Estuarine and coastal change over the last 300 years has been significant, mainly due to human activity including coastal flood defences.
Project PACCo (Promoting Adaptation to Changing Coasts) will restore 100 hectares of coastal wetland at two pilot sites – the Otter Estuary in Devon (UK) and Saane Valley in Normandy (France). The restoration of this land will enable better management of flooding, absorb carbon, and provide benefits for people and wildlife.
At the UK site, the works will include creating mudflats and saltmarsh, moving a road to protect a disused landfill site from erosion, and relocating a cricket club. Works at the French site include increasing connectivity between the river and its floodplain, moving a campsite and building a new water treatment plant to prevent contamination and improve the water quality at two beaches.
Developed as part of the project, the PACCo model, which features new solutions for more natural and effective management of heavily modified estuaries, could be replicated at 70 other sites in the France (Channel) England (FCE) area.
The re-creation of 100 hectares of saltmarsh will remove the equivalent of 170 Olympic swimming pools full of CO2, valued at €2.9m, each year. PACCo will also increase green tourism to the two valleys, with an estimated value of €40m for the Saâne Valley by the end of the project, and €12m for the Otter Valley. Significant public health benefits are also expected due to the increased access to the natural environment that the project will provide.