-A +A

Coastal protection

The focus topic “Coastal protection” will develop enduring, long-term strategies for coastal protection along the German coast of the Baltic Sea. Conflicts with other sectors such as tourism and environmental protection will be addressed. Sensitivity analyses will identify priority coastal areas and protection measures. Monitoring will record subtle changes in water levels, sea swells and currents.

Approximately 70% of the Baltic Sea coastline in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein federal states is subject to sustained sediment erosion and is thus directly affected by the retreat of the coastline. Coastal protection, including the protection of inland areas from flooding and coastline stabilization, is already associated with high investment costs. Given the predicted sea level rise associated with climate change, it is expected that the costs of maintaining current levels of protection will grow even more. In addition, the middle- and long-term applicability and effectiveness of common constructions and strategies for coastal protection are put into question.

The aim of the module is twofold: 1) to develop enduring, long-term strategies for coastal protection on the German Baltic coast incorporating the knowledge on current storm flooding and coastal protection; and 2) to develop an early prioritization of individual coastal sections or protection measures along with an appropriate scope and timeline for action.

Given the long timeframes for planning, it is important to already analyze the safety situation of existing coastal protection structures under changing hydrodynamic conditions. Important links exist especially with tourist shoreline uses and nature conservation.

The activities will concentrate on project focus areas where current coastal protection problems will be taken up and analyzed against the background of changing climatic conditions. These include

 Bay of Lübeck:
  • Impacts of changing hydrodynamic conditions and the expected shoreline retreat on coastal protection and development of adaptation strategies for shoreline stabilization for existing housing constructions on steep banks (Sierksdorf, Dahme) and for landward bound beaches in tourist communities (Großenbrode, Dahme, Kellenhusen, Grömitz, Sierksdorf to Niendorf).
  • Impacts of increasing storm activity and development of adaptation strategies for coastal flooding protection to address increased storm activity, in particular in areas with limited potential for flood protection (Neustadt-Pelzerhaken, Sierksdorf to Niendorf, Travemünde).
  • Incorporating port industry interests when establishing adaption measures relevant to climate change impacts. These impacts include, for example, longer duration of high water levels associated with storms, increasing silt accumulation due to changing sediment currents, increasing inland and coastal water levels (Travemünde: the largest European ferry port, Port of Lübeck: the largest German Baltic Sea port).
Bay of Kiel / Eckernförde Bay:
  • Impacts on coastal and flood protection due to changing water levels and other changing hydrodynamic conditions resulting from climate change in Eckernförde Bay (Eckernförde site) and possible implications and interactions with tourism. For example, several camping sites in Eckernförde Bay are located in flood prone areas. 
  • Adaptive quality management/development of Eckernförde beach with respect to the threat of an anticipated increased retreat of the shoreline. 
  • The risk of seawater intrusion at Windebyer Noor.


  • Impacts of changing hydrodynamic and sedimentation conditions resulting from climate change on the coastal and flood protection in the surrounding region of the Hansestadt Rostock (Warnemünde, Markgrafenheide, Rostock City, etc.) along with appropriate concepts for shoreline protection and structural design. 
  • Shoreline and flood protection system at Markgrafenheide integrating protective dunes, flood protection dikes and walls. 
  • Urban flood protection in Rostock and Warnemünde with dunes, dikes and shore walls. 

Fischland, Darß, Zingst:

  • Future efficiency of the breakwater shoreline protection system from Wustrow to Ahrenshoop.
  • Impacts of changing climatic conditions and water levels on the intrusion of the Baltic Sea into coastal lagoons, using the example of the bottleneck south of Wustrow. 
  • Future morphological development and concepts for shoreline protection for a highly erosive surf shoreline using Dierhagen as an example: Will the system of erosion protection, using shoreface nourishment, spur dikes, dune reinforcement and dikes, remain full-proof in the future? Investigating possible changes resulting from climate change in leeward erosion areas of existing and planned recreational ports in the region of Prerow-Zingst.
The focus network „Coastal protection” builds upon already existing structures and directly involves the authorities responsible for coastal protection.

The research results and ensuing recommendations will be discussed in thematic working panels for coastal protection and by the Kuratorium für Forschung im Küsteningenieurwesen (Board for Research in Coastal Engineering – KFKI), which is supported at the Federal and State level.

Partners involved: 
Universität Rostock, Fachgebiet Küstenwasserbau (URCE); Staatliches Amt für Umwelt und Natur (StAUN) Rostock, Abteilung Küste; Landesbetrieb Küstenschutz, Nationalpark und Meeresschutz in Schleswig-Holstein (LKN)
University of Rostock
Institute of Environmental Engineering
Coastal Engineering Research Group (URCE)
Straße, Nr.: 
Justus-v.-Liebig-Weg 6, LAG II
PLZ, Ort: 
18059 Rostock
Contact person: 
Contact person: 
Dr.-Ing. Peter Fröhle