Alternative Coastal Adaptation Strategies Under Uncertainty – A Case Study in Grays Harbor County, WA
By Janan Evans-Wilent, Marine Resource Management Master's student at Oregon State University
Many coastal communities are facing hard decisions and tradeoffs about how to protect their coastlines while planning for the realities of climate change, particularly sea level rise. This is certainly not a one-size-fits all problem, and decision-makers and community members are asking “what can our community do to prepare for climate change, do we have any options, and how much will it cost?”
Using models can help us address these types of questions by exploring how different policies will shape the local landscape, even with climate uncertainty. Our research group uses Envision, a framework for exploring natural resource challenges with human decision-making. By incorporating a variety of local datasets including climatic data (waves, tides, storms, sea level rise), geologic data (beach slope, sediment type, bathymetry), and land use data (areas that are developed, zoned for new development, hazardous, etc), stakeholders can visually and quantitatively explore how different policy scenarios change over time.
In Grays Harbor County we have been working closely with a Knowledge-to-Action-Network (KTAN) of local stakeholders to develop four distinct policy scenarios to explore in Envision (Figure 1). Each of these policies has different rules for important coastal decisions, like where and when to build backshore protection structures, whether beach access can be preserved, whether moving structures away from the coastline is feasible, and whether “green” coastal protection strategies can be implemented. Under the four policies there are different triggers for development (like where a new home can be placed), and for coastal protection strategies (like whether a house can be protected by riprap or a dune). Under these four policy scenarios, our KTAN can explore how different metrics of importance, like number of homes impacted by flooding change under low, medium and high sea level rise now and over the next century.
results will be held on April 18th, 2017 from 4-7pm at Grays Harbor College (Shermer Building Room 4134) in Aberdeen, WA. We encourage you to visit our website for more information and to explore the process.
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