Monitoring the English coastline

England’s Regional Coastal Monitoring Programmes (RCMP) which monitor 5,672 km of English coastline will continue to include Fugro expertise as its coastal oceanographic team is awarded a contract for a further 5 years, to manage the South West, North West and North East Regional Coastal Monitoring Programmes.

Poole Bay tracer release
Poole Bay tracer release
The processes and methods in place to ensure the continued success of the project have been incrementally developed over the last 13 years, and continue to evolve to ensure an efficient and cost-effective approach.
Andrew Gowland, Fugro’s Senior Oceanographer and Project Manager for the RCMP network
WaveRadar Rex installed on West Bay pier
WaveRadar Rex installed on West Bay pier

Operated by six lead authorities the RCMP continuously observe and record coastal processes, providing data in support of Shoreline Management Plans, coastal defence strategies and operational management of coastal protection and flood defence. Fugro is already familiar with the programmes having installed and maintained oceanographic and meteorological equipment for various parts since 2003.

Monitoring service and equipment

Fugro maintains 30 wave buoys, 2 seabed mounted Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs), 12 tide gauges and 13 meteorological stations, and provides constant monitoring of all real-time instruments, whilst facilitating the transfer of data to the Channel Coastal Observatory (CCO) website. Its in-house software provides automated quality checks on incoming data and monitors equipment integrity; distributing warning alerts if data parameters indicate sensor damage or telemetry failure. This 24-hour duty service ensures a fast and efficient response to any warnings and incidents. In addition Fugro also provides a comprehensive data processing and reporting service.

Challenging installations

The installation of the RCMP shore stations and associated metocean equipment, have at times presented some challenges. In 2011, the installation of a Rosemount WaveRadar Rex on the Second Severn Bridge, located mid-span, required 2.7 km of data cable! Although a challenge the resulting successful installation ensures that tidal elevation and wave data of the Severn Estuary are transferred to a shore-based computer in real-time via the cable, for onward display on the CCO website.

Additional sediment surveys

Additional requirements recently saw Fugro also undertake a study into sediment transport in Poole Bay, involving the collection of data using a 5 beam ADCP and a sediment tracer. 1,000 kg of fluorescent tracer sand were released approximately 400 m offshore and subsequently tracked. Outputs from both surveys provided an understanding of the natural sediment movement in Poole Bay and will help determine the feasibility of nearshore replenishment schemes.

Dedicated Team

Andrew Gowland, Fugro’s Senior Oceanographer and Project Manager for the RCMP network, for the last eight years, explains that one of the main aspects of Fugro’s success has been the sheer dedication of the whole coastal oceanographic team who keeps the networks of equipment and instrumentation in continuous operation. "The number of sites under our management keeps us busy with scheduled maintenance visits. In addition we also respond to unscheduled situations and perform additional one-off studies, as required. We have a very good working relationship with our client, making us feel part of the wider Coastal Monitoring Programmes’ team and further strengthening our commitment to the project’s success. We hope to work with the Regional Programmes for many years to come, meeting new challenges and sharing future innovations.”

Did you know?

5,568 new metocean data records are collected daily. 1,210,982,400 wave data records are collected annually.


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