Guyana Mangrove-Seawall Engineering Guidance – Building Coastal Resilience through green-grey infrastructure
Project Lead: Conservation International
Supporting Partners: Global Green-Gray Community of Practice, Deltares
Financial and Institutional Support: In-kind
Project Timeline/Status: Completed
Conservation International is working to increase climate resilience for vulnerable coastal communities by integrating natural coastal ecosystems with man-made grey infrastructure solutions that benefit climate, biodiversity, community well-being, and local economies. The Guyana Mangrove-Seawall Engineering Guidance developed and facilitated the adoption of standard engineering techniques for green-grey infrastructure to restore marine ecosystems. Implementing these guidelines not only mitigates flood risk and impacts to agricultural lands and coastal communities in Guyana but holds the potential to be applied globally.
Guyana is among the countries most threatened by climate change induced sea level rise. Sections of its coastline are experiencing rapid erosion with substantial losses of mangroves, affecting 90 per cent of the population and 75 per cent of agricultural production situated on the low-lying coastal plain1. As extreme weather events increase in intensity and sea level rise become more pervasive, agricultural activities and communities are more vulnerable than ever. There is a critical need to find pre-emptive, cost-effective and scalable climate adaptation solutions that protect, manage, and restore nature against storm damage and seawall failures.
Guyana identified green-grey coastal infrastructure solutions as a strategy to reduce climate risks for people, communities, and urban areas across the country’s vulnerable coastal plain. An example is where natural coastal ecosystems – such as mangroves, salt marshes, inter- tidal flats, seagrasses, and coral reefs – are combined with grey infrastructure such as seawalls and dykes, for wave attenuation and flood control. However, until recently there were no guidelines for combined mangrove-seawall designs across the world. Therefore, Conservation International took a “design with nature” approach that harnesses of the ability of mangroves to adapt to climate related hazards – while also providing a myriad of co-benefits for people and nature.
1 Conservation International & Deltares. (2021, December 15) Guyana Green-Grey Infrastructure Engineering Guidelines (Final Report). 133 pages.