Bridging climate science, law, and policy to advance coastal adaptation planning

J.Reiblich, E.Hartge, L.M.Wedding, S.Killian, G.M.Verutes
Posted on: 8/27/2019 - Updated on: 2/28/2020

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Rising seas, more frequent storms and other climate-driven coastal hazardsnecessitate adaptation planning measures to protect people and property. To date, coastal vulnerability assessments have prioritized the most exposed areas of coastline, but there is a gap between recognized climate science and the feasibility or suitability considerations relevant for implementing coastal adaptation strategies—including legal, policy, financial, or engineered approaches—to address coastal threats. This paper sets forth a methodology for bridging the gap between climate science, law and coastal adaptation policies. This methodology seeks to connect spatial analysismethods with attributes of coastal adaptation strategies that make them inherently place-based—ranging from engineered solutions, to legal strategies and financial tools—to determine where they are legally feasible and suitable. Both spatial and non-spatial limiting and enabling conditions of coastal adaptation policies drive these determinations. The methodology integrates a spatial framework using feasibility statements derived by 1) coupling these conditions and features with spatial information (e.g., zoning, land use/land cover, geomorphologic features), and 2) identifying suitability conditions through synthesizing policy considerations for each coastal adaptation strategy.