60 experts discuss means of climate change adaption at workshop in Wilhelmshaven, Germany

In cooperation with the Task Group Climate of the Wadden Sea Board, the EU Interreg NSR project “Building with Nature” held a two-day workshop on best practices beyond the region in climate change adaptation. About 60 participants from the three Wadden Sea states as well as from abroad met on 26-27 September 2017 at the UNESCO World Heritage Wadden Sea Visitor Centre in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, to discuss relevant climate effects and their societal consequences.

The participants used the workshop to exchange knowledge and enhance awareness of the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (CCAS) amongst policy makers and scientists. The presentations centered on best practices of ongoing or recently completed projects in the Wadden Sea region. These cases will the focus of a monitoring report on the implementation of the Climate Change Adaption Strategy, soon to be released by the organizers, which takes into account the input from the workshop and assesses three types of projects: coastal flood defense and protection, nature conservation and integral projects.

During the workshop the experts further evaluated to what extent and why the seven principles of the CCAS apply to a number of projects in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. Those principles are natural dynamics, interconnectivity of habitats, integration, flexibility, long-term approach, site-specific approach, and participatory approach. Many of these could be found in the presented projects. “This shows us that the principles of the strategy are applicable also on the practical level of projects,” says Julia Busch, CWSS Programme Officer for Emerging Issues, Science and Data Management. General insights from the Building with Nature project so far revealed that sand nourishment may present a feasible and sustainable tool for keeping up with sea level rise in the Wadden Sea. However, the behavior of the coast and effectiveness of sand nourishment at different locations are not yet fully understood. The same holds true for optimal locations and techniques. More research is needed and ongoing. Moreover, the workshop concluded that using the principles can help discuss plans and projects with regard to dealing with climate change. “The principles should not serve as a formal checklist, but they can be used as guidance in the design process,” says Busch.

The event was concluded with an excursion to the salt marsh restoration site “Langwarder Groden” near Wilhelmshaven. Guided by the Lower Saxony Park Authority, participants of the workshop were introduced to the renaturation development in this area.

Photos:CWSS/ Busch