Kosrae Shoreline Management Plan

Name of case study

 Kosrae Shoreline Management Plan


Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia





Area / size

Kosrae is 111m2

NbS employed

Managed realignment (intertidal)

Type of NbS

Combination; Hybrid living/engineered interventions; Created or constructed living ecosystems; Ecological restoration


Government of Kosrae; Kosrae Island Resource Management Authority


Government of Kosrae



Design group

Government of Kosrae; Kosrae Island Resource Management Authority

Kosrae. Photo: Hideaway Holidays
Coastal inundation in Lelu Island, Kosrae. Photo: CCCPIR
Climate change benefits
  • Changes in phenology
  • Changes in rainfall
  • Coastal erosion
  • Saltwater intrusion into aquifers
  • Flooding
  • Increased incidence / distribution of disease
  • Increased pests / weeds
  • Loss of food production
  • reduced fresh water availability / quality

Kosrae has been severely affected by climate change in recent years. Flooding of land from the sea due to large swell events, high tide flooding, typhoons, and cyclones are common and lead to widespread coastal inundation. Coastal communities, both human and non-human can be protected from storm surges, flooding and sea level rise with managed realignment and the creation of intertidal habitats. The Kosrae shoreline plan acknowledges the importance of those habitats and seeks to protect and improve them. 

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Societal / socio-cultural benefits
  • Food security
  • Empowerment / equality
  • Waste management and hygiene
  • Freshwater security and quality

The people of Kosrae are at risk from climate change and need to implement strategies for managing coastal hazards. The Government’s plan acknowledges the sad fact that there is no solution, but that adaptation should focus on how to manage the natural environment to support mitigation of coastal hazards. Implementation of managed realignment and caring for intertidal habitats is a simple and very cost-effective way for Kosrae to increase resilience to sea level rise, flooding and storm surge. 

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Ecological benefits
  • Biological control (regulation of pests and disease)
  • Habitat provision

The intertidal habitat is unique in that it supports life both in the ocean and on land. In Kosrae, coastal environments have been damaged and influenced by infrastructure and community building. Ensuring the shoreline as a protected environment, and moving building projects inland as part of managed retreat is a key way that Kosrae will protect itself in the future.

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Summary of case study

Kosrae is a small island, 111m2 in area with a population of around 6,500 people, in Micronesia. 

The Kosrae Shoreline Management Plan is the plan put in place by the Government of Kosrae to address the continued effects of climate change on their shorelines. 

The Plan recognises that the most effective coastal defence is the natural coastal ecosystem and the interaction between the watershed, the wetland and swamp forest, mangroves, coastal berm and beach, reef flat and seagrass, and surrounding fringing coral reef. Most community and infrastructure development on Kosrae is within the coastal margins, so protection of the shoreline is essential for its survival. Maintaining and protecting the intertidal habitats are an important part of building resilience.

Since the turn of the century, Kosrae has been working on coastline protection through education, inland development and risk management strategies, but this 2013 plan has a closer focus on nature-based solutions as a way to manage the shorelines. It notes the risk associated with reclamation of mangrove and shoreline areas, and lays out a plan to protect coastal wetlands from road development. 

The strategies put in place focus on nature-based design solutions that will increase climate change resilience and maintain intertidal habitats. 

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Awareness poster developed in 1999 by the Development Review Commission in Kosrae. Image: CCCPIR

Further resources:

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