NFWF: Coastal Resilience Assessments


About This Project

Background

NatureServe worked with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on key projects to help communities become more resilient to coastal flooding while improving conservation and condition of fish and wildlife. NFWF is committed to supporting programs and projects that improve resilience by reducing communities’ vulnerability to coastal storms, sea-level rise, and flooding events by strengthening natural ecosystems and the fish and wildlife habitat they provide.

Coastal Resiliance Assessments

NOAA provided funding for NFWF to assess regional resilience for U.S. coastlines as well as eight targeted watersheds. In partnership with NOAA and in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), NFWF commissioned NatureServe and the National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC) at University of North Carolina at Asheville to conduct the resilience analyses. This assessment builds on the evaluation concepts developed by NFWF in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. NatureServe provided national data on biodiversity and collaborated on methodology with NEMAC which generated regional assessments for the coastal watersheds of the conterminous U.S.

NatureServe led development of seven Targeted Watershed Assessments; working closely with NFWF, NOAA, and USACE, our NatureServe member programs, local partners, and stakeholders. NatureServe integrated data from the regional assessments (above), NatureServe member program data, and local data contributed by stakeholders in the NatureServe Vista decision support system. Each project resulted in an extensive report, a downloadable Vista project to support local applications, and a delivery workshop. Reports for each watershed can be found at the links below and data can be explored and downloaded from the Coastal Resilience Evaluation and Siting Tool.

NatureServe's Conservation Planning Services team can work with other communities and regions to conduct coastal resilience assessments and plans and many other types of planning.

Goal

  1. Create contiguous and standardized datasets for U.S. coastlines and eight targeted watersheds* to support coastal resilience assessment and planning.
  2. Analyze the impacts of potential coastal and inland storm events.
  3. Identify areas for restoration, installation of natural and nature-based features, and other projects that achieve maximum benefit for human community resilience, fish and wildlife populations, and their habitats.
  4. Identify and recommend specific strategies, conservation actions, and monitoring in targeted watersheds.

Significance

Regional and Watershed Assessments include:A map of resilience hubs for the Jacksonville and Lower St. Johns River Watersheds. The darker shades represent a greater potential for community resilience and fish and wildlife benefits.

  • Community Exposure Index map that provides fine-scale data on where communities, people, and infrastructure are at the highest risk of flooding
  • Critical Fish and Wildlife Populations and Habitats map
  • Resiliency Hubs map that identifies large swaths of connected habitat that protects coastal communities from the impacts of storms as well as support fish and wildlife
  • Project Portfolio for each targeted watershed that identifies resilience projects, including recommendations for the highest priority and most impactful projects

These analyses prioritize sites for large-scale natural and nature-based resilience project implementation that enhance or build on the existing Resiliency Hubs and will result in the maximum benefit for both human communities and fish and wildlife habitats.