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Develop your own coastal adaptation strategy by learning key methodologies and techniques.

The IMCORE project ran from 2008 to 2011 and was funded under the EU Interreg IVB programme.

Access or download overviews, tools, techniques and examples of visualisation tools, educational tools, legal and policy tools, future scenario techniques, etc

 "The actions identified  will greatly benefit coastal management, even if the impacts of climate change are zero."

" There was no central bank of data available which delayed progress in identifying data gaps."

Practical tips for following the IMCORE approach to planning to adapt to coastal climate change 

Feasibility study for Research and Education Coastal Centre in Lough Swilly


Marine Discovery Centre Implementation proposal

Thank you note from Donegal County Council and University of Ulster
"Sincere thanks to the members of the Lough Swilly Consultative Group for the time, effort and expertise they put into the development of the Lough Swilly Adaptation Strategy".

guidance4The current situation within Irish council structures means staff are less likely to become involved in extra work due to union and resource pressures. Specific projects such as IMCORE tend therefore to be managed by temporary staff with specific skills. When the project ends so does the contract and the expertise is lost. The financial position of the council is a risk and a constraint as without future funding by the council the DCC side of the couplet would no longer be able to operate. However, it is assumed that where possible the CCMR-DCC expert couplet mechanism will continue post IMCORE and will collaborate on future projects in the coastal zone.

The expert couplet relationship was already in place for the Donegal/Ulster partners. This good working relationship allowed work, developing an adaptation strategy for Lough Swilly, to begin immediately without having to establish our expert couplet first.

The first step involved work on a literature review of ecological, social and economic drivers of climate change. Work also began on promoting the project and getting political buy in to the process. The expert couplet developed guidelines on carrying out an issues workshop and held this workshop in March 2009. Each expert couplet produced an issues report and a review of common issues in the NW Europe area was compiled.

Following this workshop and the lessons learned through the process, a consultative group was set up comprising council officials, elected members and people representing agencies with a direct management responsibility on the Lough. The expert couplet presented the IMCORE project to senior management to get staff directly involved in the process and to increase awareness of the impacts and implications of Climate /Coastal Change for the Local Authority.

The consultative group were contacted individually by letter inviting them to become involved in the project, and to attend a scenarios workshop. This invitation was followed by telephone calls/interviews which gave the opportunity to introduce ourselves and to pose questions with regard to what they perceived the most pressing climate change issues to be, in their line of work.

The consultative group attended the exploratory scenario workshop which was held to identify what will drive/shape coastal/marine management in Lough Swilly in 2030 with respect to climate change. Following this workshop IMCORE staff used the information gathered to develop four exploratory narratives.

Figure 7._Scenarios

Figure 7: Scenario Diagram


For the next stage in the process the make up of the consultative group was reviewed to make best use of time for all participants and to ensure focus was maintained for each step of the adaptation process. The group was divided in two: elected representatives and state agencies with a direct management role.

The narratives were presented to each group for discussion at two separate workshops (October 2010 and February 2011) The groups chose which scenario they would prefer for Lough Swilly in 2030. Each group chose the same scenario 'All's Rosy?' 

At the workshop with elected representatives (October 2010) it was agreed that the elected representatives would be best placed to influence the implementation and mainstreaming of the adaptation strategy into council policy and practice, when developed.

At the second workshop with state agencies the group worked with IMCORE staff to develop robust actions which may enable Lough Swilly to reach the preferred future. These actions form the basis of an adaptation strategy for the Lough.

The IMCORE project in Lough Swilly took a multi level approach to coastal/marine management and adaptation in the area. Other complementary actions were undertaken in tandem with the adaptation strategy development, to target stakeholders at different levels:

  • Feasibility Study and Implementation Proposal for a Marine Discovery Centre
  • Lough Swilly Baseline Activity and Environmental Audit –a first step towards Marine Spatial Planning.
  • Lough Swilly: A Living Landscape, a semi academic publication.


Vision of the Couplet

The Centre for Coastal and Marine Research (CCMR) and Donegal County Council (DCC) have a long established working relationship which has been developed through collaboration on various coastal management projects. Our vision is:

  • to develop the capacity of the Council to deal with future coastal management issues in-house
  • to initiate the development of a climate change adaptation strategy for Lough Swilly and
  • to inform future marine spatial planning on Lough Swilly.



To provide a scientific foundation for decisions made by Donegal County Council in the coastal zone. The rationale for the expert couplet approach is based on the view that sustainability of the ICZM process within a local authority is most likely to be achieved when training is made available to permanent employees who do not owe their jobs to short-term projects. These staff already have jobs that involve aspects of what could be described as coastal management (although their job titles may not indicate this). By working with these staff the couplet aims to increase in-house communication while the workshop process to be carried out as part of IMCORE aims to build their capacity to deal with coastal management situations.


Staff may contribute to routine or project-based coastal management work while remaining in their current posts. Staff remain within a career structure characterised by job security, sequential experience building, and promotion. By concentrating on permanent staff the project will develop their capacity, experience and confidence to deal with coastal management issues. The couplet will do this through workshops and informal meetings.

For more information please click here to download the Donegal working relationship report-EUCC Compiled or here to view the Donegal Partner area on the IMCORE webpage.

This learning portal brings together the results and lessons learned from the IMCORE project. This project was funded under the Interreg IVB programme from 2008 to 2011.

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