England & Wales: Policy options for shorelines to manage sea level rise risks


United States
52° 50' 22.8876" N, 1° 34' 55.3116" E

In the United Kingdom, shoreline management plans (SMPs) provide the framework for coastal regulatory officials to assess long-term changes and risks associated with coastal processes, such as tidal patterns, wave height, and sea level rise. These plans provide strategies to help reduce risks associated with coastal flooding and erosion on built and natural environments. Like most marine management plans, SMPs are non-statutory. Instead, they are high-level policy documents that take into account existing legislative requirements and compatibility with adjacent coastal areas.

East Hampton, NY: Planning that includes a coastal erosion overlay district


United States
40° 57' 56.8332" N, 72° 10' 58.5192" W

East Hampton, on Long Island, New York, is both a vacation destination and home to a strong year-round community with its early economic roots in agriculture, fishing, and shellfishing. Development pressure and population growth has caused some degradation of coastal resources, and in 1999 the Town enacted a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) to protect and promote waterfront resources.

The State of Climate-­Informed Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning

Coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) is a science-based, collaborative process used to sustainably manage resources, interests, and activities among diverse coastal and ocean users and sectors. Climate change is affecting marine and coastal ecosystems throughout the world, manifesting in warming air and sea temperatures, increasing coastal storms, and rising sea levels. The existing and projected impacts of climate change and ocean acidification need to be incorporated into planning processes to ensure long-term success. Because CMSP is an emerging field, it is important to look to other coastal and marine planning and management frameworks to identify opportunities for climate-informed action.

With the support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, EcoAdapt created the Climate-Informed CMSP Initiative to examine the connections between climate change and coastal and marine planning. This included conducting a needs assessment survey to identify what practitioners need in order to integrate climate change into their planning efforts, as well as research into the state of climate-informed CMSP efforts with the intention of identifying case study examples of adaptation in action. Our key research questions included:

  1. How is climate change currently being integrated into CMSP-related efforts?
  2. How can climate-informed CMSP be done?
  3. What do practitioners need in order to integrate climate change into CMSP?

Climate Change Adaptation through Local Comprehensive Planning: Guidance for Puget Sound Communities

Using the framework of local comprehensive planning and the Washington State Comprehensive Plan requirements under the Growth Management Act, this guidance was developed to enable understanding and inclusion of anticipated climate change impacts into the local long-range planning by Puget Sound government officials and citizens.

This resource intends to enable your community to incorporate climate-informed decisions into your local comprehensive planning. Users should be able to find relevant local climate change information (including projections), formulate questions to help evaluate the implications of climate change on any element of community planning, and make climatesavvy goals, policies, and implementation decisions that will generate the best long-term outcomes for your community — its businesses, schools, services, recreation, ecosystems and individuals.

Planning, permitting, and risk: Effects of sea level rise on the California coast


United States
39° 39' 57.4956" N, 123° 18' 37.9692" W
Author Name(s): 
Mallory Morgan, Katie Thompson

The California Coastal Commission Sea Level Rise Policy Guidance serves as interpretive guidelines for addressing sea level rise primarily in local coastal program (LCP) certifications and updates, as well as in coastal development permit (CDP) decisions (California Coastal Commission 2015).

Climate Change Hits Home: Adaptation Strategies for the San Francisco Bay Area

We have known about the perils of climate change for more than two decades. But global efforts to slow it down by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions have largely failed. Even if we could stop producing greenhouse gases tomorrow, the high concentration of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere will cause the climate to continue to change. As a result we must not only intensify our efforts to reduce climate change but start preparing for its inevitable effects.

In this report, SPUR addresses how we should adapt to climate change in the Bay Area, including which tools and strategies will make us resilient to its most severe impacts, including drought, higher temperatures and sea level rise. We recommend more than 30 strategies for local and regional agencies to begin minimizing the region’s vulnerabilities to these long-term but potentially catastrophic effects.

Growth Fixes for Climate Adaptation and Resilience: Changing Land Use and Building Codes and Policies to Prepare for Climate Change

This January 2017 EPA publication outlines more than 70 policies local government officials, staff, and boards can consider to help adapt to current or projected flooding and extreme precipitation, sea level rise and storm surge, extreme heat, drought, and wildfire. These policies range from modest adjustments to wholesale changes, giving communities a range of options to consider depending on their needs and context. The publication includes examples of communities implementing these policies, resources for more information, and metrics that communities could use taken from three community-scale sustainability rating systems.

The Garden State in the Greenhouse: Climate Change Mitigation and Coastal Adaptation Strategies for New Jersey

Climate change poses a significant threat to New Jersey’s economic, social and environmental future. In the absence of federal leadership, states must take the lead on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change, including sea level rise and increasingly frequent and damaging storms.

New Jersey has already taken many important steps toward a responsible climate change policy, such as the Governor’s recent appointment of a Director of Energy Savings. However, the scale of the problem and its potential consequences for the state mean that more and bolder steps are required to preserve the quality of life in New Jersey now and in the future.

