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Coastal risks: discover the interactive map of Surfrider Foundation Europe

Artificialization of the coast, rising waters, storms… Our coasts are undergoing many changes today, leading to the appearance of risks for users and ecosystems near the coast. This is why Surfrider Foundation Europe has developed an interactive map on coastal risks in several European countries. Browse with us the interactive map, and discover footages, testimonies and examples of local solutions to erosion and rising waters. 

Coastal risks: what are we talking about? 

Coastal risks are a major issue for many countries, as 37% of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometers of the coast*. They include coastal erosion, i.e. the retreat of the coastline, but also marine submersion, which is the temporary or permanent flooding of a coastal area by the sea. With climate change and the artificialization of the coastline, the problems related to erosion and marine submersion are likely to increase, threatening the environment and human societies. 

And Europe is not spared by the degradation of the coastline, which can lead to flooding and destruction of agricultural land and housing. Specifically, it has been estimated that the recession of the coastline could reach up to 7.7 meters per year in Montgat in Spain, and an average of 4 to 5 meters per year on the Opal Coast. The fauna and flora are also affected. According to recent studies, 86% of the coastal ecosystems of the European continent are currently threatened by the artificialization of the coastline and coastal risks.  

Better understand coastal risks with the interactive map of Surfrider  

To better understand the impacts and consequences of erosion and marine submersion in Europe, Surfrider Foundation Europe has launched its online interactive map. Now extended to several countries in Europe, the map allows you to visualize the evolution of the coastline in time thanks to comparative photos. For example, we notice that the Pointe de la Fosse (Noirmoutier) is undergoing an erosion phenomenon due to the island’s policy of sediment transfer. The retreat of the coastline is obvious between the first photo, dating from 1950, and the image of 2016.  

The interactive map of Surfrider also allows you to understand the different issues (e.g. environmental, economic, societal) related to erosion and marine submersion, by sharing testimonies of coastal users and examples of local adaptation solutions. Ramon Pagan, a resident of La Manga in Spain, explains how he has been working to protect his 20 kilometers of coastline from construction projects, which have caused the disappearance of beaches and the loss of local biodiversity. Ramon and other volunteers became aware of the problem of erosion and the risks so they decided to act and restored the surrounding dunes by planting various species of dune plants. 

> Watch Ramon’s full story in the following video 

While many people are still unaware of the impact that coastal risks can have on their lives, Surfrider Foundation Europe has been involved in this issue for many years, through information sharing and highlighting natural solutions. A living environment in constant movement, the coastline evolves with the swell, the tides and the wind. Protecting it also means preventing coastal risks. This is why we continue to mobilize to stop the projects of artificialization of the coastline, while fighting against climate change. A change of mentality is necessary to stop the artificialization of the coastline, which will surely involve the development of a risk culture. 

Discover the interactive map of Surfrider Foundation Europe 

Want to contribute to enlarge the interactive map? Testify on the evolution of the coastline near you by contacting Pamela Gericke.