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Climate, Heritage and Environments of Reefs, Islands and Headlands

The reefs, islands and headlands of the Irish Sea have a rich cultural heritage. These are iconic locations in the coastal and maritime culture of both nations, and home to a number of designated heritage assets. Yet they remain largely unexplored, inadequately mapped and their environmental context poorly understood.

CHERISH will increase cross-border knowledge and understanding of the impacts (past, present and near-future) of climate change, storminess and extreme weather events on the cultural heritage of reefs, islands and headlands of the Irish Sea. The operation will target data and management knowledge gaps, employing innovative techniques to discover, assess, map and monitor heritage assets on land and beneath the sea.

CHERISH will raise awareness about the impacts of climate change on heritage, train the citizen scientist and widely disseminate the results. It will develop best practice and guidance, making recommendations for future adaptation.

  • Dalkey Island

The CHERISH project partners will collaborate over the five year funding period to deliver a range of activities within the following six actions:

Action 1: Mobilisation and Planning - To ensure a smooth running operation and the capacity to deliver the objective.

Action 2: Desk Based Intervention - To collate current knowledge, develop monitoring systems and enhance historic environment datasets.

Action 3: Field Intervention - To gather new knowledge and undertake monitoring.

Action 4: Citizen Science and Dissemination - To engage and train coastal communities, share knowledge and raise awareness.

Action 5: Legacy - The creation of a sustainable resource, free data, management plans and best practice guidance.

Action 6: Governance - To engage with experts and managers from the field who will help to guide the operation and ensure delivery of the Objective.

Building Knowledge and Capacity

CHERISH will provide mechanisms (guidance, workshops and seminars, etc.) and platforms (shared web portal, open access data, Historic Environment Records and a sustainable archive to European standards) to disseminate existing and new research. Initiatives to train citizen scientists through CHERISH will leave a legacy of increased awareness and transferable skills among coastal communities. The CHERISH methodology could usefully be widened to other islands, reefs and remote coastal landscapes of the Atlantic area where climate change threatens cultural heritage and future landscape management.

Informing Better Management

Following the principles of Natural Resource Management we will ensure CHERISH works in an integrated way with landowners, statutory bodies and other Ireland-Wales operations involved in the management of, and strategies for, the Irish Sea zone. CHERISH will provide management data and plans for study areas, highlighting sites at risk from future loss.

Baseline Data and Guidance for Future Monitoring

CHERISH will provide the first 3D baseline fixed survey points and data for selected heritage assets specifically aimed at future monitoring of climate change in the Irish Sea zone. CHERISH will develop joint methodology, best practice and practical guidance for evaluating the risk, sensitivity and adaptive capacity of the coastal and marine historic environment.

Future Change and Adaptation

CHERISH will provide new data to address threats and opportunities presented by The Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) for Wales (2017). It is anticipated that palaeoenvironmental and historical data produced by CHERISH will contribute to development of the next CCRA (2022). Synthesis of historical and palaeoenvironmental storminess records across the region will identify variability in storm frequency and intensity and their impacts over millennia, providing valuable data for projections of future change.

Informing Decision Making

Open access data generated by CHERISH will enable improved decision-making regarding the historic environment and climate change adaptation at all levels, from local communities through to Government. Open access data will inform Strategic Assessments of Coastal Flooding and Erosion Extents in Ireland, and Integrated Coastal Zone Assessments and Shoreline Management Plans in Wales.

Informing Government Strategies

CHERISH will contribute directly to Government Strategies on Climate Change, including the overarching objectives and priorities of the Welsh Historic Environment Climate Change Sectoral Adaptation Plan (SAP), Ireland’s EPA Research Strategy 2014-2020 Climate - Water - Sustainability, and the recommendations of the 2009 Heritage Council and Fáilte Ireland report on Climate Change, Heritage and Tourism.

CHERISH will implement a cross-disciplinary, cross-border Survey Team linking land and sea that brings together partners who are leading specialists in a variety of fields – climate change, hydrography, geology, archaeology, built and maritime heritage, remote sensing, environmental science, storminess and scientific dating.

For more information on the project contact info@cherishproject.eu

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