Managed realignment schemes aim to promote sustainable coastal flooding and erosion risk management to protect coastal environments from extreme sea level events and to mitigate the impact of coastal squeeze. It has been suggested that the morphological and geochemical characteristics of sediment in realignment sites differ significantly from those in natural environments. However, very little is known about the initial evolution of the sediment regime in newly inundated intertidal environments in response to site design, construction and former land use.
I am currently investigating the factors influencing the morphological evolution of managed realignment schemes, exemplified by the Medmerry Managed Realignment Site, Sussex; the largest coastal managed realignment site in Europe. The extent to which physical disturbances caused by the former land use, site design and construction influence the erosion, transportation, deposition and consolidation sedimentary processes are being examined. In addition, the consequences of the sediment processes for the morphological and geochemical evolution of sediment regime are being investigated. The implications of these findings for the sub-surface sediment structure and development of the intertidal zone are also being evaluated, in addition to assessing the requirements for the long term monitoring of coastal managed realignment sites.
This research fits into the wider monitoring of the Medmerry Site, working alongside collaborators from the Channel Coastal Observatory, the University of Central London and the RSPB. The on-going work at Medmerry forms part of the wider research currently being carried out in the university, including investigations at Chichester Harbour, Pagham Harbour and Shoreham Port.