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Improving Shoreline Resilience and Adaptation through Community Action

Year Awarded: 2023
Awarded: $150,000
Team Leader:  Proof Projects

This design effort will revolutionize coastal management across the Great Lakes region by introducing a new way of thinking about shoreline resilience. Great Lakes coastal communities now have an opportunity to reshape how their coastlines are built and managed for the future. Communities face a pivotal choice: either follow the status quo “defend and control” approach, marked by expensive fixed infrastructure projects that harden the coastlines, or pursue a new adaptive system that works with natural coastal processes to more effectively handle the unpredictable impacts of climate change.  

The team will demonstrate how shorter-term adaptive management -guided by customized remote sensing technologies, tools, and data collection – can better prepare coastal communities for the escalating impacts of climate change. Through this work, communities will be able to develop, construct, and maintain more ecologically integrated and resilient coastlines at a lower cost.  

During this design phase, the team will host a series of meetings, listening sessions, and interviews with local, state, and federal coastal program agency staff, as well as non-profit organizations, universities, and shoreline communities. The team will identify potential coastal community partners, focusing on smaller communities that have demonstrated a need for more cost-effective, resilient coastal management and a willingness to participate in more innovative experimental practices. The feedback from the coastal communities will enable the team to develop customized remote sensing technologies and data mapping tools to guide new adaptive management practices as well as meet the unique needs of communities  

If successful, this design work will be the foundation of an implementation proposal to the Fund for the team to test the new strategies, technologies and tools with their coastal community partners. This team is uniquely suited to lead this design work, having led the successful, Fund-supported Healthy Port Futures project, that pushed the boundaries of coastal management in the Great Lakes region.