Portsmouth, New Hampshire Coastal Resilience Initiative: Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan

The City of Portsmouth, New Hampshire Coastal Resilience Initiative (CRI) was established to assess the potential local impacts from climate change for the state's "Seacoast" region, and to initiate adaptation planning. Prepared for the CRI by a team of researchers from the University of New Hampshire and the Rockingham Planning Commission, a detailed report provides an overview of the projected climate vulnerability of Portsmouth’s public and private assets. The report includes an assessment for climate change impacts on critical infrastructure and facilities, public health and coastal wetlands, and includes adaptive strategies for each of these sectors. (As of 2020 the report is no longer available, however some of the data is included on the CRI website).  

The project has resulted in a set of flood elevation (sea level rise) scenario maps, a vulnerability assessment, a preliminary outline of potential adaptation strategies, and recommendations for future planning, regulation and policies. This process resulted in a number of policy, planning and regulatory recommendations that are detailed in the final section of the report. These recommendations are related to: 

  • Zoning Ordinances and Land Development Regulations (Zoning Districts and Overlays, Floodplain Standards, Setbacks and Buffers, Redevelopment Standards, Resilient Design and Construction of Buildings and Infrastructure, and Shoreland Protection Options)
  • Integration of the Master Plan of Portsmouth
  • Coastal Wetlands
  • Public Health
  • Emergency Management and Hazard Mitigation Planning

Portsmouth was one of five communities selected for a pilot program with $30,000 in funding from the Gulf of Maine Council, through a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - which funded the Coastal Resilience Initiative. 



Publication Date: April 2, 2013

Related Organizations:

  • Rockingham Planning Commission
  • City of Portsmouth, New Hampshire
  • University of New Hampshire


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Adaptation plan

States Affected:


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