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Adaptation, Law, and Infrastructure Planning in the Southeast: Roads Forward, Backward, or Somewhere In-Between?

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Thursday, April 11, 2019
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12 PM ET

- Shana Jones, J.D., Associate Public Service Faculty, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, 
 University of Georgia, and Director, Georgia Sea Grant Law Program
- Jason Evans, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Studies, Stetson University
- Thomas Ruppert, J.D., Coastal Planning Specialist, Florida Sea Grant College Program

Sponsors: NOAA's Office of Coastal Management and the National Ocean Service Science Seminar; coordinators are and

Webinar Access: We will use Adobe Connect.To join the session, go to, enter as "Guest", and please enter your first and last name. Users should use either IE or Edge on Windows or Safari if using a Mac. Audio will be available thru the computer only; no phone. Questions will be addressed in the chat window. This Webcast will be recorded, archived and made accessible in the near future. You can test your ability to use Adobe Connect at the following link: 
Audio is over the computer, so adjust volume on your computer speakers or headsets.
Questions? Email

Abstract: Coastal communities are increasingly becoming aware of the risks to local infrastructure because of increased flooding, more extreme storm surges, and sea-level rise. As local governments are responsible for the lion's share of land use decision-making and infrastructure development in the United States, local governments in the coastal zone will play a key role in climate adaptation. Local governments already face hard questions about whether to build new infrastructure to adapt, continue maintaining existing infrastructure under increasingly adverse conditions, or, particularly in the instance of roads, whether to abandon them. Using roads and stormwater infrastructure as examples, this presentation distills findings from a research project funded by NOAA's Office of Coastal Management, North Carolina Sea Grant, South Carolina Sea Grant, Georgia Sea Grant, and Florida Sea Grant (Project No. FY2014-2018: NA14OAR4170084). We will discuss: 

  • How tort law both furthers and inhibits resilience planning and climate adaptation efforts, using four South Atlantic states " Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina " as case studies;  
  • Whether FEMA's HAZUS is the appropriate tool for local government adaptation planning; and
  • Lessons learned and opportunities for future planning directions, both at the local and state levels.  

A law review article distilling our findings appeared in the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law this winter. You may access the article at: For a discussion of “takings” issues related to adaptation planning by one of our presenters and project partners, Thomas Ruppert, see also, which appeared recently in Environmental Law Reporter.

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