Climate Change Issues A Factor In Coastal Zone Management

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Acting Director of the CZMU, Dr. Lorna Inniss, makes a point to members of the Board of Directors of the Inter-American Development Bank at??Folkestone Park and Marine Reserve. (C. Pitt/BGIS)????

The integration of climate change issues into the coastal zone management of countries like Barbados is critical if they are to mitigate the effects.

This was one of the points stressed as members of the Board of Directors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) toured coastal projects at the Folkestone Park and Marine Reserve, in St. James, and at the Richard Haynes Boardwalk in Hastings, Christ Church.?? They were accompanied by officials from the Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU) yesterday.

Speaking during the first stop at the Folkestone Park and Marine Reserve, Acting Director of the CZMU, Dr. Lorna Inniss said, "One of the climate change predictions for the Caribbean is that we are going to have more flash floods…We are seeing some of that occurring already."

Offshore, she noted experts were noticing the major degradation of coral reefs with the increase in coastal erosion and discharges into the water. "We also have the sea level rise issues.?? We have a loss of vegetation, our beaches are getting narrower, and then there is flooding in the watershed in Holetown," she stated.

Dr. Inniss added that the project, which is anticipated to start in the coming weeks, was expected to stabilise the shoreline and provide lateral access along the coast for beach users and visitors.

She told those present that the IDB was funding Integrated Coastal Zone Management programmes for almost three decades, with the present project being the fifth to be undertaken, and the third investment programme to be developed and funded by the international body.

Project Manager for the Coastal Risk Assessment and Management Programme (CRMP), Antonio Rowe, told the directors that capturing elements of climate change in the analysis of their projects was critical.

He explained that the Holetown project was expected to cost BDS$10 million, and ran along 1.5 kilometres of shoreline from Villas on the Beach to Colony Club, in St. James. "There is a combination of different structures proposed for this project. We are proposing some offshore structures, some gryones, and we are proposing a revetment and a concrete walkway.

"We are looking to improve access along this section. That is one of the objectives of the project – to make the shoreline resilient and to provide lateral access for the public," he said.

However, he noted that CZMU officials had to be cautious with any interventions made as the shoreline could be affected if anything went wrong. Mr. Rowe told the directors that areas such as Folkestone were headlands which meant that it had high wave energy and did not lend itself to beach formation.

"That is why we provide the walkways, so that the public would have access at all states of tide," he said, noting they would not be allowed to build structures offshore because of the coral reef.

Natural Disaster and Risk Management Lead Specialist at the IDB, Cassandra Rogers, expressed her satisfaction with Government for placing importance on the emerging impacts of climate change, and the need to incorporate such issues into coastal zone management.

"The main objective of this project is to incorporate disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation into coastal zone management," she said, adding that the CZMU was recognised as a regional best practice model in terms of its work.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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