Smith Warner International officially launches Coastal Hazard Vulnerability Project Dominica

(L-r) Hydroinformatics Engineer Graham Jervis, Gabrielle Abraham

Smith Warner International (SWI) has officially launched the Coastal Hazard Vulnerability Project (CHVP), in Dominica. Smith Warner, which started with three people and one project, was incorporated in Jamaica in 1995 by Dr David AY Smith and Philip Warner. Now there are 45 people and multiple projects.

The purpose of the project is to reduce the coastal vulnerability of citizens through improved access to data and strengthened decision-making autonomy of communities, and key sectors of Dominica, reliant on coastal resources. With its ecosystem-based approach, the project tries to avoid fighting against the sea by looking for more sustainable solutions that work with the sea.

The vulnerability assessment target areas are located in Dublanc, Coulihaut, Mero Beach, Layou Village, Newtown, Scotts Head, Dubic/Fond. GIS Specialist & Project Manager Smith Warner International Limited, Gabrielle Abraham listed two of their main objectives as a comprehensive coastal erosion and vulnerability assessment, and resilience publication.

“We at Smith Warner did an assessment many years ago in 2007 so definitely now in 2023 technology is a lot more advanced. We have drones, much better satellite imagery, we are also going to do beach profiles assessment, and shoreline analysis,” she said at the launching event on Friday at Fort Young.

She stated that companies have only done rapid assessments which is usually something that can be done with satellite imagery but this project is going to be a detailed one, where persons actually come in do the surveys, and do the analysis on the ground in Dominica.  Other objectives are a Piloted Coastal Citizen Stewardship Programme for community ownership of coastal management across Dominica, Coast Snap Points, and Flood Hazard Campaigns.

In previous years, SWI did two projects in Dominica. In 2007, Following extensive damage from Hurricane Dean, one of the founders, Dr David Smith, was part of a United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN ECLAC) team that assessed damages to agriculture, buildings, and infrastructure so that funding agencies would know the extent of the damage and requirements for rebuilding. In 2021, a client wanted to enhance the beach area in front of Anichi Beach Development.

Abraham noted that the expectations of this project are improving coastal vulnerability data in Dominica, strengthened sustainability of coastal zone, monitoring, and practical resilience guidelines

She also added that another initiative from the project is “Coast Snap” which is a tool utilized on mobile phones. It relies on repeat photos at the same location to track how the coast is changing over time due to processes such as storms, rising sea levels, human activities, and other factors.

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  1. silentmajorityoverforty
    August 22, 2023

    From listening to their presentation, this project will go to the heart of our communities to get our people more aware of coastal problems and involve them in monitoring changes to our coastlines. Hopefully the training will also help our ministries to implement recommendations as it is ultimately our responsibility to carry through work done by experts.

  2. August 22, 2023

    Yes a lot of time the recommendations are not implemented. However with the right mix of public education, support from the managing agency or ministry of government, and technical thoroughness from the consultant, we can move the meter. With the onset of climate change we in our small islands no longer have time to sit and comment only. Action is needed.

  3. glo_sho
    August 21, 2023

    A lot of these reports are conducted and not off these finding are 95% of the times never implemented or appreciated.. These firms just do those jobs to cash in a cheque most times.

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    • LawieBawie
      August 22, 2023

      If these firm are contracted by our government to carry out the work, of course they will grab the opportunity to do so and make some money. After they have finished their work and handed over their findings to the government, it is then in our best interest to work on improving the situation based on that empirical evidence.

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