This report outlines a strategy for moving toward an adequate response to climate change while at the same time advancing the State’s economic growth. New Jersey should enact innovative strategies that will not only reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and protect its coastline, but will also bring new industries, technologies and jobs to the state. To accomplish this, the State should take action in six major areas:

1. Establish New Jersey’s regional and national leadership on climate change by:

  • Announcing and implementing a mandatory 2020 GHG emissions cap and an ambitious 2050 emissions reduction target through an economy-wide cap-and-trade system, enhanced efficiency measures and incorporation of emission reduction goals into State planning, purchasing and other activities;
  • Creating a Climate Change Division within the Office of Economic Growth to direct all emissions reduction and adaptation research in collaboration with a high-level inter-agency task force and with input from a stakeholder advisory council; and
  • Launching and leading a network of “Cool States” committed to reducing emissions based on legally binding caps and hosting a TransAtlantic summit on climate change that would bring together policy-makers, business leaders and clean energy technology innovators from Europe, Canada, and the US to exchange best practices, promote technological advances and showcase investment and business opportunities.

​2. Link climate change policies to economic growth and workforce development by:

  • Capitalizing on New Jersey’s competitive advantages in high-tech businesses to cultivate a clean energy sector through an explicit focus on clean energy businesses at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) as well as the State’s innovation funds and incubators;
  • Creating a “green jobs” track within the State’s community college vocational training system and working with non-profit organizations and trade unions to link residents in high-unemployment areas to training and placement in green building construction, installation and maintenance of energy-efficient and renewable energy equipment and auto-mechanic services for hybrid and plug-in vehicles; and
  • Increasing demand for clean and green jobs through the strategic use of State incentives; and
  • Establish a “Green Gold” pilot program in the city of Newark that would lower the energy costs of residents and businesses, support green building standards in new construction, and train and place under- and unemployed workers in green construction, installation and maintenance jobs in the city and regionally.

3. Boost energy efficiency gains through:

  • An energy use surcharge balanced by a reduction in corporate payroll tax for state businesses;
  • Enhanced incentives for residents to purchase energy-efficient equipment;
  • Demand-Side Management to align incentives of energy distributors with efficiency rather than sales; and
  • Increased funding (through auctioning 100 percent of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative emissions allowances) and improved targeting of funds in the State’s Clean Energy Program for cost-effective emissions reduction.

4. Make transportation more efficient and make development smarter by:

  • Making reductions in Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) an explicit goal of State planning documents and more aggressively promoting transit-oriented planning and development; and
  • Promoting alternative fuels and encouraging increased fuel efficiency standards, starting with the State’s vehicle fleet and vehicles used by local governments and schools.

5. Improve State preparedness for sea level rise and increased frequency & intensity of storms by:

  • Producing vulnerability assessments and cost-benefit reports evaluating the impact of climate change on the coasts and incorporating the findings into NJDEP rules and State and local planning, land use and public investment decisions;
  • Ensuring that emergency management plans account for projections about rising sea levels and storms;
  • Enhancing pre-storm planning for post-storm management, including strategic land preservation and guidelines for whether, where and how to rebuild following storm damage; and
  • Partnering with the insurance industry to shield coastal residents from catastrophic losses.

6. Increase Public Awareness about Climate Change Impacts and Support for State Action by:

  • Creating a statewide awareness campaign that includes a user-friendly website and advertisements in print and broadcast media; and
  • Taking immediate steps to ensure that education about climate change in New Jersey’s public schools is continued and expanded.

Connecticut SB No. 1013: Special Act 13-9: An Act Concerning Climate Change Adaptation and Data Collection

Section 1. (Effective from passage) Not later than February 15, 2014, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and The University of Connecticut shall, in accordance with section 11-4a of the general statutes, report to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the environment on the joint efforts of said department and university to establish a Connecticut Center for Coasts. Such report shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

  1. A detailed description of the mission for such a center that shall include, at a minimum, conducting research, outreach and education projects to guide the development of technologies and regulatory provisions that increase the protection of ecosystems, coastal properties and other lands and attributes of the state that are subject to the effects of rising sea levels,
  2. the proposed governance of such center, including appointment of a center director, establishment of an advisory board and the requisite staffing level for such center,
  3. a plan for the center's performance of:
  • (A) Mapping exercises to assess and visualize key characteristics of shoreline resiliency, such as shoreline changes,
  • (B) pilot-scale engineering and impact assessment studies,
  • (C) consensus building efforts to determine state-wide uniform guidelines for planning and development purposes, including the expected rate of sea level rise for the next one hundred years,
  • (D) ways to develop state-wide, science-based planning and management alternatives,
  • (E) development in science and information-based outreach and technology transfer programs for state and local agencies and officials involved in planning and development,
  • (F) an assessment of soft shore protection strategies in Long Island Sound and the development of instructional guides for the use of such soft shore protection strategies,
  • (G) a comprehensive coastal infrastructure inventory and risk assessment,
  • (H) an analysis of the impact of seawalls in urban and rural communities,
  • (I) the development of uniform, state-wide models that predict inundation flood scenarios under slow, constant sea level rise and under storm surges,
  • (J) projects that lead to the development of rapid storm damage assessment technology,
  • (K) developing design guidelines for the construction and repair of seawalls, and
  • (L) developing tools for determining appropriate shore protection strategies and providing coastal protection information to a diverse range of end users,

  4. a listing of the existing university and department resources that will be utilized in the performance of the center's responsibilities and a description of the specific ways in which each resource will be used to perform such responsibilities, and (5) the sources and amounts of funding that the department and university, either jointly or individually, intend to secure or secured for the purpose of establishing such center.