Increasing Shoreline Resilience through Regional Sediment Management and "Engineering with Nature"

In the first Lunch Lecture this autumn we are happy to welcome University Centre alumni and PhD student Brian Gerrity. In his talk we will learn about a method that is being developed to “help nature” to make the shoreline more resilient to e.g. harsh weathers and a rising sea level. As coastal regions face increasing threats from climate change induced sea level rise, coastal erosion, flooding, and changing weather patterns, more must be done to increase shoreline resilience. The San Francisco Bay Area is a diverse ecological region with a variety of unique habitats in addition to a high-density population adjacent to the Bay.  Areas of considerable vulnerability have been identified using methods such as coastal vulnerability indexes, community outreach and stakeholder engagement. Regional sediment management plans, dredged material management plans and natural and nature-based solutions are strategies that can be used to both protect the human inhabitants of the region as well as restore, recover, and enhance the natural ecosystems. Natural and nature-based solutions such as beach nourishment, mudflat restoration and wetland restoration can be designed in such a way to “engineer with nature” to work within natural processes to achieve desirable environmental, economic, and social outcomes. This lecture will discuss some of the efforts currently underway in the San Francisco Bay Area such as beneficially using dredged material in strategic placement sites for mudflat and beach nourishment and how similar measures could be used in other coastal regions such as Iceland. 

Brian Gerrity is a Senior Coastal Study Manager for the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) San Francisco District. He is primarily working on beneficial use of dredged materials, sediment management and engineering with nature. He is conducting studies with the intent of implementing projects that use clean sediment from shipping channels to build up beaches and mudflats to provide habitat restoration and protect the coastline from coastal erosion, sea level rise and coastal storms. The San Francisco Bay is facing threats from sea level rise, coastal flooding, erosion and is facing a sediment deficit. Therefore, the need for better sediment management is crucial for a resilient shoreline. Many factors are at play including economic, environmental, social, and environmental justice for the decision making. 

The Lunch Lecture will take place in the University Centre cafeteria starting at 12:10 and is open to all. 

With reference to the effective regulation on restrictions on gatherings we recommend that guests bring face masks as we cannot guarantee a one meter distance.

Upcoming

Brian Gerrrity.
Brian Gerrrity.

Arctic Ocean Governance

The course Arctic Ovean Governance is taught from October 4 to 15. The instructor of the course is Dr. Brad Barr who has been actively engaged as a practitioner in marine and coastalprotected areas managment and preservation.

The course is one of the elective courses of the master’s programs in Coastal Communities and Regional Development and Coastal and Marine Management.

All master’s level courses at the University Centre are open to participants from other universities as well from the corporate world. The language of instruction is English, as the student group is international.

All further information about application procedures, entry requirements and course fees are available at the Open Courses webpage.

About the course:

The Arctic is subject to rapid and substantial impacts from climate change that is facilitating expanded human use and exploitation of its resources. Governance of such a region presents many challenges and opportunities for collaboration among the Arctic states responsible for effective stewardship of their sovereign waters, other nations with interests in expanding access to Arctic resources, and the international community more generally. The present and potential future governance of Arctic nations, international collaborations that have been established to foster coordination among these nations are discussed and analyzed during the course. Potential future frameworks for Arctic governance are also evaluated and the special role of Indigenous people is highlighted.

Participation in the Arctic Circle Conference in Reykjavík, an important international forum focused on Arctic policy and governance, is an integral element of this course and provides students with a unique and important opportunity to experience high-level discussions of many challenges faced in the region, and potential emerging solutions.  Participation in the Conference also offers students the opportunity to meet and learn more about these issues and challenges from the key leaders of Arctic nations as well as other important players in the Arctic governance and policy community at this forum. 

Upcoming

Human Ecology

The course Human Ecology is taught from October 4 to 15. The instructor of the course is Dr.  Laura Alice Watt. Dr. Watt comes from the San Francisco Bay area where she spent four years working as an environmental planner, followed by fifteen years teaching environmental history and policy, and helping run the Cultural Resources Masters program at Sonoma State University. She recently took early retirement from SSU and is now resettling here in the Westfjords, returning to consulting work focused on historical research and Icelandic heritage.

The course is one of the elective courses of the master’s programs in Coastal Communities and Regional Development and Coastal and Marine Management.

All master’s level courses at the University Centre are open to participants from other universities as well from the corporate world. The language of instruction is English, as the student group is international.

All further information about application procedures, entry requirements and course fees are available at the Open Courses webpage.

About the course:

An essential element of any resource management issue or community development question is understanding how and why the circumstances developed into their present-day condition.  The Human Ecology class will take a historical approach to investigating people's complex relationships with their environments, as a way of better understanding coastal places, communities, and how they interrelate -- hopefully helping you to untangle resource controversies or work with communities to be creative in their future ambitions.  

Upcoming

Public Policy

The course Public Policy is taught from October 4 to 15. The instructor of the course is Sari Rannanpää, a seniour evaluator working for a Regional Development Consultancy, MDI, in Helsinki. 

The course is one of the elective courses of the master’s programs in Coastal Communities and Regional Development and Coastal and Marine Management.

All master’s level courses at the University Centre are open to participants from other universities as well from the corporate world. The language of instruction is English, as the student group is international.

All further information about application procedures, entry requirements and course fees are available at the Open Courses webpage.

