ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE IN COASTAL NATIONAL PARKS: ESTIMATING THE EXPOSURE OF ALL PARK ASSETS TO 1M OF SEA-LEVEL RISE
This project utilized an existing NPS database (Facilities Management Software System) containing a comprehensive list of assets within each unit. There are over 10,000 assets within these 40 coastal units. A variety of methods were used to assess the vulnerability to sea level rise of each asset including the acquisition of existing digital datasets, collaboration with park staff, and field visits. Assets were simply characterized as having a relatively high exposure to sea level rise or relatively low. These data will be used to provide a “big picture” view of what is at risk in coastal parks in terms of the types of assets (civil war forts to hiking trails) and the overall replacement value of the assets at risk.
Results from this group of 40 coastal parks indicate that over 40% of the assets are highly exposed, with a cumulative value of over $40 billion. The majority of the high-risk assets were from the southeastern, low-lying barrier island parks; however, the northeast region units had over one-third of assets highly exposed, many of which are historically and culturally significant to NPS. A detailed case study of Gateway National Recreation Area and Hurricane Sandy indicate that many assets initially designated as “limited exposure” were damaged or destroyed Sandy. So the assesments in this study are probably conservative.The next step of this project is to include an additional 30 units into these analyses. This is currently underway and includes many units in the National Capital and Northeast Regions of the U.S.