to take into account climate change and sea-level rise in their planning decision using

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Three Aboriginal Shire Councils in Far North Queensland, Hope Vale, Wujal Wujal and Yarrabah, explore options for building capacity to adapt to sea-level rise and climate change using traditional management practices and modern tools like CoastAdapt

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North Queensland Airports has undertaken an internal risk screening and risk assessment process using the mapping tools and guidelines published in CoastAdapt to better understand current and future climate risks to both Cairns and Mackay airports

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Cairns Council undertook a test case project using CoastAdapt resources to learn more about how climate change may be expected to influence the risk of Ross River virus and to improve virus management

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Noosa Council used CoastAdapt to identify existing knowledge gaps, determine funding allocation, and look at how, when and what conversations are needed with internal stakeholders, the community and topic experts

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Peron Naturaliste Partnership in Western Australia uses CoastAdapt’s guidance on community engagement and C-CADS to build community support at the various stages of adaptation planning

PDF icon pdf   657.83 KB
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An insurance undertook a test case project where ‘case study’ properties were analysed in terms of the climate risks associated with them, using mapping and guidance documentation from CoastAdapt and other sources

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Tassal used CoastAdapt to achieve a better understanding of coastal hazards and improved awareness of climate change-related issues. In making small changes now, Tassal will be better placed to withstand future climate change

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The City of Marion used CoastAdapt to conduct a second-pass risk assessment, building on the foundation of previous work to identify broad risks to assets and local sites

PDF icon pdf   1.48 MB

Assessing value

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A case study of potential climate change impacts on the values of the South Alligator River catchment in Kakadu National Park. An assessment of the risk of saltwater intrusion and extreme rainfall events on low-lying coastal wetlands will help guide future management and policy responses

PDF icon pdf   1.24 MB
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The Sydney Coastal Councils Group (SCCG) undertook a project to provide guidance to decision-makers on assessing adaptation options through a multi-criteria analysis (MCA) of interventions that considered local government’s adaptation preferences and risk exposure

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Community engagement

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The Eastern Alliance for Greenhouse Action (EAGA) developed and trialed a framework for monitoring biodiversity and habitat health in the context of a changing climate

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The City of Joondalup is a local government area in Perth, Western Australia, that undertook a comprehensive communication campaign to inform the community of the outcomes of the City’s coastal hazard assessment

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The snapshot provides an example of a Council that has been preparing for the potential impacts of climate change with community engagement central to its approach. Through a series of community ‘conversations’ the Council shared information and built a platform for community concerns

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The Northern Beaches All Hazards Historic Photograph Exhibition and Workshops is an initiative of the Northern Beaches council in collaboration with other state agencies aimed to raise awareness of the impacts of natural hazards and build community resilience

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The Witness King Tides project encourages people to photograph their local shoreline during the highest tide of the year to illustrate the vulnerability of coastal areas under sea-level rise

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This case study recounts the development, execution and findings from a Citizens’ Panel conducted in the City of Sydney whereby citizens provided feedback to the City on the development of Sydney’s Climate Change Adaptation Strategy

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Data and information provision

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This snapshot explains how coastal imaging provides accurate, near-real-time measurements of coastal features and processes that could help coastal managers to take more informed decisions for the future

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Community concerns about coastal erosion led the Northern Agricultural Catchment Council, and NRM organisation in Gerladton, to initiate a community photo monitoring program to assist in coastal adaptation planning

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This snapshot describes a Regional Climate Modelling Project that developed detailed climate projections for south-eastern Australia to support adaptation planning in the NSW and ACT governments, as well as local councils, businesses, and community groups.

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The Climate Change in Australia website is the most comprehensive site for climate projections information ever developed for Australia. It provides data, information and guidance about Australia’s future climate under a range of different scenarios.

