Making Castlecliff and Kai Iwi beaches more resilient

In coming months, Whanganui District Council will work with the community to develop a draft coastal action plan to make Castlecliff and Kai Iwi beaches more resilient in the face of climate change.

The key challenges these beaches face include erosion, significant natural sand movement and ecological degradation.

Council policy analyst, Rebecca Dobbin, who recently graduated from Victoria University with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Ecology and Biodiversity and a Masters of Climate Change Science and Policy, will support coastal scientist, Jim Dahm, to work with the community to build the plan.

They will begin by talking with key stakeholders from March.

“These conversations will help us build the draft coastal action plan, which will go out to the wider Whanganui community for feedback from April,” said Dobbin.

Jim Dahm, who has over 30 years’ experience in managing coastal erosion, says he thoroughly enjoys “the kind of work going on in Whanganui because it’s all about helping empower the community to make good decisions for their beaches.

Councillor Alan Taylor, who chairs the council’s Infrastructure, Climate Change and Emergency Management Committee, said that the coastal action plan is “a real and promising step toward protecting our unique coastal environment.”

“Climate change – through rising sea-level, rapidly warming temperatures and more intense storms – and human activity are responsible for the global loss of 200 living species every day and our dynamic, beautiful and fragile coast is not immune from these irreversible losses.

“Eventually, because humans are an integral part of the total ecosystem, our survivability depends in no small way on the protection of such zones. This plan is a ‘must’ for Whanganui.”