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Where is the Pilot Site? Back to top
St. Peter-Ording is a community in Schleswig-Holstein, the most northerly Federal State of Germany. The community is on the North Sea coast on the western, exposed, side of the Eiderstedt peninsula. The study area is approximately 6,000 ha, about two thirds of this is considered to be flood-prone. Almost the whole municipality is protected by dikes with heights around 8 m above sea level. The exceptions are one section that consists of an overflow dike with a crest of 6.2 m above sea level and another section that has a natural dune belt with heights up to 18m. German Bight Coast Pilot Study Area
Why was this site chosen? Back to top

St. Peter-Ording is a seaside resort and one of the largest communities (6,300 inhabitants) in Schleswig-Holstein. The municipality also has an important regional and national function in providing health care with various hospitals and other health companies. One quarter of the total area of Schleswig-Holstein is coastal lowland, which could become flooded during extreme storm surges that can occur several times a year. Particularly extreme storm surges occurred in 1962 and 1976. In 1976 the highest recorded water level was 4.8 m above sea level. Three other storm surges in 1962, 1981, and 1999 have been above 4 m with an increase in storminess over the last decades. In St. Peter-Ording any flooding could spread far into the hinterland of Schleswig-Holstein. Therefore, flood protection for this coast is mandatory.

Four detailed studies at different scales have been carried out by the Department of Geography of the CAU Kiel looking at the flood risk for this community since 1997. Therefore, the information and data available regarding the community’s vulnerability to flooding during a major North Sea storm flood are considered to be very good. In particular, St. Peter-Ording was one of five case study sites in the state of Schleswig-Holstein where extensive research on risk assessment was carried out in the MERK project (micro-scale evaluation of risks in flood-prone coastal areas), which produced a comprehensive data set (on top of pre-existing information) with which most of the key elements for flood risk analysis can be described quantitatively in a GIS (graphical information system) format.

These studies on the one hand showed evidence that a micro-scale (detailed) approach for risk assessment is essential for really useful planning/measures, but on the other hand they also showed that such detailed risk analysis is extremely costly and time consuming. Therefore, a transferable method which still meets the detailed information requirements has to be developed.

Who is involved in the study? Back to top

As well as those organisations included in the project team, an additional advisory board exists including members from different local, regional, and federal authorities as well as non-governmental organisations.  This includes Schleswig-Holstein Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Areas, Department of Coastal Defence; Schleswig-Holstein Ministry of the Interior, Department of Disaster Management; and authorities for rural affairs in Husum and Kiel.

The following pictures show two locations along the dike line of St. Peter-Ording. The left photo was taken at the very North of the pilot site whereas the right photo shows the ‘overtopping’ dike made of asphalt at the western part of the site. ‘Overtopping’ dike is a dike where wave overtopping is tolerated.
Dike line of St. Peter-Ording ‘Overtopping’ Dike
The following photos show the area in front of the sea defences.  The left photo shows a view from the dike in the direction of the North Sea.  The right photo is a similar view but looking more to the South.
Dike line of St. Peter-Ording Dike line of St. Peter-Ording

What is the study for? Back to top

The overall aim of the pilot study is to develop and test certain parts of the flood risk management (FRM) methodology for a coastal site being developed by other tasks within the FLOODsite project. This will include looking at ways to combine the calculation of failure probability for coastal defences with evaluations of socio-economic damages; and developing an integrated micro-scale risk analysis methodology for future planning in the coastal zone that is transferable to other coastal zones.

How will the study benefit the people of the German Bight Coast? Back to top

The coastal defence authorities in the Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein intend to establish an integrated coastal defence management scheme.  The results from this pilot study should provide valuable information for future coastal defence planning within the pilot site area.

Where to find more information Back to top

Further details of this study can be found here.

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