Doug Ramsey, a coastal engineer working with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand, Visited Kosrae State from April 15th-27th. Mr. Ramsey came to Kosrae as part of the FSM PACC project to update the 2000 Kosrae Shoreline Management Plan. He spent two weeks on the island, meeting with the Governor’s office, Kosrae State Legislature, representatives from utilities and housing, engineers from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, and the general public in all five of Kosrae’s villages.
Mr. Ramsey’s presentation explained the varied impacts of coastal erosion in Kosrae in each village. By superimposing 1944 photos on current ones, people could see the changes in Kosrae’s shoreline in the last 80 years. He explained that the primary cause of the recent erosion is the removal of coral boulders from the reef flats as filling material for roads and buildings foundations after WWII. The coastal structure of Kosrae, Mr. Ramsey explained, is a result of sand and broken coral on the reef flat, which builds up and eventually begins accumulating soil and vegetation. When people build on these coastal areas, there is a substantial risk of coastal flooding as waves will continue to pass over the beach into developed areas.
Moving on to a discussion of potential adaptation strategies for dealing with Kosrae’s erosion, Mr. Ramsey emphasized that seawalls are not a viable permanent solution, because the can cause damage in nearby areas and are very costly.
Mr. Ramsey argued that more fruitful adaptation approach would be to move inland in the future, avoiding construction on the sea shore and building on stilts. Mr. Ramsey told the public that extreme changes are not expected until two generations (approximately 50 years), but we should nonetheless begin preparations now.
areas during tidal or weather situations in which large waves are present. Additional risks include the possibility the access to the Airport and Seaport facilities in Kosrae could be cut off.
As part of the rehabilitation and improvement of the farm roads, they should be climate proofed as required by State Law 10-2, using the guidelines used in the FSM PACC Pilot Road project ( bigger culverts,better drainages,etc.), for the expected increase of rainfall.
Mr. Ramsey also met with the KRMA Board and the Housing representatives to suggest that they avoid issuing permits for further development in highly endangered coastal areas.
Mr. Ramsey based his analysis of coastal erosion and management in Kosrae on his extensive experience working from 1998-2000 in Kosrae as part of the Kosrae Island Resource Management Authority (KIRMA), formerly known as the Kosrae Development Review Commission. During his previous work in Kosrae. Mr. Ramsey prepared the Kosrae Shoreline Management Plan of 2000.
Mr. Ramsey’s work was funded by the German Technical Cooperation Agency, GIZ and the SPC North Pacific, based in Pohnpei.