Managing climate-related risks to critical ecosystem services and trillions of dollars in coastal infrastructure and properties is a massive challenge facing all US coastal states and territories. There is significant public and private interest in nature-based approaches and ecosystem-based adaptation to help conserve ecosystems and protect man-made infrastructure and communities. Coastal communities increasingly attempt to fund, plan, implement, and monitor projects such as augmenting salt marshes, protecting and replacing dunes, and building oyster reefs, to name a few, but there have been relatively few efforts to collect and compare the lessons learned from on-the-ground implementation.
To articulate the current state of knowledge and practice of coastal green infrastructure and explore the potential to scale up application of nature-based coastal adaptation, a research team made up of Dr. Jessica Reilly-Moman (formerly AGCI, now at University of Maine), Prof. Kathy Jacobs (University of Arizona), Dr. Glynis Lough (AGCI), and Dr. Richard Moss (Princeton University), conducted an assessment to evaluate the effectiveness of nature-based adaptation solutions to meet coastal adaptation needs across spatial and temporal scales. Their approach is based on sustained assessment principles: an expansion of traditional climate assessment literature review, using participatory social science methods and building toward a national community of practice for coastal nature-based adaptation.
The resulting report, “Understanding the Effectiveness of Coastal Nature-based Solutions: Practitioner-based Learning,” draws together existing research, reports, and case studies, with extensive on-the-ground practitioner knowledge and insights based on interviews with over 60 climate change adaptation practitioners in the US and Pacific Islands. It is the first comprehensive examination of the state of knowledge and practice for planning, implementation, and monitoring of nature-based solutions to meet the climate adaptation needs of coastal communities across the US states, territories, and sovereign Native Nations.
Supported by the Department of the Interior U.S. Geological Survey’s Climate Adaptation Science Centers (CASCs), the report clarifies the research questions that relate to assessment and implementation of ecosystem-based adaptation across a wide array of US coastal conditions. The authors share lessons learned from piloting a sustained assessment approach; identify leading practices, key emergent themes, and knowledge gaps for EbA; and provide recommendations for future research with the goal of accelerating sea level rise adaptation that supports both nature and society in coastal areas.
Understanding the Effectiveness of Coastal Nature-based Solutions: Practitioner-based Learning
Marshes and living shorelines. Coral reefs and clam gardens. Coastal communities are turning to nature-based solutions to help face the increasingly dire threats of climate change impacts. What makes a nature-based solution effective? What are the main challenges and opportunities to accelerate their application? This report marks the first comprehensive examination of the state of knowledge and practice of nature-based solutions to meet the climate adaptation needs of coastal communities across the US states, territories, and sovereign Native Nations.