In the Urdaibai reserve and especially in the estuary area there is a wide variety of uses and interests that are often difficult to reconcile.
The installation of an non-intrusive KOSTAsystem for monitoring can provide direct information and the products derived from the analysis of data can be of great interest for each of the activities taking place in the area and whose development depends on the hydrodynamic conditions (waves, currents, sea level …) and the configuration of the different sedimentary components of the system (channel, bar, beaches, dunes, inland shelves…). Even more interesting is the benefit of greater awareness of all these processes and ultimately the dynamics of the estuary as a whole (being able to understand and predict changes in its evolution), while reconciling the different uses of the same (dredging or reclamation versus recreational use).
We can outline predominant activities such as the particular interests in the use of the area including:
Navigation: at the mouth of the estuary and adjacent inland areas are Mundaka port and areas where artisanal and recreational fishing boats are berthed. For navigation the main interest lies both in the direct control of the oceanographic parameters (wave height at the mouth, currents and sea level) and monitoring the seaworthiness of the different areas of the estuary (monitoring the situation of the bar and the navigation channel, monitoring the situation of inner shelves …).
Interest arising from high natural value of the environment: The Urdaibai reserve is one of the natural areas of most interest in the Basque Country. Declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, it has been developing various activities of regeneration and recovery of numerous elements and ecosystems that form part of it. So the KOSTASystem is an ideal tool to monitor and study the evolution of different morphological elements of the estuary (beach, dunes, channels …) currently one of the activities where the greatest effort is being made. So the KOSTASystem allows continuous monitoring of both the oceanographic conditions that affect the area (swell, tides …) and the layout of the various elements (depths, beaches, canals …). It also allows you to easily monitor the topography of the intertidal area or estimate the bathymetry and current speed.
Industrial activities: the main industrial activity producing a conflict of interest in the area is the Murueta shipyards. These yards are located in the inner estuary and are forced to make periodic dredging to remove their boats because of the great variability of the drafts that these types of system have. With a better understanding of the situation of the drafts at all times and the general behaviour of the system and its possible future development this can be helpful when planning new dredging.
Leisure use: all the Basque coast beaches are heavily used during the summer. The Urdaibai area with several sandy beaches, easy access and relative proximity to major population centres is the one with the largest influx. The KOSTASystem enables the monitoring of this type of use of coastline to be carried out. In addition at the mouth of the estuary is a sandy bar commonly known as the” Mundaka sandbar” both because of it characteristic shape, size and reduced variability, and as a prime location from the point of view of weather and sea conditions , which are suitable for surfing, making the town of Mundaka an international benchmark for the sport.