Community-based coastal monitoring in the Pacific

IWLearn The GEF LME:LEARN-funded Twinning Workshop saw the sharing of issues of coastal management and monitoring in PICs and the erection of the first-ever CoastSnap station in the Pacific.

Coastlines are dynamic environments. To be effectively managed, coastal erosion events are needed to be understood within broader cycles of sediment erosion and replenishment. In order to understand these processes monitoring is needed to measure the coastline over time. This traditionally requires significant resources to survey the coast. The tyranny of distance makes on-the-ground surveys even more of an investment in the Pacific with both air and sea travel frequently required. This Twinning Workshop shared the experience in Australia of CoastSnap, an innovative community-based beach and coast monitoring program, provides low-cost effective beach and coastal processes monitoring. Originally developed at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), CoastSnap has been successfully deployed in Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Europe, Central and South America.

Participants from Pacific Ridge to Reef (R2R) projects attended the four-day workshop in Suva, Fiji. The workshop was generously hosted by The Pacific Community and funded under the GEF LME:LEARN Twinning Program. The workshop served two purposes:

1) The Projects were able to share and discuss areas of erosion concern and monitoring priority amongst each other and develop proposed monitoring locations with expert input from UNSW on site selection and design.

2) The Projects took part in the installation of a monitoring station and experienced firsthand the optimal station placement, local surveying and geospatial data collection, cradle/hardware installation, signage and community awareness activities.

The workshop saw participants share the coastal monitoring capabilities and needs from their countries and hear about some of the coastal monitoring approaches pioneered at UNSW. The CoastSnap monitoring approach was the focus of the workshop and the group travelled up the Coral Coast to install the first Pacific Island CoastSnap station. In partnership with the Pacific Community and with the help of all participants, the station was installed at the Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort on Yanuca Island. The partnership and support of the Shangri-La in embracing it into their impressive community engagement, environmental awareness, ocean monitoring and school education initiatives is of major benefit to the CoastSnap initiative. The workshop trained the participants to plan, install and manage their own monitoring stations on the return to their home locations, with UNSW experts available for advice and input remotely as needed. A Tongan CoastSnap station is looking to be the next implemented through the Tongan Department of Environment. 

To read more about the key lessons learned and how to replicate this exchange, please consulte the twinning report below.

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