Coastal protection is a non-trivial task that requires skilled and experienced professionals. In some countries special institutes or authorities (Coastal Zone Authorities) have been appointed to carry out the tasks involved. It is obvious that such Authorities can only adequately operate if provided with governmental support and legal backing.
A few remarks can be made about the process from problem definition to implementation:
- The solution of a coastal erosion problem always starts with a clear understanding of the coastal processes that cause the coastal erosion problem (see for instance the erosion example of Fig. 10.7);
- Subsequently, the requirements for a possible solution have to be clearly defined. Should the erosion be prevented along the entire coast or only in a limited area? Is halting the erosion in a limited area enough or is recovery (accretion) in that area desirable? And, are any changes in the future expected, which require and adaptive intervention?
- In the next phase, different alternatives have to be analysed. Which alternatives meet the requirements? What are possible detrimental side effects? What are the costs involved?
- In the final selection phase, the best alternative has to be chosen, which is then designed in more detail, with respect to engineering, cost and implementation;
- After the implementation of the selected protection measure, it is strongly re- commended to monitor the actual behaviour of the coast. Since ‘art’ and ‘science’ are still closely related in coastal engineering practice, it may sometimes happen that the chosen solution appears to be far from ideal. The experience gained in this way can be very helpful in designing new projects.