The following article emphasizes the importance of adaptation planning worldwide, with a nod to planning for sea-level rise and more intense storms in coastal communities.
Woods Hole Group has worked on a number of exciting projects related to climate change adaptation planning around New England.
We developed coastal climate change adaptation and engineering alternatives for communities in East Boston, MA. After evaluating the potential flooding impacts of sea level rise and storm events, we developed a number of site-specific alternatives ranging from management approaches (e.g., evacuation, floodproofing of structures, etc.), to soft-engineering options (e.g., beach nourishment, creation of wetlands, etc.), to more significant hard engineering structures (e.g., modular seawalls, revetments, etc.). Conceptual designs and cost estimates were prepared for each case-study. Implementation costs for adaptation strategies were compared to the potential costs incurred by flooding and storm damages over a given time horizon.
Woods Hole Group undertook a similar adaptation plan and engineering alternatives development for coastal communities in Groton, CT. Working with ICLEI, local stakeholders were integrated into the discussion through a series of three community workshops. The Coastal Climate Adaptation Workshops brought together federal, state, and local stakeholders to begin addressing the question: “how do we collaborate across political boundaries to prepare for climate change impacts?”
We also performed a risk and vulnerability assessment for the redevelopment of Martha’s Vineyard Hospital in Oak Bluffs, MA. The assessment involved ranking natural hazards (storm surge and flooding, wind, snowfall, wildfire, coastal erosion, sea-level rise, and earthquakes) in terms of severity of impact, identifying areas at risk from the hazards, and then assessing vulnerability to the risks. We supplemented this analysis by evaluating the vulnerability of critical hospital services and systems to these hazards.
Our extensive modeling and wetlands experience has also afforded us the opportunity to work on a number of salt marsh restoration projects, notably in Wellfleet, Brewster, and Salisbury, MA. These modeling efforts determined the optimal designs to restore tidal flow to coastal wetlands and regenerate critical green infrastructure for dealing with sea-level rise and storm surge.