NOAA Sea Grant Initiates $1.2 Million Community Climate Change Adaptation Initiative

September 9, 2010

Sea-level rise has the potential to reshape the coastal environment.

Sea-level rise has the potential to reshape the coastal environment.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program has launched a one-time $1.2 million effort to help coastal communities prepare for the impacts of climate change. The initiative is supporting rapid response, community-based, climate adaptation demonstration projects in coastal and Great Lakes states. NOAA is providing $990,000, and universities and community partners are contributing $247,000 for this effort.

The Community Climate Change Adaptation Initiative represents a new approach, both in the scope and the number of communities it will address, to helping communities prepare for the effects of climate change. The demonstration projects will help communities develop strategies to address coastal inundation, sea-level rise, drought, more frequent and intense coastal storms, and other impacts associated with climate change.

Each university Sea Grant program has received $30,000 to conduct demonstration projects addressing coastal environmental changes anticipated as a result of climate change. The projects provide communities with credible, science-based information to help them consider alternatives, make informed decisions, and ultimately develop and implement customized solutions for local climate change impacts.

"Climate scientists, including many supported by Sea Grant, are finding increasing evidence of environmental changes induced by global climate change,” said Leon Cammen, director of the National Sea Grant College Program. “These changes threaten the economic and social well-being of coastal communities. Our aim is to enable communities to make well-informed decisions and adaptation plans.”

Extension and outreach specialists from Sea Grant universities are working with approximately 200 coastal communities through the demonstration projects. Most of the projects, which were proposed by local Sea Grant programs in partnership with the communities, are providing information and training in local hazard resiliency, and hazard mitigation tools, techniques, and best practices. They are expected to be complete by October 2010.

Sea Grant specialists will then continue working with a subset of the communities beyond October to adopt and implement sustainable economic and environmental development practices and policies relating to climate change adaptation.

“The scope of these projects covers communities ranging from small Pacific island fishing villages to major metropolitan areas such as Chicago and Los Angeles,” said Joshua Brown, manager of the initiative for the National Sea Grant College Program. “No one has really worked on climate adaptation in the United States on this fine a scale with this breadth of coverage. This represents a tangible commitment to provide climate adaptation resources on a local level.”

Demonstration Projects by Region

Northeast

Mid-Atlantic

Southeast

Gulf of Mexico

Great Lakes

West Coast

Pacific

Sea Grant is a nationwide network of 32 university-based programs that work with coastal communities. The National Sea Grant College Program engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training, and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our aquatic resources.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Find us on Facebook.