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Managed realignment is the process of deliberately altering flood defences to allow flooding of a defended area. Managing the flooding helps to avoid uncertain outcomes and negative impacts. It also helps to maximise the potential benefits (Leggett et al. 2004).
Realignment generally involves setting back a line of actively maintained defences to a new line, inland of the original, or preferably to rising ground. Doing so can promote intertidal habitat creation between the old and new defences. In most cases, the objective of realignment is to create saltmarshes. Saltmarshes develop between mean high water springs (MHWS) and mean low water springs (MLWS) in areas shaped largely by tidal processes and where silt and mud are predominant (French 1997). These intertidal habitats are very effective in attenuating wave energy and reducing offshore sediment transport, thereby decreasing erosion.