COASTAL EROsION & storm surge

Coastal erosion is the loss of land along the shoreline due to the natural removal of sediments or bedrock from the shoreline. Coastal erosion is often associated with extreme weather events such as coastal storms, storm surge and flooding. During these events coastal erosion can occur rapidly, causing damage and potential danger to buildings, infrastructure and people. To deal with the risk of coastal erosion and storm surge, OPERANDUM has implemented multiple Nature-based Solutions (NbS).

Aims of OALS focused on coastal erosion & storm surge

Operandum open-air laboratories (oals) cover a wide range of hazards, with different levels of climate projections, land use, socio-economic characterization, existing monitoring activities and nbs acceptance. The aims of the OALs that focuses on coastal erosion and storm surge are:

  OAL Italy – Bellocchio Beach: mitigate storm surges and coastal erosion.
  OAL UK – Catterline Bay: prevention of shallow landslide and surface erosion by reinforcing and protecting the soil with vegetation and organic structures, and regulating the soil water cycle with vegetation.

Bellocchio beach of OAL Italy is strongly affected by marine erosion. In case of storm surge sea water floods the lagoon, threatening the freshwater ecosystem and biodiversity. The site preserves natural heritage, historical records and hosts, in the inland area, industrial activities (fish farms) and is embedded in one of the main touristic systems of Europe.

OAL UK – Catterline Bay in Scotland is subject to shallow landslides, and coastal and surface erosion due to its sloped topography of the sea cliffs and its proximity to the coast. The soil along the slopes is a cohesive mixture of silty sands with contents of clay. It is partly covered by gravel and rock but low vegetational cover and less organic matter which explains the instability of the slopes in heavy rain or high waves.


OPERANDUM’s ambition is to address and overcome barriers through Open-Air Laboratories (OALs). The aim of these OALs is to produce innovation, to drive the change in current practices of land planning and improving resilience to hydro-meteorological hazards, and by producing advancement of state-of-art and innovative nature-based measures in several areas. OALs that are focusing on the risk of coastal erosion and storm surge are:


Scotland / UK

The OAL-Scotland is located at Catterline Bay, a dramatic beauty spot that featured in the work of acclaimed Scottish artist Joan Eardley is a bay off the North Sea, part of which is failing due to shallow landslides and is affected by coastal erosion. 



The site is on the Emilia Romagna coast of Adriatic Sea: the Bellocchio beach. The Bellocchio beach is a fully natural area, which is part of The Po Delta Biosphere Reserve, limited between a very active touristic hub (Lido di Spina) and the mouth of the Reno river.


China (Hong Kong)

The objective of the OAL Hong Kong is to investigate the mechanisms and mitigation of heatwaves in rural and urban Hong Kong, and to develop a tree model which can be coupled into urban canopy model. Hong Kong is located at the southern tip of China, 


Effective and scalable Nature-based Solutions (NbS) can help governments address the growing challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, increased frequency of extreme weather and natural hazards. Below you can read more about hazards related to coastal erosion & storm surge.


The fear of flooding is a major perceived risk. Floods affect many areas, such as agriculture, infrastructure, local businesses as well as the tourism sector. To deal with the risk of flooding, OPERANDUM has implemented multiple Nature-based Solutions.



Landslides are caused by disturbances in the natural stability of a slope and defined as the movement of a mass of rock, debris, or earth. To deal with the risk of landsliding, OPERANDUM has implemented multiple Nature-based Solutions (NbS).

Storm surge and coastal erosion

Seawater intrusion

Seawater intrusion can be considered a very serious hazard to coastal areas. Salt intrusion may damage the fragile ecosystems. To deal with the risk of seawater intrusion, OPERANDUM has implemented multiple Nature-based Solutions (NbS).


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