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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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New Hampshire’s Climate Risk in the Seacoast (C-RiSe) Project

New Hampshire’s Department of Environmental Services administers the Climate Risk in the Seacoast (C-RiSe) project which is intended to provide municipalities along the Great Bay with the resources they need to assess sea level rise and storm surge flooding. The Great Bay communities that have been assessed include: Rollinsford, Dover, Madbury, Durham, Newmarket, Newfields, Exeter, Stratham, Greenland, and Newington. This project is funded through the Coastal Zone Management Act by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Related Organizations: New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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New Hampshire Setting SAIL (Science, Assessment, Implementation, and Legislation) Project

The New Hampshire Setting SAIL (Science, Assessment, Implementation, and Legislation) project supports state and local implementation of recommendations from the New Hampshire Coastal Risk and Hazards Commission’s (NHCRHC) report, Preparing New Hampshire for Projected Storm Surge, Sea-level Rise, and Extreme Precipitation, through a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The New Hampshire Coastal Program (NHCP) leads the project through a public-private partnership with the New Hampshire Coastal Adaptation Workgroup (NHCAW).

Related Organizations: New Hampshire Coastal Adaptation Workgroup, New Hampshire Coastal Risk and Hazards Commission

Resource Category: Funding

 

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New Hampshire Coastal Risk and Hazards Commission Final Report: Preparing New Hampshire for Projected Storm Surge, Sea-Level Rise and Extreme Precipitation

November 2016

The final report of the New Hampshire Coastal Risks and Hazards Commission details the growing climate risks from sea-level rise, flooding, storm surge, and extreme weather in coastal New Hampshire. The Commission also recommends policy measures for the the state's legislature, state agencies, and coastal municipalities to help reduce vulnerabilities.

Related Organizations: New Hampshire Coastal Risk and Hazards Commission

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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New Hampshire Senate Bill (S.B.) 285: Establishing a Coastal Resilience and Economic Development Program

August 3, 2019

On August 3, 2019, the State of New Hampshire passed Senate Bill (S. B. ) 285 to establish a coastal resilience and economic development program and provide local governments with innovative new tools to address climate emergencies due to sea-level rise, storm surge, and flooding. One notable provision of the bill allows municipalities to either alter their existing boundaries or create a new municipality by combining existing ones (Section 2, codified in New Hampshire Revised Statutes § 31:9-d).

Related Organizations: State of New Hampshire

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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New Hampshire Coastal Resilience Incentive Zone Program for Municipalities

September 3, 2017

In 2017, New Hampshire passed a new law, New Hampshire Revised Statutes § 79-E:4-a, that enables municipalities to create a tax incentive program to encourage resiliency in coastal areas. Municipalities can establish “Coastal Resilience Incentive Zones” (CRIZ) in their jurisdictions to grant property owners tax relief for undertaking “resilience measures” for qualified properties or structures identified as impacted by storm surge, sea-level rise, or extreme precipitation projections.

Related Organizations: State of New Hampshire

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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New Hampshire SB 452: State agencies required to prepare for coastal flooding

June 13, 2016

New Hampshire SB 452 entitled: “Requiring certain state agencies to conduct an audit of laws governing coastal regions to enable authorities to take appropriate actions” is designed to help the state identify needs for improving resilience to climate impacts in coastal communities and Great Bay regions.  

Related Organizations: State of New Hampshire

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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New Hampshire SB 376-FN: An Act relative to wildlife corridors

June 10, 2016

New Hampshire Senate Bill 376-FN requires the Fish and Game Department to identify existing and needed wildlife corridors connecting wildlife habitats in the state, and to make recommendations for legislative changes. SB 376 is designed to help improve wildlife corridors and thereby support wildlife resilience in light of climate change and development pressures.

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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New Hampshire SB 374: Requiring the Department of Environmental Services to update coastal flooding trends

May 20, 2016

New Hampshire Senate Bill 374, effective July 19, 2016, requires the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Service (DES) to convene a multi-agency group to update and summarize coastal flooding trends every five years, based on sea-level rise, extreme precipitation and storm surge projections.

Related Organizations: New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, State of New Hampshire

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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From Tides to Storms: Preparing for New Hampshire's Future Coast - Assessing Risk and Vulnerability of Coastal Communities to Sea-Level Rise and Storm Surge

September 2015

Developed by the Rockingham Planning Commission, the Tides to Storms project worked with 7 coastal communities in New Hampshire (Seabrook, Hampton Falls, Hampton, North Hampton, Rye, New Castle, Portsmouth) to assess their vulnerability to flooding from storm surge and sea-level rise. A regional vulnerability assessment was developed, as well as an assessment report and map set were prepared for each of the seven coastal municipalities. Each assessment considers risks to roadways and supporting transportation infrastructure, critical facilities and infrastructure, and natural resources.

Related Organizations: Rockingham Planning Commission

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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