Where does the sea begin ? A Regional Natural Park for Marennes-Oléron
Master's Diploma Project
Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Paysage - Versailles Marseille
The project, Where does the sea begin? A Regional Natural Park (PNR) for Marennes-Oléron, combines local agricultural and aqua-cultural techniques with restoration ecology. Four separate interventions are designed to complement a new territorial strategy for the region’s adaptation to simultaneously rising seas and an increasing population. Protecting the entirety of the coastlines of Charente and of the Island of Oléron against rising sea levels and coastal erosion is neither possible nor financially feasible. Significantly, according to the Conservatoire du Littoral, the études et travaux du Plan Digues en Charente-Maritime currently counts 137 dike maintenance and construction operations at an estimated cost of 250 million Euros between 2010 and 2023. In contrast, intertidal wetlands have been proven to be a superior tool for coastal resiliency. Cheaper to maintain than dikes and home to large populations of migratory birds and a diversity of both flora and fauna, intertidal wetlands actively protect coastlines from erosion, serve as a permeable barrier against sea surge and play a fundamental role in the global carbon cycle. They are also productive spaces, providing a rich and profitable food source. The creation of a Regional Natural Park of Marennes-Oléron would place these complex productive spaces at the heart of the region’s evolution, reconnecting inhabitants and visitors with this difficult and enigmatic landscape.