From Sea to Resilience Sea and High Point in Between – Resilience across Gradient and Scales

From Sea to Resilience Sea and High Point in Between – Resilience across Gradient and Scales

Alex Score
Time Slot: 
Concurrent Sessions 8

From sea to resilient sea, come experience firsthand the ground-breaking approaches and solutions being advanced across this great country. From coastal highway adaption in San Francisco Bay to community resilience building in Massachusetts to adaption feasibility tools in rural Virginia to a climate change atlas for the Chesapeake Bay watershed to future flood resilience along the Gulf of Mexico. This session is guaranteed to round out your NAF experience and fill your resilient task list with experts, examples, and projects you can replicate and leverage back home. Come join us!


Resilience to Future Flooding in the Gulf of Mexico
Mikaela Heming, Northern Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Site Cooperative / Miss. State Univ.
  • Renee Collini, NGOM SSC / Miss. State Univ. / MS-AL Sea Grant
  • Christina Mohrman, GOMA
  • Christine Buckel, NOAA NCCOS
  • Melissa Daigle, LSU
  • Stephen Deal, Univ. of MS / NOAA
  • Marian Hanisko, NOAA OCM
  • David Kidwell, NOAA NCCOS
  • Rhonda Price, MS DMR
  • Carrie Stevenson, UF/IFAS Extension
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The Gulf of Mexico is an area of rich culture and beautiful coastlines; however, coastal living comes with ever-increasing risk. Communities are already experiencing increased flooding and exacerbated storm surge - both due in part to sea-level rise (SLR). Many Gulf communities are already taking steps to become more resilient to current and future hazards, helping them bounce back after storms or be ready for future conditions. Through a series of short films, a new video project showcases five communities - one per Gulf state - that have taken on various resilience strategies. Each video includes content to make it more relevant to the primary audience: communities and decision-makers in the northern Gulf (Mississippi, Alabama, and northwest Florida). Content includes local information about these types of strategies and available resources for the northern Gulf. Additionally, this project generated three 'sea-level rise 101' videos specific to the northern Gulf of Mexico. The 101 videos cover basic information about SLR in the northern Gulf, how SLR will change storm surge, and information on how SLR resilience can be integrated into planning. Altogether, this project aims to help communities across the northern Gulf prepare for this pressing issue.

Incorporating Resilience into Coastal Highway Adaptation Planning and Design: A San Francisco Bay Case Study
Kristin Tremain Davis, AECOM
  • Justin Vandever, AECOM
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California’s State Route 37 (SR 37) traverses twenty miles of low-lying tidal marsh along San Francisco Bay’s northern shoreline, passing through the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The route crosses five riverine floodplains with some portions directly fronting San Francisco Bay and others protected by aging levees. The highway provides a critical east-west linkage, accessing job centers, world renowned wine regions, and recreation. The corridor is ground zero for transportation sea level rise adaptation planning in the Bay Area – as highlighted by a recent flooding closure of the highway. Crippling congestion further contributes to the urgency of recent regional planning efforts to address current and future needs along the corridor.
The Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), along with the four North Bay counties, is undertaking a project to develop a more resilient SR 37 to address these core issues – traffic, flooding, and sea level rise – while integrating environmental enhancements and mitigation into the project. An environmental stakeholder working group is informing the hydrological and ecological aspects of the highway redesign. Through this process, the project team has developed a better understanding of the highway’s interaction with the surrounding environment and how the highway can facilitate, not impede, future wetland restoration actions. This presentation will highlight the ways MTC is breaking the traditional transportation project development paradigm to incorporate resilience into planning and design in order to develop a successful major infrastructure project that fits within the unique, and environmentally sensitive, landscape of north San Francisco Bay.

Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program – Community Resilience Building from the Ground Up across Massachusetts
Adam W Whelchel, The Nature Conservancy
  • Katie Theoharides, Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
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In 2017, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts launched the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program that awards funding to support municipalities across the state planning for resiliency and developing climate change adaptation actions. The MVP relies on the Community Resilience Building (CRB) process to help communities 1) define implications of extreme weather and natural and climate-related hazards, 2) identify existing and future vulnerabilities and strengths, 3) develop and prioritize actions for community resilience, and 4) implement key actions identified through the planning process. Over 300 MVP certified providers were trained to contractually provide technical assistance to communities completing assessments and resiliency plan using the CRB Framework. Communities who complete their CRB workshops become certified as an MVP community and are eligible for MVP Action grant funding. The results from over 142 MVP municipalities (43% of state) including top hazards, vulnerabilities/strengths, top priority actions, and case studies will be presented. The MVP provides an example of how a state program can activate, support, and advance municipal-based community resilience building quickly at an effective scale.

Engaging Rural Virginia Communities in Coastal Resilience using the RAFT (Resilience Adaptation Feasibility Tool)
Michelle Covi, Old Dominion University/ Virginia Sea Grant extension partner
  • Elizabeth Andrews, Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William and Mary Law School
  • Angela King, Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William And Mary Law School
  • Tanya Denckla Cobb, Institute for Environmental Negotiations at University of Virginia
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The Resilience Adaptation Feasibility Tool (RAFT) is a “full service” program to assist coastal localities in strengthening their resilience to increasing flooding due to climate change. The RAFT was developed by an academic interdisciplinary collaborative, the University of Virginia Institute for Environmental Negotiation, the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William & Mary Law School, and the Old Dominion University/Virginia Sea Grant Climate Adaptation and Resilience Program. The RAFT features three key components: (1) a Scorecard, a comprehensive assessment of the locality’s resilience; (2) a community workshop to create a one-year Resilience Action Checklist, and (3) Implementation Assistance. The RAFT scorecard was developed in conjunction with an expert advisory committee and was reviewed by a series of focus groups, including locality users and experts in social equity.

The RAFT was piloted in 2017 in three communities of different jurisdiction types and in different coastal regions of the state: a city, a town and a county. All of the communities prioritized outreach/education as critical to the success of resilience action and requested assistance in green infrastructure planning. The rural communities identified management of their roads and associated stormwater infrastructure as a significant barrier to their resilience, particularly because the state is responsible for rural roads and is not always responsive to the changing flood situation at the community level. Using the lessons learned from the pilots, a regional approach focused on capacity building across the Eastern Shore was implemented in 2 counties and 5 towns in 2018.

A Climate Change Atlas for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed: Climate Past, Present, Future(s)?
Todd M. La Porte, George Mason University
  • Karen L. Yuan, George Mason University
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Climate adaptation requires society to respond to simultaneous challenges to nearly all public and infrastructure systems. Adaptation activities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed testify to this.

Yet despite unprecedented amounts of climate and historical data, and availability of future climate projections, this information is generally not synthesized or integrated across natural and human systems. The complexity and spatial scale of climate data and the heterogeneity of social, economic and institutional data, make it difficult for infrastructure and large public system operators to get relevant 2nd – and 3rd –order climate impact information.

Against this deficit, coastal zone, floodplain, wastewater treatment, transportation, public health system managers and others struggle to plan for medium and long-term responses to climate change. In addition, the lack of lay participation in producing integrated assessments results in reduced accuracy and legitimacy of outputs.

A regional climate atlas coupled with watershed-wide public engagement activities may help bring needed information and participation to these managers, as well as to political leaders and the public. This project aims to realize the promise of participatory GIS by providing integrated climate and climate impact assessments in familiar and consistent map formats through engagement with communities across the Chesapeake Bay land-, wetland and bay-scapes.

Using integrated atlas-based GIS mapping, historical and speculative engagement practices, we hope to explore cross-sector climate change effects and institutional interdependencies at a regional scale. If successful, this effort could be replicated across major watersheds in the nation and throughout the world.