THE entire coast of Cork is to be assessed and mapped for coastal erosion by a team of experts to identify vulnerable areas.
Cork County Council and MaREI, the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine at University College Cork (UCC), recently announced their pioneering partnership.
The three-and-a-half-year project will see the UCC researchers conduct a detailed review of the 1199km Cork coast to assess areas that are vulnerable to coastal erosion.
The project’s outputs will inform the future planning of coastal management along the Cork coastline and the development of coastal management activity in the future.
The project will comprehensively collect and capture all existing available information relating to coastal erosion along the county’s coastline and map it in a specific geographic information system.
A monitoring and modelling programme will also be developed in order to acquire a greater understanding of the coastline behaviour and use this information as a possible precursor to engineering works.
The project will also include coastal monitoring of select sites which will document coastal change over time and provide a valid predictive model
Professor Sarah Culloty, head of the college of science, engineering and food science at UCC said: ‘Protecting our coastline is a major challenge for our local authorities and this project will harness MaREI’s world-leading expertise to help shape coastal management strategies in Cork.’
Dr Jimmy Murphy, senior lecturer in the school of engineering in UCC, added: ‘The project outcomes will provide a quantification of the magnitudes of erosion and a means to prioritise work to the most vulnerable locations. We hope that the approaches adopted can be rolled out nationwide and so provide more uniformity in how Ireland manages its coastline.’
Professor John O’Halloran, president of UCC, said it was ‘imperative that universities work together with local authorities, business and communities on the subject of climate change.
‘We will bring our research expertise to work together with Cork County Council on this partnership to help safeguard our beautiful coastline,’ he said.
Chief executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey added: ‘Cork County Council will provide funding assistance for the project team to develop predictive models for the prioritisation of coastal monitoring sites.
‘The project will also include coastal monitoring of selected sites which will document coastal change over time and provide a valid predictive model.’
Cork county mayor Cllr Danny Collins highlighted how the coastline is one of Cork’s greatest assets. ‘It’s vital that we work together and bring the information that has been prepared by various agencies into a single format that can be measured, tracked and used to make informed decisions on any necessary future activity.’