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Water: Green Infrastructure

Coastal Resiliency


Sand dunes
Why Green InfrastructureHow to Resources
Why Green Infrastructure
Coastal areas are particularly vulnerable to climate change. During the 20th century, global sea level rose by roughly seven inches.[1] As global temperatures continue to climb, sea levels will likely continue to rise, storm surges will likely be amplified, and heavy storms will likely occur with greater frequency and intensity. All of these changes are expected to exacerbate shoreline erosion[2] and damage to property and infrastructure, eventually leading to potential population displacement.

Living shorelines use plants, reefs, sand, and natural barriers to reduce erosion and flooding and mitigate the associated impacts on human health and property.[3] The presence of wetlands, for example, can reduce wave heights and property damage.[4] In contrast to hard structures such as bulkheads and sea walls, vegetative shorelines provide multiple ecosystem benefits such as improved water quality, aquatic habitat and carbon sequestration[5].

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How To
Taking a green infrastructure approach, living shorelines can be a mixture of structural and organic materials, such as native wetland plants, stone and rock structures, oyster reefs, submerged aquatic vegetation, coir fiber logs, and sand fill. These practices can restore coastal shorelines back to a more natural condition. Green infrastructure can also be used in combination with gray infrastructure, such as sea walls and jetties.

Before moving forward with your coastal improvement project using living shorelines, a meeting to discuss planning and public needs may be helpful. This process can involve the leaders in your state or regional areas that are concerned with the environmental needs of your community.

Once you’ve determined your site-specific needs, conduct a site assessment. This process includes determining the type of shoreline you possess (slope of bank), the rate at which your shoreline is eroding, the forces that are eroding your shoreline, water depth, type of substrate and salinity of the shoreline water body.

Coastal shoreline
Resources
Climate Adaptation Resources Exit EPA Disclaimer : A list of adaptation resources from Pennsylvania Sea Grant.

Ecosystem-based management tools network, overview of tools for climate adaptation Exit EPA Disclaimer : The Coastal-Marine Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) Tools Network is an alliance of EBM tool users, providers and researchers to promote the use and development of EBM in coastal and marine environments and watersheds that affect them. The EBM Tools Database is an online platform to help a broad range of users find, share and contribute information about decision-support tools; projects and resources for innovative, interdisciplinary coastal-marine spatial planning; and ecosystem-based management. The link above is to a matrix that summarizes many of the tools available for climate change adaptation planning – including most of the resources listed above.

The EBM Tools Database helps users find, share and contribute information about decision-support tools, projects and resources for innovative, interdisciplinary coastal-marine spatial planning and ecosystem-based management. The link above is to a matrix that summarizes many of the tools available for climate change adaptation planning – including most of the resources listed above.

Georgetown Climate Center Adaptation Clearinghouse Exit EPA Disclaimer : Seeks to assist state policymakers, resource managers, academics, and others who are working to help communities adapt to climate change.

ADAPT Exit EPA Disclaimer : ICLEI’s Adaptation Database and Planning Tool guides local government users through ICLEI’s Five Milestones for Climate Adaptation planning. It is available as part of ICLEI’s Climate Resilient Communities Program.

Coastal Resilience Program Exit EPA Disclaimer : The Nature Conservancy's, Coastal Resilience program provides information to communities, planners, businesses and policy makers to help them integrate sea-level rise and coastal hazards into their decision-making.

Digital Coast Exit EPA Disclaimer : A collaboration of organizations committed to providing data and information, tools, and training resources to help address timely coastal issues, including land use, coastal conservation, hazards, marine spatial planning.

Adaptation Tool Kit: Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Land Use Exit EPA Disclaimer : Explores 18 different land-use tools that can be used to preemptively respond to the threats posed by sea-level rise to both public and private coastal development and infrastructure, and strives to assist governments.

References

1. US EPA. Coastal Areas Impacts & Adaptation. (n.d.). Retrieved July 1, 2014, from http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/impacts-adaptation/coasts.html#ref3.

2. Leatherman, S. P., K. Zhang, and B. C. Douglas (2000). Sea level rise shown to drive coastal erosion. Eos Trans. AGU, 81(6), 55–57, doi:10.1029/00EO00034 Exit EPA Disclaimer.

3. Swann, L. (2008). The Use of Living Shorelines to Mitigate the Effects of Storm Events on Dauphin Island, Alabama, USA. . Retrieved July 1, 2014, from http://livingshorelinesolutions.com/uploads/Dr._LaDon_Swann__Living_Shorelines_Paper.pdf (12 pp, 1.2MB, About PDF) Exit EPA Disclaimer.

4. Gedan, K.B., Kirwan, M. L., Wolanski, E., Barbier, E.B., and B. R. Silliman. (2011). The present and future role of coastal wetland vegetation in protecting shorelines: Answering recent challenges to the paradigm. Climatic Change 106:7-29.

5. Swann, L. (2008). The Use of Living Shorelines to Mitigate the Effects of Storm Events on Dauphin Island, Alabama, USA. . Retrieved July 1, 2014, from http://livingshorelinesolutions.com/uploads/Dr._LaDon_Swann__Living_Shorelines_Paper.pdf (12 pp, 1.2MB, About PDF) Exit EPA Disclaimer.

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