Coastal communities in the U.S. provide a wide range of economic, social, and recreational opportunities. Over one third of the population of Massachusetts lives along the coastline. At the same time, coastal ponds, embayments, open coasts, and coastal resources may be impacted by society’s commercial, recreational and residential activities. Threats to coastal communities include sea-level rise and climate change,shoreline erosion, conflicts between the protection of waterfront property and the preservation of the beneficial functions of coastal landforms and resources, conflicts between private ownership of the coast and public access, and recreational demands on the coast through boating, fishing, shellfishing, and the use of beaches for swimming and sunbathing. Emerging interests in coastal wind farms present new opportunities to gather information on scientific, social and economic concerns of wind farm siting and development. Woods Hole Sea Grant’s portfolio in this theme includes both research and extension activities that directly interface with the management community charged with making regulatory decisions. Program elements include characterization of coastal processes, assessing sound in coastal waters before installation of coastal wind turbines, and developing new approaches for managing marine spatial planning and ocean zoning.
Extension and outreach efforts that support the Resilient Communities and Economies focus area are:
- assisting coastal resource managers, property owners, and the general public in making informed, effective decisions that contribute to maintaining the beneficial functions of coastal landform systems through an understanding coastal processes and hazard mitigation research;
- producing extension bulletins and other information on sea level rise, coastal erosion, hurricanes and other storms;
- conducting teacher workshops on beach and dune dynamics, coastal processes, and sound in the sea with a consideration of potential effects of coastal wind farms; and
- co-sponsoring workshops and conducting needs assessments in collaboration with the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management and the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve on issues relevant to sustainable coastal development. New techniques, topics, and approaches will be added to this portfolio as information needs are identified.
- Serena Moseman-Valtierra, University of Rhode Island, Jim Tang, Marine Biological Laboratory, and Kevin D. Kroeger, US Geological Survey: Shifts in greenhouse gas emissions and productivity of coastal wetlands in response to anthropogenic N loading and rising sea level.
- Steve Elgar and Britt Raubenheimer, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: Modeling shoreline morphological evolution
- Robert Johnston, Clark University, K. Moeltner, C. Blinn, Virginia Tech, and C. Feurt, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve: Coastal hazards and northeast housing values: Comparative implications for climate change adaptation and community resilience (NESGC Regional Project)
- Porter Hoagland, Di Jin, Hauke Kite-Powell, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and John Duff, University of Massachusetts-Boston: Buy out or build back? A comparative assessment of approaches to employing public funding to vulnerable coastal properties in the Northeastern United States (NESGC Regional Project)
- Jonathan Grabowski and M. Ruth, Northeastern University: Social and ecological factors influencing shoreline hardening in the Northeast (NSI Social Sciences and NESGC Regional Project)
- Porter Hoagland and Di Jin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: Decision-Support for the Economic Analysis of Trade-offs in Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP) for the US Northeast Region (Regional Socioeconomic Project from the Northeast Sea Grant Consortium Competition)