Urban and industrial seascapes


Urbanisation and industrial development expansion replaces natural nursery shoreline habitat with built infrastructure. While the engineering satisfies standards and budget outcomes for human use, it often results in loss of coastal biodiversity, and reduces ecosystem services. In the face of climate change, sea level rise, and the demand for waterfront living and recreation, armouring and modifying shorelines will increase along with expansion of marinas, canal estates, bridges/roadways, and port facilities. Understanding the ecology of coastal development and consequences on biodiversity cannot advance by simply documenting change, it needs robust experimental programs that provide novel, balanced, engineering solutions that maximise biodiversity, and provides value to recreational fishers.

TropWATER’s Dr Nathan Waltham is meeting this challenge by working with coastal managers and planners, to understand the potential to balance coastal urban and industrial development with environmental and conservation outcomes. Green engineering solutions are available which provide a more soft engineering solution in sensitive coastal areas.

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Further Reading

Waltham, N.J., Connolly, R.M., 2011. Global extent and distribution of artificial, residential waterways in estuaries. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 94, 192-197.

Sheaves M, Coles R, Dale P, Grech A, Pressey R and Waltham N (2016) Enhancing the value and validity of EIA: serious science to protect Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Conservation Letters, 9 (5). pp. 377-383.

Waltham, N.J., Sheaves, M., 2015a. Expanding coastal urban and industrial seascape in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area: Critical need for coordinated planning and policy. Marine Policy 57, 78-84.

Waltham, N.J., Sheaves, M., 2015b. Expanding urban and industrial development in tropical seascapes necessitates green engineering and spatial planning thinking. Environmental science & technology 49, 2598-2599.


Nathan Waltham Profile

Dr Nathan Waltham


Phone: +61 7 4781 4191

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