About the project

The European littoral ecosystems are degraded due to intense economic and urbanistic activity and high population density within these areas. As a consequence, coastal areas are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The expected scenarios predict a high risk of disasters within these areas, such as sea level rise or extreme weather events like floods or storms.

In Europe, approximately one fifth of the population lives  within 10 km from the coast and many littoral areas are already below sea level. Therefore, there is a need for coastal communities to adapt to climate change risks. Thus far, most of the prevention actions have been based on built engineering solutions like dykes or seawalls. More recently, coastal managers worldwide are exploring Nature-based Solutions (NbS) as a sustainable alternative to deal with climate change risks in littoral areas.

The LIFE ADAPTA BLUES project aims to demonstrate that the conservation and restoration of estuarine ecosystems is an efficient strategy to enhance adaptation to climate change in coastal areas of the European Atlantic coast.

Project in numbers

City Council


The LIFE ADAPTA BLUES project have these specific objectives to achieve its main goal.


The LIFE ADAPTA BLUES project will conduct different type of actions to meet its goals.

  1. Mapping estuarine areas under reclaimed or degraded conditions in three Atlantic EU regions. Characterizing the restoration potential
  2. Development of standardized protocol for the quantification of the CC services provided by European estuaries and application in three Atlantic European regions.
  1. Development of a standardized protocol for the assessment of the resilience of estuarine habitats to climate change.
  1. Flooding risk assessment in three estuarine regions of the Atlantic coast under future scenarios of Climate Change.
  1. Project dissemination
  2. Creation of an online-platform of NbS in Europe to support the implementation of estuaries restoration and conservation for CC adaptation.
  3. Capacity Building through the development of an open online Specialist Diploma and three technical workshops.
  4. Networking with other projects
  5. Social awareness
  1. Development of technical recommendations for Climate Change adaptation and mitigation pathways in three European estuarine regions.
  2. Enhancement of saltmarsh restoration as a Climate Change adaptation strategy in a pilot case study, the Mondego estuary.
  3. Capitalization of experiences of oyster restoration projects and link to market based approaches.
  4. To explore jointly with the insurance sector the feasibility of development of an innovative coastal flood insurance based on the capacity of estuarine ecosystems to reduce total cost of flood risk.
  1. Project management by IHCantabria
  2. LIFE ADAPTA BLUES Closing Meeting
  1. Monitoring restoration actions in the Mondego estuary
  2. Life performance indicators
  3. Monitoring the socio-economic impact of the project


The LIFE ADAPTA BLUES is develop in three different European regions: Coimbra (Portugal), Cantabria (Spain) and Zeeland (The Netherlands). Preparatory and implementation actions aiming to develop technical recommendations for Climate Change adaptation and mitigation pathways are based on five estuaries, distributed in the three regions of the project, the Mondego estuary in Coimbra, the Oyambre estuary, Santander Bay and Santoña Marshes in Cantabria and the Western Scheldt in Zeeland. These estuaries encompass a broad range of ecological and socioeconomical characteristics to represent the wide variety of estuaries in the Atlantic coast of Europe.  In addition, the project will undertake the restoration of saltmarsh communities in the Mondego estuary, in Coimbra, a highly impacted estuary due to human activities and where the foresight of sea-level rise may pose serious threats to adjacent local communities.

Nature Based Solutions

Nature Based Solutions (NbS) cover a range of approaches which use natural processes and species to address societal challenges and provide solutions for environmental problems. These strategies deploy the essential properties of nature to propose alternatives that are sustainable, cost-effective and flexible, not only from the environmental scope but also from the economic one. The goal is to renature cities and make societies more sustainable and prosperous: it is about working with nature not against it.

The LIFE ADAPTA BLUES project focuses on the restoration of estuarine ecosystems as a Nature Based Solution to remediate the risks related to climate change in coastal areas. European estuaries have reduced their extension due to land reclamation and the spread of invasive species, among other hazards. The loss of estuaries surface implies the loss of all the benefits these ecosystems have on coastal areas.

  1. Estuaries serve as buffers of flooding and extreme sea levels.
  2. Estuarine ecosystems, such as saltmarshes, protect coastal areas from erosion by dampening wave energy.
  3. These ecosystems can build land through the enhancement of sediment accumulation and soil elevation.
  4. Vegetated coastal ecosystems like mangroves, saltmarshes or seagrasses can store CO2. They contribute to climate change mitigation, forming the so-called group of Blue Carbon.
  5. Estuaries assist multiple services for coastal communities, such as fisheries and biodiversity support, water quality improvement and recreational and cultural benefits.