NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science has awarded more than $1.1 million for research to give coastal communities new ways to incorporate natural infrastructure, such as restored wetlands, into their coastal resilience planning for sea level rise and coastal flooding.
Coastal communities and their ecosystems are threatened by rising seas and coastal flooding that take away land, alter habitats, and make people, homes and businesses more vulnerable to coastal storms.
Rising sea levels can also change how ecosystems work, especially when combined with inundation from tides and storms.
“As more people continue to move and live near the coast we have the challenge of protecting them from coastal hazards while also protecting the ecosystems in their communities,” said Russell Callender, Ph.D., acting assistant NOAA administrator for the National Ocean Service.
“These awards will provide the new tools coastal managers need to plan for sea level rise and flooding, and improve the coastal resilience of their communities and the ecosystem that sustains them.”
Funding, under NOAA’s Ecological Effects of Sea Level Rise Program and Climate Vulnerability Initiative, will support these five new projects in California, Oregon, North Carolina and Hawaii:
- Oregon State University ($347,715 in two awards) to improve modeling tools used by San Francisco Bay managers to restore marshes and predict vulnerability of wetlands to sea level rise. Also, a new coastal storm recovery tool will assess the effects of storms to North Carolina beaches, dunes, and backshore ecosystems today and in the future;
- University of North Carolina ($199,380) tounderstand and predict how the ecosystem will change in response to the combined effects of sea level rise, tides, and storm surge on marshes. They will focus on how North Carolina’s marshes can protect coastal shorelines;
- The Nature Conservancy ($176,055) to help managers predict how sea level rise and climate change will affect coastal habitats in west Hawaii;
- Oregon State University / NOAA Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies ($444,743) to look how natural infrastructure can protect coastal Oregon homeowners from floods, and how much those homeowners are willing to pay for any improvements. This is this first project in a program established through the joint NOAA-Oregon State University Hatfield Cooperative Institute of Marine Resources Studies to look at the economic value of protecting the shore with natural infrastructure.