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Townsville City Council has gathered and developed data sets in undertaking their Coastal Hazard Assessment Strategy to help prioritise action, resourcing and timing for adaptation

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A study of caravan parks on Crown Land in Victoria shows how adaptation decision-making can take into account social and economic considerations

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Extreme events

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This snapshot highlights the importance of a sense of community and small grants when recovering from an extreme event, based on the floods that affected a retail centre in Brisbane during the 2011 floods

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Recovery following severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi was rapid and efficient with numerous examples of community and local government leadership in disaster resilience

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Peak flood levels from flooding in 2008 are now being used by the Mackay council in the calibration of flood studies to ensure that there are no surprises if similar rainfall events occur in the future

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The demonstrated preparedness for and resilience to cyclone Monica by remote township and outstations of Maningrida, on the coast of central Arnhem Land, provides a good indication of the community's adaptive capacity

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The District Council of Mallala and the community are working in the development and implementation of an emergency management plan for Middle Beach, a small town of South Australia located in a low-lying area that becomes inaccessible during flood events

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Gaps in disaster preparedness and a community’s poor awareness of risk posed by a significant east coast low storm provided significant lessons for adapting to future risks

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A case study of a tropical fruit orchard affected by cyclone Marcia in 2016 provides an example of how management strategies can help prepare farms and secure on-farm infrastructure

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This video summarises the innovative practices implemented by a farmer from the Tweed valley in order to adapt to a changing climate

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Government action

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The snapshot provides an example of an initiative between the UK Government and the insurance industry, with the goal of enabling insurers to provide flood-prone households across the UK with affordable insurance cover

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A US initiative set up in the 1960s to provide government-subsidised flood insurance to businesses and residences that adopt and enforce floodplain management strategies

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The project in the UK explored strategies to address coastal erosion issues in the community of Happisburgh— including decaying coastal defence structures and vulnerable residential housing— and to test adaptation options including a rollback scheme

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A description of the UK Government initiative set as a response to the threat of coastal retreat in the east of England. The aim was to allow local councils to explore new and innovative approaches to planning for and managing coastal change

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Identifying and testing adaptation approaches

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Surf Life Saving Australia has initiated a process to cope with climate change conditions at the local and national level, identifying adaptation options and key factors to increase the organisation’s adaptive capacity and resilience

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Sydney’s high-profile, large-scale, urban renewal project, Barangaroo, is being redeveloped with a strong focus on climate adaptation, providing an exemplar of how a largescale project can prepare for and adapt to a changing climate

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An analysis of submissions during the preparation of the Australian Government’s Productivity Commission 2012 report “Barriers to Effective Adaptation” reveals barriers to adaptation as seen from the perspective of decision-makers

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An overview of the Byron Shire Council provisions and the results of an audit of development at Belongil Beach in Byron Bay provide insights for practitioners considering planning controls as a tool for adapting to climate change.

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Kingborough Council in Tasmania is using geotextile sandbags to provide Coningham Beach with temporary protection from coastal erosion while a longer-term coastal strategy is developed

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A form of planned retreat being successfully used in several locations in the United Kingdom, known as ‘managed realignment’, allows coastal zones to retain their natural ecosystems and associated ecosystem services while also providing certainty to local human settlements

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This snapshot describes the strategy of beach scraping used at New Brighton Beach in the Byron Shire in northern New South Wales, where the coastline is already subject to long-term shoreline recession and sea-level rise impacts

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Indigenous

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This case study examines the process led by the Torres Strait Regional Authority, in partnership with state agencies, the Torres Strait Island Regional Council and researchers to examine coastal risks and develop adaptation responses

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A case study of a remote Indigenous community in coastal northern Australia that expressed their concern on climate impacts and their interest on sharing knowledge and preferences to guide future adaptation and decision-making

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The case studies presented here provide a collection of several initiatives undertaken by Australian Indigenous peoples settled in coastal areas, in their efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change

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Infrastructure

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An example of an online tool that uses a range of climate change futures to assess the risk of climate change hazards to existing or planned assets for both water and wastewater systems

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Queensland Urban Utilities, the provider of water and wastewater services to Brisbane, has undertaken a substantial climate-flood resilience and adaptation initiative that includes a major risk assessment study, and a subsequent capital works programme

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The water authority of South-West Western Australia is working to diversify its water resources in response to the long-term drying trend that the region is experiencing

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The second runway at busy Brisbane Airport is being built 1.5 m higher than regulations dictate to take into account risks associated with storm surge and sea-level rise

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A desalination project in the US that features unique ownership, financing and operational arrangements in response to adapt to the increase in water demand and reduced freshwater resources related to climate impacts

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The Tweed River Entrance Sand Bypass Project provides an example of how engineering can work with natural processes to accommodate multiple, and sometimes competing, priorities for coasts and beaches

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Local council

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The Bega Valley Council has implemented an integrated coastal management program that allows adaptation to the changing physical processes of the coast and seeks to meet the present needs of the community and those of future generations.

