Follow our e-learning course.

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".

Lough Swilly

Our partners addressed coastal and climate issues through development of a strategy aimed at integration and co-ordination of management agencies

map lought

See a close up on Google Maps

Who we are:

The University of Ulster’s Centre for Coastal and Marine Research (CCMR) and Donegal County Council (DCC)

Key climate change issues:

Sea level rise and increases in sea temperature. Increased storminess may also have detrimental affects. Click on this link to learn more about Climate Change in Lough Swilly; coastal activities that could be affected, drivers and impacts and our institutional framework.

What we did:

  • Followed the IMCORE approach to develop the Lough Swilly Climate Change Adaptation Strategy

  • The Lough Swilly Environmental and Activity Audit a first step towards Marine Spatial Planning

  • Lough Swilly: A Living Landscape. A semi academic publication

  • Proposals for a Marine Discovery Centre.

The Lough Swilly coastal adaptation strategy

Click here to download the Donegal adaptation strategy

Our unique approach:

  • A strategic approach to the development of the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy by involving a consultative group comprising local authority staff, elected members and representatives from state organisations with management responsibility.

  • The process was structured and focused, with a clear objective; this avoided the perception of "just another talking shop".

What we achieved:

To bring strategic management agencies together for what they have described a very useful and interesting exercise.

A consensus that improved co-ordination of efforts by all management agencies is required.

Improved awareness of climate and coastal change issues.

What we learned:

The future for adaptation in Lough Swilly is uncertain due to the current political climate, lack of statutory remit and policy funding. Climate Change will be part of the County Development Plan in Donegal but without a statutory responsibility for adaptation its prioritisation is difficult.

Read the full summary text of the Lough Swilly case study

Planning to adapt in Lough Swilly:

Engaging stakeholders


o We targeted the public via community newsletters, magazine articles, e-zines and posters.

o We held workshops with the Town Council to promote the project locally, and to secure financial backing.

o Buy in and commitment of the partners involved is crucial.

o Financial backing must be available and provided for the length of the project. The uncertainty around employment and stability hampered the communication of the project. IMCORE Staff were cautious about promoting the project as there was a strong possibility that the project would not continue for the Donegal Partner due to the economic downturn.



Identifying the issues

 guidance1To identify the coastal and climate change issues in Lough Swilly we:

o Hosted a workshop with Donegal County Council staff

o Had a high level meeting with senior management in the Council

o Identified relevant strategic state agencies with management responsibility in Lough Swilly

o Conducted telephone interviews with staff from these agencies and set up a Lough Swilly Consultative Group to input to the IMCORE process in Lough Swilly

The issues workshop did not work as intended:

o Participants could have been better researched and the adaptation process better understood.

o We should have included a wider group of participants.

o We also realised that it is not necessary to hold a separate issue identification workshop to gather this information. Once participants have been identified it would be possible to gather the information using telephone interviews.



Developing future scenarios

guidance2 o The expert couplet hosted an exploratory scenario workshop with all members of the Lough Swilly Consultative Group, using PESTLE analysis.

o Using the information from the workshop 4 exploratory scenario narratives were developed by IMCORE staff and circulated to the group for comment

o Knowing the participants is very important when it comes to group work. In hindsight we would split our group differently for the scenario workshop.

o Strong facilitation and preparation is the key. Preparation, preparation, preparation and practice, practice, practice!


Designing the adaptation strategy


To develop the Lough Swilly Adaptation strategy we subdivided the Consultative Group, (elected members and state agency representatives).  We hosted two workshops, one with each sub group.

o Both the adaptation workshops went well and participants engaged fully in the process.

o The most difficult aspect was the selection of the preferred scenario and ensuring participants did not jump forward to identifying general actions without having first identified the preferred scenario.

o The process was successful in identifying numerous strategic actions however in depth discussions with the group identified strategy implementation as a key hurdle. It was recognized that mainstreaming of the strategy would be important to overcome this.

o Agencies were reluctant to take the lead or formally sign up to any specific action due to current economic and resource constraints; however, there was agreement that there is a need to address the issues identified throughout the process and for the strategic actions to be carried out. It was recognized that mainstreaming of the strategy would be important to overcome this.



Building institutional capacity

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.


Supporting initiatives in Lough Swilly


Read more about our Marine Spatial Planning Review, an Environmental Audit of Lough Swilly, a Marine Discovery Centre proposal and a book to increase awareness about the Lough Swilly environment and it's resources and promote marine spatial planning.


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.

 footertransparent updated