Coastal Adaptation to Sea Level Rise Tool (COAST)

Sam Merrill
[email protected]

Posted on: 11/19/2013 - Updated on: 2/27/2020

Posted by

Rachel Gregg


COAST (COastal Adaptation to Sea level rise Tool) is a process that helps users answer questions in regards to the costs and benefits of actions and strategies to avoid damages to assets from sea level rise and/or coastal flooding.

COAST predicts damages from varying amounts of sea level rise and storms of various intensities and evaluates relative benefits and costs of response strategies. Although it is a technical tool, its primary value is how it connects the technical with the social, political, and economic realities of local adaptation. Stakeholders are drawn in to actively engage in discussions about their future, and they parameterize the model. Being entirely driven by participants, and using locally derived data on vulnerable assets (real estate, economic activity, infrastructure, natural resources, human health, others) and candidate adaptation actions wherever possible, COAST results generate enthusiasm and buy-in not available through most other approaches.

The COAST software was developed at the University of Southern Maine with funds from the US EPA, and in collaboration with partners at Battelle, the Maine Geologic Survey, the University of New Hampshire, and Blue Marble Geographics. With this software, users will be able to conduct basic cost-benefit analyses themselves. Depending on user skill sets and the nature of assets and adaptation actions being modeled, consulting assistance may be required and is available through Catalysis Adaptation Partners.

More information on the COAST approach may be found here. Read more about the calculations behind the tool in Simplified method for scenario-based risk assessment adaptation planning in the coastal zone.


Communities, agencies, and utilities who are seeking to address the following questions related to sea level rise and coastal flooding:

  • Should we build a sea wall?
  • Should we develop a proactive building ordinance?
  • Should we build a levee?
  • Should we change our zoning?
  • Should we relocate?

Managing Organizations

The Muskie School of Public Service is Maine’s distinguished public policy school, combining an extensive applied research and technical assistance portfolio with rigorous undergraduate and graduate degree programs in geography-anthropology, community planning and development (CPD), public health (MPH), and public policy

Catalysis Adaptation Partners, LLC, is a consulting firm of senior experts with extensive experience in planning for sea level rise, coastal hazards and extreme weather events. Our partners are economists, scientists, planners and engineers. We provide an array of climate and coastal hazard adaptation-related services, including: vulnerability assessments,inundation mapping and visualization, economic impact evaluation, adaptation strategy development and implementation, planning process analysis,policy revision assistance,and consensus building support.