Enhancing Sea Grant's Ability to Help Coastal Communities Adapt to Climate Change (2010-2011)
workshop materials, a report and a presentation about the events.
Based on the challenges facing coastal communities in New Hampshire, N.H. Sea Grant proposes to co-host a training workshop for local officials on Planning for Climate Change in partnership with the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve during FY2010. The workshop will be largely based on the Planning for Climate Change workshop held in Washington State and introduced at the Sea Grant Climate Change Network meeting in South Carolina in November 2009. The workshop is likely to include two independent, but related segments. The first segment will be designed to increase participants’ comfort with climate science and some basic questions - Is the climate changing in significant ways? Is so, what is causing that change? How might it change in the next 100 years? The second segment will include a review of climate impact projections for the region, a session on the benefits and drawbacks of adapting, an introduction to adaptation planning principles and strategies, an overview of existing tools and resources to assist with adaptation, a discussion of barriers to adaptation and overcoming them, an interactive session on identifying community vulnerabilities, and a showcase of local or regional examples of communities that have increased their preparedness in some way. It is anticipated that the workshop will provide a figurative launching pad for subsequent training and dialogue opportunities among NOAA partners, local and regional climate scientists, agencies, related organizations, regional planners and municipalities. A group of these partners has recently convened the N.H. Coastal Adaptation Workgroup, under the leadership of the NERR CTP, and will play a major role in planning, preparing and delivering the workshop according to local needs. In order to provide some post-workshop direction, N.H. Sea Grant also proposes to gather information about coastal communities and their capacity needs in adapting to climate change including what barriers to adaptation may exist. This will be collected via an interactive session at the workshop and through additional focus groups if necessary. A review of the results of prior needs assessments (NOAA Coastal Managers, Oregon Sea Grant, Clean Air-Cool Planet, Forging the Link and others) will be done to inform how the local focus groups on future directions will be
The N.H. Coastal Adaptation Workgroup (CAW) formed by NHSG and its partners helps prepare for the effects of climate change. The CAW workshop series “Water, Weather, Climate and Community” is intended not only to discuss climate information but also to nurture local leadership in climate preparedness and build relationships that will strengthen coastal communities' capacity to access relevant climate-related data and improve climate ready planning, policies and practices. Workshops II and III were held in 2011, and workshop IV will be held in early 2012. Workshop II focused on vulnerability assessments as part of adaptation planning, and workshop III focused on sharing examples from communities within the region that are taking climate adaptation steps.
During 2011, N.H. Sea Grant coordinated a research project that is exploring the legal authority, measures and consequences associated with the use of “new” 100-year floodplain maps by coastal communities in New Hampshire. Current FEMA floodplain maps are largely based on land uses and precipitation data from before the 1980s. Today’s higher percentages of impervious cover along with higher intensity storms compound the volume and flashiness of stormwater runoff and contribute to flooding across New England. As a result, an interdisciplinary team at the University of New Hampshire is creating an updated set of 100-year flood maps for a coastal watershed based on current and projected land use and climatic conditions. The UNH team anticipates that communities could use the data to help protect health, property and infrastructure. The mapping team engaged a community based advisory group to ground the effort and discovered that community leaders were concerned not only about accurate maps, but about the legal implications of using updated maps. With support from the National Sea Grant Law Center, faculty and students from Vermont Law School Land Use Clinic conducted legal research to help contextualize anticipated uses of the new floodplain maps.
Climate Literacy Training Introduced Regional NOAA Professionals to Climate Science, Resources and Services