There are a steady flow of proposals to upgrade sea defences around our coast. There is currently an application on Portsea Island which is looking to increase the height of the sea wall.
Such investment is timely given the combined effects of relative sea level rise and climate change leading to more extreme events. The priority for sea defences is understandably life and then property, however well-designed coast defences need not harm wildlife. The Portsea Island defences are carefully designed to avoid expanding out into the wetlands of the harbours.
Our coastline is changing. The same sea level rise and extreme weather which prompts sea defences also drives our saltmarshes and mudflats to migrate inland.
There are some places along the coast where this happens naturally such as the Lower Test Nature Reserve. Long term monitoring here has shown us saltmarsh communities are migrating upstream at an average rate of over a metre a month. Within the dynamic habitats of a large nature reserve such change is readily accommodated.