The Coastal Resilience decision-support tool provides communities across the five Gulf states access to the best available science and data to visualize their coastal hazards risks and examine where nature can increase resilience and reduce risk through conservation and restoration activities. Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas are using Coastal Resilience 2.0 to identify restoration projects with maximum socio-economic and ecological benefits and examine future flood scenarios from storm events and sea level rise.
Coastal communities across the Gulf of Mexico are vulnerable to coastal storms and land loss. More than 7,000 square miles of the US Gulf Coast is below 5 feet in elevation and the Gulf Coast has been subject to numerous catastrophic storms since 1900. Furthermore, coastal areas are more vulnerable each year because of sea level rise, coastal wetland loss, coastal development and the likelihood that storms may increase in intensity.
These changes threaten buildings, infrastructure, people and natural areas. Natural areas frequently include habitats such as salt marshes, mangroves and oyster reefs that provide valuable ecosystem services or ‘benefits’. These benefits include water quality improvements, shoreline protection, recreation and tourism benefits, and fisheries production.
Many coastal communities do not fully understand or recognize that these habitats can provide numerous benefits. More importantly, coastal communities rarely consider the role that their natural areas can play in reducing erosion and storm impacts. Decision-makers need the best available science and information about the benefits of nature if they are to manage human and natural communities in the face of the storms, sea level rise and habitat loss.
The Coastal Resilience Decision-Support Tool can be accessed at http://maps.coastalresilience.org/gulfmex/
For additional project information, visit the Gulf of Mexico home page.