Corps Study Assesses Risk along North Atlantic Coast from Sea-Level Rise

A new study by the Army Corps of Engineers assesses the risk along much of the Eastern seaboard from sea-level rise and other impacts of climate change.

The goal of the North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study was to determine how best to reduce flood and storm damage risks for people and communities along the region hit by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

“In the last 100 years … every 20 to 30 years we’ve had a fairly significant storm that has pretty much created havoc along the coastal communities,” said Joseph Vietri, director of the National Planning Center of Expertise for Coastal Storm Risk Management. “That includes not only civilian communities, but also Department of Defense communities.”

A significant amount of national infrastructure, including the U.S. Atlantic Fleet in Norfolk, Va., is at risk from such storms, reported Army public affairs.

One of the report’s major conclusions is that there is a shared responsibility for risk assessment and planning encompassing homeowners, local and state authorities, and the federal government.

“The federal government, the Army Corps of Engineers, or any governmental body by itself is not the sole party responsible for managing or mitigating these increased risks,” Vietri said. “It goes to the DOD on a facility on how you might look at that facility in the future, and what changes you might have to make to that facility … so the mission of that facility is not compromised.”

While the study was not aimed at solutions or making recommendations, it does provide the information smaller jurisdictions can use to manage their own risk, according to the Corps’ Roselle Henn.

“We provided this framework as a methodology that regional partners can use at smaller scale,” Henn said. “They can take it all the way down to the end point which is to evaluate and compare solutions … to plan, implement plans, and then monitor and adapt.”

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