A New Tool to Aid Coastal Resilience Planning

Coastal resilience assessments identify areas where conservation projects would best protect human communities and improve habitat for wildlife

(Washington, D.C. May 1, 2019) The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced the release of the Regional Coastal Resilience Assessment and the creation of a new analytical tool that can identify specific coastal areas with the greatest potential to boost community resilience while also improving habitats for fish and wildlife.

NatureServe contributed its national data to the Regional Assessment and also conducted seven targeted watershed assessments in collaboration with NFWF, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the University of North Carolina-Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC), as well as local partners and stakeholders. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provided review and comment. While using the same model as the Regional Assessment, these Targeted Watershed Assessments include highly detailed datasets identified through a stakeholder engagement process in each of these places:

To support access and use of the products, stakeholder workshops in most of the locations will present results of the analyses and demonstrate how to use datasets in NatureServe’s Vista decision support system and the online web tool.

NatureServe also contributed data to the new Coastal Resilience Evaluation and Siting Tool (CREST) to analyze potential project sites throughout the U.S. Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific coastlines. The tool identifies Resilience Hubs, areas of open space where valuable natural resources and habitats can provide protection to human populations and critical infrastructure that face the greatest risk of flooding from coastal storms and changing sea levels.

"Protecting communities while benefiting wildlife is a huge win-win for coastal regions of the United States,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “These assessments and this new tool will help conservation nonprofits, government agencies and local communities identify areas where they can maximize return on investment and achieve multiple community resilience and conservation outcomes.”

Access to CREST allows users to explore the assessments, underlying data, and to find potential restoration opportunities. In addition, users can analyze specific project sites for their benefits to fish and wildlife habitat and to community resilience. Complete data, including input datasets, and the targeted watershed decision support packages are also available for download.

To learn more about the Coastal Resilience Assessments, visit our website here. All assessments are available through NFWF’s website here, along with final reports, maps and detailed methodology.