Town of Guilford, Connecticut Community Coastal Resilience Plan

The Town of Guilford, Connecticut developed a Community Coastal Resilience Plan to address the current and future social, economic and ecological resilience of the town’s shoreline to sea level rise impacts and increases in storm surge, coastal flooding and erosion. This plan includes comprehensive adaptation strategies for the coastal zone, proposed regulatory changes, property acquisition tools for coastal conservation, and more. 

A review of coastal resilience and adaptation planning undertaken by Connecticut communities, by municipal and county governments in other states, and by other state government agencies was used in connection with Guilford’s vulnerability assessment to inform the development of adaptation options. Table 1 lists the four categories of these options and related adaptation strategies:

Options for Coastal Resilience in Guilford

  1. Management of Coastal Real Estate and Structures
  2. Shoreline protection and management of coastal and near-shore lands
  3. Roadway alterations
  4. Protection or replacement of water supply wells and septic systems

Section 5 - Regulatory and Other Tools - details the regulatory changes proposed in order to promote coastal resiliency consistent with the principles of this plan including those for:

- Building Codes - and methods of increasing building design standards to enhance coastal resilience

- Zoning amendments - and other regulatory procedures (e.g. tidal marsh protection and advancement, green infrastructure such as living shorelines for private property and homeowner development, residential building design challenges etc.)

- Zoning Map Overlays

- Private Residential Property

Categories and Vehicles for Property Acquisition are discussed in Section 6 - looking at transitioning vulnerable shorelines to conservation or recreation areas. Options for acquisition tools are listed in Table 6 - each with their respective challenges and opportunities relative to enabling coastal resilience.

In Section 7, “Zones of Shared Risk” are described as regions that face common challenges from climate change - and therefore risks shared among or between groups of people that may have different perspectives and priorities for coastal resilience.

Coastal adaptation strategies considered for these zones of shared risk include:

  • protective infrastructure in the form of hardening and living shorelines;
  • mitigation infrastructure such as roadway, water supply and wastewater treatment modifications;
  • natural resource protection in the form of planning for marsh advancement;
  • regulatory changes to accommodate future conditions; and
  • strategies for land acquisition and redevelopment.

Two examples for building resilience at the neighborhood scale are presented here, in terms of shared risk and responses. These examples are the Soundview Road commercial/industrial area and the Seaside Avenue residential/municipal area of Guilford.


Utilizing the Nature Conservancy’s web based Coastal Resilience Tool, Guilford undertook TNC’s Coastal Resilience Program. The Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Report was completed from this program in 2012.

The Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Report, Report of Options to Increase Coastal Resilience (2013), and this plan have been combined to develop a comprehensive framework for resiliency in Guilford.



Publication Date: May 30, 2014

Related Organizations:

  • Town of Guilford, Connecticut


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Adaptation plan

States Affected:


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