New York and Connecticut: visualizing coastal impacts, planning wisely for the future, and advancing adaptive responses today

New York and Connecticut

The coastlines of Long Island Sound, Peconic Bay and the south shore of Long Island are critical places to visualize the coastal impacts, plan wisely for the future, and advance adaptative responses today.

The coastlines of New York and Connecticut, including Long Island Sound, Peconic Bay and the south shore of Long Island are among the most heavily developed in the world. Much of this coastal property is only inches above existing sea level, putting billions of dollars in public and private funds and business at risk. Coastal wetlands and other ecosystems provide habitat, natural buffers from storms, and other natural benefits, are also at great risk of loss due to sea level rise.

Despite a growing awareness of the risk posed by global climate change, communities and local decision-makers have little access to the information and tools they need to protect people and nature through proactive responses to minimizing risk from coastal hazards and conserving natural resources.  Without the right tool, it is difficult to imagine the consequences of sea level rise and major storms.  And without the right tool it is impossible to responsibly plan for community growth while protecting natural resources. The immediate and long-term costs to natural and human communities are increasing as uninformed development continues and natural defenses, such as coastal wetlands and dunes, are lost.

Adaptation to coastal hazards has traditionally been undertaken – often unsuccessfully – using shoreline hardening and engineered defenses. Ecosystem-based adaptation offer an alternative approach to built infrastructure and is sorely needed within an overall strategy for creating human community resilience in the face of climate change. To address this need, the Coastal Resilience project provides a decision support platform to better inform a process for decision-making and the implementation of ecosystem-based adaptation solutions.