Coastal Resilience Index: A Community Self-Assessment

Developed from a partnership between the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, Louisiana Sea Grant, Texas Sea Grant, Florida Sea Grant, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal Storms Program and the Gulf of Mexico Program, the Coastal Resilience Index was designed to help every coastal community become more resilient to the impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise, storm surge and flooding.  

The Coastal Resilience Index is a tool communities can use to examine how prepared they are for storms and storm recovery. To complete the index, community leaders get together and use the tool to guide discussion about their community’s resilience to coastal hazards.

The purpose of this self-assessment tool is to provide community leaders with a simple and inexpensive method of predicting if their community will reach and maintain an acceptable level of functioning after a disaster. Experienced local planners, engineers, floodplain managers or administrators can complete this self-assessment using existing sources of information from their community. The assessment may identify problems that should be addressed before the next disaster, and where resources should be allocated.


 While the scorecard does not explicitly address social equity, it does include the following directions for integrating "social systems" into a self-assessment.


Results of the assessment are presented as a Resilience Index value that estimates the adaptability of the community to a disaster. The rating gives an idea of how long it may take the community to provide basic services and reoccupy homes and businesses after a disaster.

The assessment allows communities to test different scenarios, such as storms of varying intensities, to determine their capacity to respond and recover. It takes into account infrastructure, critical facilities, transportation, community plans, mitigation measures, business plans and social systems. The result of the assessment defines the final index rating as Low, Medium or High resiliency that is unique to each locale and, therefore, is not meant for comparison across communities.

Publication Date: November 2010

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  • Assessment guide

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