Co-Designing Coastal Resilience

LocationWestport, Mayo, Ireland

A community stewardship vision for nature-based action

Bertra 2050 is a Community Stewardship Vision for Bertra’s Natural Heritage, co-created by stakeholders including Mayo County Council, NPWS, Bertra Connected, locals and users to address erosion from sea level rise, storms, and recreational use. Despite various interventions, erosion has worsened, necessitating new approaches. This project leverages local and expert knowledge to develop soft, nature-based engineering solutions and build community capacity for regenerative action. The Vision serves as a roadmap for implementing these solutions and securing future funding, aiming to inspire positive action to save Bertra’s dunes.

Interconnected programs for protection, restoration and behaviour change

The deteriorating condition

Erosion has significantly reduced Bertra's dune system over the past 12 years. Satellite images from 2010 to 2022 show a 62% decrease in vegetative cover, primarily marram grass, which binds the dunes. If this erosion rate continues, the remaining cover will disappear in eight years, leading to the loss of habitats, tourism, recreational quality, shelter for homes and infrastructure, and even the beach sand. Consequently, Bertra, as we know it, would cease to exist.

Dune Ecosystem Reduction

Causes Of Danger

Current Approach Is Not Working

What Are The Solutions?

If we don't act

The damage already done to Bertra is stark when compared to what it would look like when healthy. The situation in Bertra is critical and unless action is taken there is a real danger that Bertra as we know it will disappear in the coming years.

Challenges & solutions

There is hope, and the degradation can be reversed. Over a four month period in 2022, a series of workshops with local stakeholders helped to understand the constraints and opportunities that exist in Bertra and potential solutions to reverse its trajectory. Restoring Bertra 2050, a community stewardship vision is the result of this process.

Visions for the future

To help imagine how solutions would be implemented and how this might incrementally change Bertra, strengthening the dune system and improving its resilience, ACT visualized the processes and change.

Incremental changes

The vision programs will work in concert protecting and enhancing the dune system and helping to change peoples behavior and use of the dunes and beach.

Monitoring and restoration

Citizen science programs and nature based solutions that work with the natural structure of the ecosystem will be used to monitor the dunes health and aid in their restoration. Overtime this will result in the growth of the dune system.

Imagining a bright future

The outcome of the stewardship programs working in concert will be the restoration of Bertra's dunes and the continuation of their role as an important piece of social and natural heritage helping to protect Clew Bay.

The strategic process and roadmap

Dune restoration, protection, and behavior change programs will be coordinated through a cooperative management plan. Key to this effort are soft engineering and nature-based solutions that restore the site's wildness. Public engagement through events and informative signage aims to change usage patterns. Each program includes projects and initiatives to limit damage and restore the dunes, fostering a healthy dune system for people and nature. The goal is for Bertra to become a model for coastal restoration for future generations.

Bertra 2050 Vision Goals

Building A Bertra Vision 2050

Management Plan

Short, Medium and Long Term Actions


Vision Development
  • Inna Stryzhak
  • James McConville
  • Kevin Loftus
  • Liling Martin
  • Leah Thornton