Coastal Community Resilience Index

Tracie Sempier,
Coastal Storms Outreach Coordinator, MASGC -
[email protected]

Jody Thompson,
Environmental Extension Associate, MASGC -
[email protected]

Posted on: 7/31/2017 - Updated on: 2/27/2020

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The Coastal Resilience Index (CRI) is a self-assessment tool, in worksheet form, that evaluates community storm preparedness and recovery potential. Designed for quick and easy use by community leaders, the CRI guides discussion and self-assessment of important coastal assets — including infrastructure and facilities, transportation, community plans, mitigation measures, business plans, and social systems — in relation to self-defined storm scenarios, facilitating identification of areas where community resilience could be bolstered. In addition to general storm resilience, the CRI includes many evaluations related to water resources, including the resilience of water utility infrastructure, floodplain management strategies, and developing alternative potable water sources. The CRI can inform resource allocation decisions and/or help with the prioritization of projects aimed at reducing coastal city storm vulnerability. The CRI is available for free download, depends mainly on the knowledge of local leaders, and is intended to be used frequently (e.g., annually, bi-annually) and/or re-assessed as rates of climate and climate-driven changes shift. The CRI also includes additional resources for communities looking to find more detailed information.

Example in use: The Gulf of Mexico Alliance worked with Orange Beach, Alabama, to complete an in-depth municipal vulnerability assessment using the Community Resilience Index and other vulnerability assessment tools. This assessment led to an update of the town’s emergency management plan, enhancing the overall resilience of this coastal community to climate change impacts.

Phase of Adaptation: Assessment


Local authorities, local planners and policymakers, water utility managers


Tracie Sempier

Managing Organizations

The National Sea Grant College Program, administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is a federal/state partnership that matches NOAA Sea Grant expertise and resources with state academic institutions. The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC), created in 1972, is one of 32 Sea Grant programs.

NOAA is an agency that enriches life through science. Our reach goes from the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor as we work to keep citizens informed of the changing environment around them. From daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce, NOAA’s products and services support economic vitality and affect more than one-third of America’s gross domestic product.

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance is a partnership of the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, with the goal of significantly increasing regional collaboration to enhance the ecological and economic health of the Gulf of Mexico. The five U.S. Gulf States have identified six priority issues that are regionally significant and can be effectively addressed through increased collaboration at local, state, and federal levels: