Coastal Zones are the most sensitive, vulnerable, and valuable areas on the planet earth. Coastal zones are located at the meeting place of three different physical domains such as hydrosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere. Coastal zones are influenced by the marine ecosystem on one side and terrestrial ecosystem on the other, and possess specific differences from other areas on earth. In the coastal zone, the interaction between the sea and the land makes some dynamic processes such as hydrodynamics, morphodynamics, sediment, and other interactions with chemical and biological origins that can be affected by the human activities. The consequences of these interactive processes can normally be seen along the shoreline and outside.
The coastal zone in the ICZM studies of Hormozgan province has been subdivided through different areas listed below:
1. Coastal area
2. Hazard Zone
3. Shore Area
4. Coastal Waters
The explanation of the above areas follows.
1. Coastal Area:
The coastal area of Hormozgan Province starts from the highest contour line from which the marine phenomena may influence the land and ends up in the coastal zone border. This borderline in the land side is delineated based on various boundaries such as boundaries of watersheds reaching the sea, contour line of the highest mountain peaks parallel to shoreline, political boundaries of coastal countries, closest access roads, legal borders of towns, boundaries of areas with population concentration, and boundaries of environmental protected areas (Figure 1).
2. Hazard Zone:
Hazard zone starts from the lowest low water level and extends to the highest contour line that marine phenomena may affect the land. This zone covers the areas between the Hazard Line and the LLW level. For delineation of the hazard zone, the cumulative effects of the short-term and long-term of the marine environment such as tides, waves, wave setup, wind setup, red tide, and changes of air pressure are considered.
3. Shore Area:
Shore area covers the area between the Highest High water level and contour line at the sea bottom that the sedimentation regimes are active (Closure Depth).
4. Coastal Waters:
Coastal waters start from the contour line at the sea bottom that the sedimentation regimes are active and ends up in the line that distances 12 nautical miles from Iran’s territorial sea baseline.
Beside the Coastal Zone, another zone has been distinguished based on its affecting characteristics on the Coastal Zone. This area is defined in such a way that it covers all the terrestrial zone that any human activity and/or natural hazard may somehow affect the coastal zone and its related ecological processes or developmental characteristics. This zone starts from the boundary of the coastal area on the land and extends up the borders of the watershed or other natural/ manmade landmarks.
Figure 1 – Schematic zoning diagram in Hormozgan Coastal Zone