About the course:

The course shows the students the process of how an idea or a need for public intervention turn into policy in practice. The teaching is conducted through mini lectures, interactive sessions and guest lectures from different policy fields. The real-life examples of policy-making process will centre on regional, rural and local development, with special attention paid to stakeholder involvement. 

Upcoming

Oceanography

The course Oceanography is taught from October 18 to November 5. The instructors of the course is Dr. Øyvind Lundesgaard an oceanographer and a postdoctoral researcher at the Norwegian Polar Institute.

The course is one of the core courses of the master’s program in Coastal and Marine Management.

All master’s level courses at the University Centre are open to participants from other universities as well from the corporate world. The language of instruction is English, as the student group is international.

All further information about application procedures, entry requirements and course fees are available at the Open Courses webpage.

About the course from the instructors: 

This course provides students with a basic understanding of how the ocean works. We begin with getting to know the world’s oceans, and discuss the physical properties of water. We examine how and why salinity and temperature vary globally, and how such variations drive the slow overturning circulation of the ocean. Next, we move to much shorter time scales as we discuss the generation and behaviour of waves and tides. We then go on to look at how the rotation of the planet affects the circulation of the oceans and the atmosphere, and how the wind drives the major ocean currents and generates upwelling of nutrient-rich waters. Finally, we discuss the role of the ocean in the climate system.

Upcoming

Regional and Rural Economies

The course Regional and Rural Economies is taught from October 18 to November 5. The instructors of the course is Dr. Joost Dessein associate professor at the department of Agricultural Economics at Ghent University.

The course is one of the core courses of the master’s program in Coastal Communities and Regional Development.

All master’s level courses at the University Centre are open to participants from other universities as well from the corporate world. The language of instruction is English, as the student group is international.

All further information about application procedures, entry requirements and course fees are available at the Open Courses webpage.

Upcoming

Environmental Economics

The course Environmental Economics is taught from November 8 - 19. The instructor of the course is Dr. David Cook, a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the University of Iceland, linked to the ARCPATH project (Arctic Climate Predictions - Pathways to Resilient, Sustainable Societies).

The course is one of the core courses shared by both of the master’s programs, Coastal Communities and Regional Development and Coastal and Marine Management.

Information about the content of the course is available on the Environmental Economics course description page.

All master’s level courses at the University Centre are open to participants from other universities as well from the corporate world. The language of instruction is English, as the student group is international.

All further information about application procedures, entry requirements and course fees are available at the Open Courses webpage.

Upcoming

Physical Processes of Coastal Environments

The course Physical Processes of Coastal Environments is taught from November 22 to December 3.

The course is one of the core courses of the master’s program in Coastal and Marine Management.

All master’s level courses at the University Centre are open to participants from other universities as well from the corporate world. The language of instruction is English, as the student group is international.

All further information about application procedures, entry requirements and course fees are available at the Open Courses webpage.

Upcoming

The Blue Economy and Coastal Communities

The course Blue Economy and Coastal Communities is taught from November 22 to December 3 at the University Centre of the Westfjords. The instructors of the course is Dr. Patrick Heidkampa Professor in the Department of the Environment, Geography and Marine Sciences at SCSU, and also a co-director of the Connecticut State University Center for Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Education.

The course is one of the core courses of the master’s program in Coastal Communities and Regional Development.

All master’s level courses at the University Centre are open to participants from other universities as well from the corporate world. The language of instruction is English, as the student group is international.

All further information about application procedures, entry requirements and course fees are available at the Open Courses webpage.

Upcoming

Environmental Impact Assessment

The course Environmental Impact Assessment is taught from December 6 to 10. The instructor of the course is Gunnar Páll Eydal MRM, planning and environmental consultant at Verkís - consulting engineers office.

The course is one of the elective courses of the master’s programs in Coastal Communities and Regional Development and Coastal and Marine Management.

All master’s level courses at the University Centre are open to participants from other universities as well from the corporate world. The language of instruction is English, as the student group is international.

All further information about application procedures, entry requirements and course fees are available at the Open Courses webpage.

About the course:

The course provides an introduction to environmental assessment. Students are introduced to key concepts and methods used in both Environmental Impact Assessment for projects and Strategic Environmental Assessment for plans, programs and policies. The focus is on practical application and challenges of environmental assessment with examples of real ongoing local cases. A short field trip in Ísafjörður is included in the course.

Upcoming

Maritime Anthropology

The course Maritime Anthropology is taught from December 6 to 10 at the University Centre of the Westfjords. The instructor of the course is Dr.  Lara Hogg. 

The course is one of the elective courses of the master’s programs in Coastal Communities and Regional Development and Coastal and Marine Management.

All master’s level courses at the University Centre are open to participants from other universities as well from the corporate world. The language of instruction is English, as the student group is international.

All further information about application procedures, entry requirements and course fees are available at the Open Courses webpage.

About the course:

The course focuses broadly on maritime human cultures but also specifically considers the Westfjords, and as a result incorporates several practical assignments involving cultural institutions, such as Byggðasafn Vestfjarða, Blábankinn, Ósvör, and Rannsóknasetur Háskólans á Vestfjörðum. I prefer to slightly adapt the course to students interests, and set an open assignment where they can explore what intrigues them most based on course readings and discussions. It is theoretical as well as practical combining the best of both.

Upcoming