Rapid coastal adaptation pathways planning using probabilistic, outcome-centric methodology at two sites in NSW

Taylor C1,2, Doyle T2, Devlin T3

1BMT Melbourne,

2BMT Sydney,

3Water Technology


Rapid coastal adaptation pathways planning using probabilistic, outcome-centric methodology at two sites in NSW.

Adaptation pathways planning is a powerful tool for planning the adaptation of our coastal estate to climate change and in particular sea level rise. Current methodologies, such as the NSW Coastal Management Plan (CMP) and QLD Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy (CHAS) are rigorous but too slow and cumbersome for application to discrete sites with acute coastal hazards issues requiring immediate management intervention.

This paper describes the development and application of a rapid, outcome-centric and probabilistic methodology for adaptation pathways planning at two National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) sites in NSW, Bonnie Vale on Port Hacking and Bobbin Head on Cowan Creek. Both sites are experiencing chronic and worsening impacts from a range of coastal hazards including tidal inundation, storm erosion, shoreline recession and entrance instability. These impacts required urgent management intervention to maintain their functions and values.

The methodology is “outcome-centric” rather than “process-centric”. This is important, as a “process-centric” approach involves a rigorous investigation of all coastal processes, hazards and vulnerabilities before management options are considered; while the “outcome-centric” inverts the process, using existing knowledge and stakeholder involvement to rapidly identify the feasible and preferable adaptation measures or options. The coastal hazard assessment is then tailored to provide the information needed to inform decision makers on the implementation of immediate measures while planning for the long-term adaptation of the site.

The outcome-focused methodology makes maximum use of previous studies, expert knowledge, and the available data to rapidly identify mitigation measures and develop practical pathways solutions to complex coastal adaptation issues at discrete sites.


Christian Taylor is a principal coastal engineer at BMT in Melbourne. He has a particular interest in sea level rise adaptation planning for coastal infrastructure in Australia