Decision Support for Coastal Adaptation Action: The Handbook - Hunter region


Seven coastal Councils of the Hunter, Central and Lower North Coast region of New South Wales identified the need for consistent and transparent decision-making processes to identify management options (including long-term adaptation pathways) to address existing coastal hazards and those projected to worsen due to climate change.

Hunter and Central Coast Regional Environmental Strategy (HCCREMS) coordinated a region wide approach to develop a comprehensive framework to guide decisions. This is represented in the two key outputs of the project, i.e. The Handbook and a supporting Workbook. The tools assist decision makers to determine appropriate management strategies for identified risks and to prepare for coastal hazards that are anticipated to worsen due to climate change. The Handbook is also being extended to a broader range of issues. Additionally, this project provides a leadership model to coordinate regional coastal adaptation decisions across council boundaries and across a range of stakeholders.

Risks and Impacts Addressed 

Potential economic, social and environmental impacts arising from:

·         Sea level rise

·         Coastal recession associated with more frequent or severe storms, storm tides, and changes to coastal currents and other coastal processes

·         Changes to extreme rainfall and associated flooding in coastal areas

·         Combinations of these events.

Drivers for Adaptation Action 

Regional risk assessment processes across Councils clearly identified insufficient existing guidance to assist them with coastal decision-making processes to address climate change impacts. Australian Government funding from the Coastal Adaptation Pathways Program (CAP) enabled this project to proceed.

Outcomes Achieved 

A Handbook and supporting Workbook to guide decisions on managing existing coastal hazards and potentially a broader range of hazards (e.g. extreme heat events and catchment flooding) projected to worsen due to climate change.