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Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas — Hampton, New Hampshire: Community-Driven Climate Adaptation Planning Process

July 15, 2020

The coastal town of Hampton, New Hampshire has identified the need for long-term climate adaptation planning to address the impacts of sea-level rise and improve community resilience to coastal flooding through a state-local, public-private partnership. This ongoing adaptation planning process that started in 2018 is being led by the Seabrook–Hamptons Estuary Alliance (SHEA) — a local conservation nonprofit — with support from others including the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Coastal Program (NH Coastal Program) and town officials and staff. The approach taken by SHEA and the NH Coastal Program offers a unique example of community-driven, multifaceted planning focused on informing and educating the community through a series of workshops and surveys to gauge awareness and opinions across a range of different adaptation strategies. The adaptation strategies presented to the community for consideration include: protection (“keep water out”), accommodation (“live with water”), and managed retreat or relocation (“get out of the water’s way”). The results of these efforts are being used to inform local actions going forward. Policymakers and planners in other municipalities may find Hampton’s work instructive for how to increase awareness of the benefits and tradeoffs of retreat across a spectrum of adaptation strategies at the outset of community-driven, public-private decisionmaking processes. This case study is one of 17 case studies featured in a report written by the Georgetown Climate Center, Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas: Lessons and Tools from 17 Case Studies.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Organization

Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center

The Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center is one of eight regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers (CASCs) under the Department of the Interior (DOI) managed by the U. S. Geological Survey's (USGS) National Climate Adaptation Science Center. CASCs were established under Secretarial Order No. 3289, which called for an expansion of the scope and geographic reach of the DOI's climate-science efforts. CASCs provide scientific information, tools and techniques that land, water, wildlife and cultural resource managers and other interested parties can apply to anticipate, monitor and adapt to climate and ecologically-driven responses at regional-to-local scales.

 

 

Organization

NOAA Office for Coastal Management

The Office for Coastal Management (OCM) is tasked with implementing the Coastal Zone Management Act. OCM activities include working with states and territories to conserve and protect coral reefs, operating a system of National Estuarine Research Reserves, and developing a system of marine protected areas.

 

 

Organization

Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment (NECIA)

The Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment (NECIA) is a collaboration between the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and a team of more than fifty independent experts to develop and communicate a new assessment of climate change, impacts on climate-sensitive sectors, and solutions in the northeastern United States. Launched in May, 2005, the goal of the assessment is to combine state-of-the-art analyses with effective outreach to provide policymakers, opinion leaders, and the public with the best available science upon which to base informed choices about climate change mitigation and adaptation.

 

 

Organization

Northeast Regional Climate Center

The Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC) is one of six regional climate centers in the U. S. managed by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). Established in 1983, the NRCC is located in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University. It serves the 12-state region that includes: Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia. The mission of the NRCC is to facilitate and enhance the collection, dissemination and use of climate data and information, as well as to monitor and assess climatic conditions and impacts in the twelve-state, northeastern region of the U.

 

 

Organization

USFS Northern Research Station

One of five regional units that make up the U. S. Forest Service (USFS) Research and Development organization, the Northern Research Station (NRS) maintains 21 research locations throughout a 20-state territory. The station develops management strategies for plants, soil, air, water, and wildlife to meet the needs of people and communities. NRS scientists are involved in research to understand the processes and extent of global climate change and their probable/possible effects on forest ecosystems.

 

 

Resource

Durham, New Hampshire HMP Climate Adaptation Chapter: Developing Strategies to Protect Areas at Risk from Flooding due to Climate Change and Sea Level Rise

June 25, 2013

Developed for the Town of Durham, New Hampshire, this report provides adaptation strategies to protect areas of the Town that are at risk of flooding due to sea level rise and other impacts from climate change. This chapter will be adopted as a subset of Durham’s existing Hazard Mitigation Plan, and will be recommended to be incorporated into the Master Plan.

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Organization

Department of the Interior (DOI): Northern Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC)

The Northern Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (NALCC)is one of 21 LCCs established by Secretarial Order No. 3289, which focus on on-the-ground strategic conservation efforts at the landscape level. LCCs are management-science partnerships that inform integrated resource-management actions addressing climate change and other stressors within and across landscapes, linking science and conservation delivery. The currently participating bureaus are the Minerals Management Service, National Park Service, and the U.

 

 

Resource

New Hampshire Senate Bill 163: Establishing a commission to recommend legislation to prepare for projected sea level rise and other coastal and coastal watershed hazards

July 2, 2013

Senate Bill 163 establishes a Coastal Risk and Hazards Commission for the State of New Hampshire.  The commission is directed to recommend future legislation in order for coastal communities and the state to better prepare for rising sea levels and other weather-related hazards.

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Army Corps North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study – Main Report

January 2015

This US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) study, released in January 2015, assesses flood risk from coastal storms for the North Atlantic coast from Virginia to Maine – the states and communities affected by Hurricane Sandy – and recommends strategies for reducing those flood risks. The study was designed to help Sandy-affected states and communities better understand how flood risks will change as a result of climate change and sea-level rise.   It captures the latest scientific information on sea-level rise, and provides state, local, and tribal governments with tools to help them prepare for changing flood risks and apply the lessons learned from the study.

Resource Category: Planning

 

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