Markgrafenheide-Hütelmoor covers a total area of 1000 ha (about 490 ha are coastal moor) and a coastline of about 6 km. This touristy area belongs to the city of Rostock in Germany. As response to sea level rise and heavy coastal erosion, the small seaside resort Markgrafenheide received a comprehensive storm surge protection until 2006. Subsequently, the adjacent Hütelmoor was flooded with the aim to restore it as a brackish coastal moor. Coastal protection measures at the Baltic Sea coastline were abandoned to enable natural dynamics, a coastal realignment and salt water intrusions. The entire process until full implementation took 14 years and was associated with very problematic public participation and a strong local polarization. Based on a literature and media review, two surveys, and expert interviews we retrospectively document and analyse the planning process with focus on public information, perception and participation. The local population and holidaymakers did not perceive coastal changes and if, did not associate them with climate change. Interviewees remembered single storm surges, but felt save from it and sea level rise was not perceived as a threat. 89% said that they feel insufficiently informed about the combined coastal protection wetland restoration measure, but did not use the offered information possibilities. 81% had their information from newspapers and freely distributed advertisers. It seems that insufficient information was the major reason for the problems with local acceptance and public participation. The media played a dominating role. The decline of traditional newspapers and the growths of free advertisers seemed to have a negative impact on quality of information and favoured a polarization. Additionally, we discuss local specifics like the cultural background (GDR history), traditions, frustration and the relatively old population and their role in public participation. We strongly promote a pro-active and long-term information and public relation strategy.
Journal of Coastal Conservation – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 3, 2017
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