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Auckland hosts Australasian Coasts & Ports conference

Media Release

Auckland hosts Australasian Coasts & Ports conference

This week over 300 coastal engineers, planners and scientists from around the world are meeting in Auckland for the Australasian Coasts & Ports 2015 conference. The theme of the conference is Environomics – in recognition of the need to balance protecting our coastal environment with supporting economic growth.

Dr Todd Bridges, US Army Corps of Engineers Senior Research Scientist and Lead for the Engineering with Nature program, opened the conference with a discussion on how nature-based coastal engineering solutions are being used across the US.

“There’s often a view that coastal systems should remain static, but the reality is that for millennia our coastal systems have been shaped by storms and physical processes – and the effects of climate change are only intensifying this issue.

“Using coastal engineering solutions that work with nature means moving away from the idea of ‘holding the line’ to instead managing the evolution of our coastal systems. The projects we’re involved in suggest this is a better long-term approach, and these solutions can be more effective and cost efficient.”

He said this approach is complex, however, and requires working with local communities and property owners.

“There’s a complicated interplay in what levels of risk communities are willing to accept and how that affects their decision-making. There is a need to engage early and often on coastal projects so that solutions are compatible with – or at least understood by – local communities.”

Conference Chair Richard Reinem-Hamill says the presentations at this year’s conference reflect the growing need to plan and address the consequences of climate change in innovative ways.

“As events like the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami have taught us, we can’t get away with doing things the same way we’ve always done them. One of the benefits of this interdisciplinary and international conference is it offers coastal engineers, scientists and planners the opportunity to find out how other professionals are dealing with the effects of climate change and to share lessons learned.

“New Zealand has much to add and gain from these international discussions so it’s great that we are able to host this conference every six years.”

Over the three-day conference presenters from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Pacific Island nations and the US will share their knowledge and experiences on issues ranging from planning for coastal storm inundation and sea-level rise, to lessons learned from the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, to modelling coastal erosion hazards, to adapting to climate change in the design and construction of ports, bridges and roads.

View the conference programme.

Media notes:

WhatAustralasian Coasts & Ports 2015
WhoThe Local Organising Committee includes the Institution of Professional Engineers of New Zealand, the New Zealand Coastal Society, the National Committee for Coastal and Ocean Engineering, Engineers Australia and PIANC.
When15 to 18 September 2015
WherePullman Hotel, Auckland
WhyThe Coasts & Ports conference is the pre-eminent forum in the Australasian region for professionals to meet and discuss issues extending across all disciplines relating to coasts and ports.

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