New web resource for coastal adaptation and resilience in North Carolina

Thursday, March 28, 2019 - 9:04am

Coastal communities in North Carolina are still recovering from the impacts of extreme weather and flooding over the past two years. These communities face difficult decisions about how to deal with the damages from hurricanes, as well as long-term stressors like population growth and sea level rise.

The N.C Division of Coastal Management created a new Coastal Adaptation and Resiliency website to help North Carolina’s coastal communities manage these challenges. These web resources were built to help local governments and communities in the 20 North Carolina counties designated as coastal counties under the Coastal Area Management Act. In support of Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 80 (a directive that calls for the development of a State Climate Risk and Resilience Plan by 2020), hazard forecasts, mapping tools, geospatial data, adaptation examples, funding opportunities and guidelines for policy planning are several of the tools available now.

The site highlights approaches communities have taken to begin addressing resilience, including those that participated in the division’s Coastal Resilience Pilot Program. An interactive story map explains the project and highlights priority issues in the communities of Edenton, Hatteras Village, Pine Knoll Shores, Duck and Oriental.

Interactive tools on the page allow users to explore potential risks to their communities from flooding, sea level rise and other hazards. Using the Sea Level Rise Viewer, users can zoom to an area of interest and view images of the potential impacts of sea level rise on local landmarks. The map also shows rankings of different areas in terms of vulnerability to sea level rise.

In addition to interactive maps, the website provides documents detailing the plans coastal towns have created to adapt to climate change. Viewers can read and download the Wilmington Community Resilience Pilot Project, the Morehead City Floodplain Management Plan, and many other planning documents.

For communities looking for funding and technical assistance for coastal resilience, the website provides guidelines and links to potential funding sources at the local, state, and federal levels. From ways to finance beach nourishment to available pre-disaster hazard mitigation grants, the Funding & Assistance section of the website provides local governments with a wide variety of resources.

The N.C. Division of Coastal Management recognizes that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to coastal adaptation and resilience because every community is unique. Direct access to a variety of tools, planning documents, and guidelines will allow different communities with different needs to access appropriate resources.

The Coastal Adaptation and Resiliency website is a critical piece in the effort to increase collaboration and lesson sharing between North Carolina’s coastal communities. The Division of Coastal Management is working with many public, private and non-profit partners to host two regional workshops on resilience for local governments (May 2 in Elizabeth City and May 14 in Wilmington). The primary objective of the workshops is to bring together communities to discuss their greatest challenges and needs and how state agency programs can better support them in building resilience. For more information about the website or upcoming workshops, please contact Christian Kamrath at Christian.kamrath@ncdenr.gov.

Following the workshops, the same partners will host a Coastal Resilience Summit on June 11-12 at the Havelock Tourist and Event Center in Havelock to present findings and convene all stakeholders to discuss the key components of the State Climate Risk Assessment and Resiliency Plan.

To learn more about the Division of Coastal Management’s efforts to help coastal communities, visit the Coastal Adaptation and Resiliency website.