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Mapping partnership in Cayman Islands demonstrates nature’s role in coastal resilience

News Item 2022

We have recently collaborated with the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) on a survey to produce data which will be used to support development of tools designed to improve understanding of nature's role in coastal resilience against natural disasters in the Cayman Islands.

We are supporting the Cayman Islands' Government, with assistance from the Conflict Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), to develop practical tools to map and model how nature can enhance coastal resilience to natural disasters such as storm surge and inland flooding.

As part of the work we assessed the Islands’ vulnerability to storm surge and inland flooding, along with the role and value of the natural environment (e.g. coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds) in mitigating the impacts.

Recognising the benefits in working together, we collaborated with UKHO on the survey specification to ensure it met the needs of both organisations for hydrographic data and habitat mapping. This reduced the cost of the survey work required and cut the carbon footprint, halving the flight time for the lidar survey as well as travel for the survey team.

The survey was part of the initial phase of a £1 million seabed mapping project for the Cayman Islands, undertaken by UKHO, the leading centre for measuring the physical features of oceans, seas and coastal areas.  The aim of the seabed mapping project was to improve navigation and maritime compliance in the Cayman Islands, as well as to support coral reef and flood modelling work.

Amanda Gregory, Senior Overseas Territories Adviser at JNCC stated: "We were delighted to work together with UKHO to maximise the data potential for the Cayman Islands, support the assessment of communities at risk and identify opportunities for nature to enhance coastal resilience."

The UKHO’s seabed mapping survey sheds light on activity in surrounding waters, supports the islands’ sustainable blue economy and enables safe navigation. The data were presented by UKHO to the Government of the Cayman Islands at an official handover on 15 June 2022.

Find out more about our Climate change adaptation and hurricane disaster resilience in the UK Overseas Territories project.

Find out more about the UKHO's survey through UKHO's press release.

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