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A summary of current and projected impacts of climate change in Darwin, including coastal erosion, sea surge and saltwater intrusion in wetlands

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Councils, agencies and stakeholders interested in the Cockburn Sound in Western Australia collaborate to develop a long-term adaptation plan to protect the local coastal area from future climate impacts

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This video describes the impacts of climate change in Port Fairy, a coastal town in south-western Victoria, and the efforts conducted by the local government and the Port Fairy Coastal Group to monitor the impacts and defend the houses and natural assets at risk

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The snapshot describes a project that worked with five Gippsland councils to integrate climate risk into processes and to train staff on how to consider climate change

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The video presents a summary of the methods and findings of an innovative case study of climate change adaptation conducted by Kingborough council in Kingston beach

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The Shoalhaven City Council is carrying out monitoring and evaluation activities to assess the outcome of a development control plan that guides the use of land at risk of erosion and sea-level rise

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The effectiveness of beach nourishment in Mandurah is being monitored on an on-going basis to make sure the adaptation measure meets the economic, environmental and social objectives set by the council

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This video summarises the activities undertaken by the nine councils from Western Australia that are part of the Peron Naturaliste Partnership and are preparing to address the impacts of climate change through empowering their community, mapping and valuing their assets at risk, and taking a pathways approach.

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The Lake Macquarie City Council worked with the local community to develop a local adaptation plan which identified existing and new strategies to protect homes from an increased flooding risk

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Natural environment

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The loss of ecosystem services in the Hunter River floodplain as a result of land use conversion and sea-level rise was addressed through restoration and rehabilitation work

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The impacts of projected sea-level rise on beach-nesting shorebirds, native coastal vegetation and coastal plant species were assessed across all land tenure in Tasmania in a pilot study that used GIS-based rules and risk assessment methods

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This snapshot explores the adaptation activities Phillip Island Nature Park has undertaken to help Little Penguins and the local tourism industry to adapt to climate change

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This snapshot describes a project in the Wet/Dry Tropics of Far North Queensland that incorporates the potential forces of sea-level rise and storm surge on the distribution and persistence of littoral rainforests, which will help to guide its management into the future

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This snapshot looks at the importance of macroinvertebrates on the ecosystem, some of the ways macroinvertebrates are being detrimentally affected by beach nourishment and steps coastal managers can take to limit this damage

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This snapshot illustrates a set of linked methods that can be used to develop and prioritise adaptation options for a wide range of marine species based on the vulnerability framework

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Planning for adaptation

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The community of Choiseul Bay township, located at the northern tip of the Solomon Islands within Choiseul Province, has prepared an integrated climate change risk and adaptation strategy that contemplates the relocation of the Province’s capital

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Clarence City Council in Tasmania has implemented a three stage adaptation pathway, involving ‘no/low regrets’ and ‘win-win’ projects, and a more focussed adaptation strategy for the highest risk sites

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Kingborough Council in Tasmania undertook a natural hazards planning project to plan for coastal adaptation, considering the combined effects of different climate change impacts

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A modelling study of combined storm-tide and riverine flooding (coincidence flooding) carried out for the Busselton area in southern Australia explored the full extent of potential flooding on local infrastructure and communities

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The Eyre Peninsula Integrated Climate Change Agreement (EPICCA) has developed a regional adaptation plan building on past climate change planning work and incorporating an adaptation pathways analysis

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The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Queensland Government and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation have developed and implemented a series of strategies, programs and plans with the aim of protecting the Reef and increasing its resilience to climate change

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An alliance between the Victorian State Government and all 79 Victorian councils is an example of using a partnership approach for state-wide local scale adaptation planning

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Risk assessment

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This case study describes the process used by the Australian Department of Defence to undertake climate risk assessments and adaptation planning at some of its coastal sites

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Summerland Credit Union reviewed climate change projections, identified risks and adaptation strategies and incorporated these into standard business risk management and planning processes

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Wattle Range Council, in the south-east of South Australia, has commissioned a local company with drone capabilities to acquire high-resolution photos of the coastline and coastal infrastructure

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