Eurosion (European Commission, 2004) was a European study into coastal erosion at a European scale. Its outputs were:
- A map-based assessment of European coasts exposure to coastal erosion;
- A review of existing practices and experience of coastal erosion management;
- Guidelines to incorporate coastal erosion into environmental assessment, spatial planning and hazard prevention; and
- Policy recommendations to improve coastal erosion management.
Eurosion’s maps can be used to assess the coastal typography, geology and coastal erosion trends of a region. The maps also include the location of engineering works (whether harbours, jetties groynes or breakwaters). There is an additional map for regional exposure to coastal erosion.
Eurosion concluded that a more strategic and proactive approach to coastal erosion is needed for the sustained development of vulnerable coastal zones. It developed the concept of coastal resilience: the inherent ability of the coast to accommodate changes induced by sea level rise, extreme events and occasional human impacts, whilst maintaining the functions fulfilled by the coastal system in the longer term. To promote coastal resilience, Eurosion introduced the concept of favourable sediment status: the situation where the availability of coastal sediments support the objective of promoting coastal resilience in general and of preserving dynamic coastlines in particular. This should be achieved for each coastal sediment cell by designating strategic sediment reservoirs: supplies of sediment of appropriate characteristics that are available for replenishment of the coastal zone, either temporarily (to compensate for losses due to extreme storms) or in the long term (at least 100 years). They can be identified offshore, in the coastal zone (both above and below low water) and in the hinterland.
A coastal sediment cell is a coastal compartment that contains a complete cycle of sedimentation including sources, transport paths, and sinks. The cell boundaries delineate the geographical area within which the budget of sediment is determined, providing the framework for the quantitative analysis of coastal erosion and accretion. Eurosion considered that coastal sediment cells constitute the most appropriate units for achieving the objective of favourable sediment status and hence coastal resilience (European Commission, 2004).
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