GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 103-13
Presentation Time: 4:45 PM


SAVARESE, Michael, Dept. of Marine and Earth Sciences, Environmental Geology Program, Florida Gulf Coast University, 10501 FGCU Blvd S, Fort Myers, FL 33965

Climate-change preparedness typically follows a 4-step process: (1) problem contextualization by the effected community; (2) assessing the vulnerability of the community’s assets; (3) adaptation planning and implementation; and (4) mitigation through greenhouse gas reduction to minimize the magnitude of climate effects. For coastal communities in particular, geoscience can inform tool development (i.e., computer models) for vulnerability analysis. With funding from 2 NOAA RESTORE Act grants, a team of scientists from University of Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University, and the U.S. Geological Survey is collaborating with urban, natural, and cultural resource managers and elected officials from city and county governments, public agencies, and NGOs to assist Collier County (coastal Southwest Florida) in its understanding of and planning for their vulnerability from SLR-exacerbated, storm-induced flooding. Three integrated computer models, ACUNE, XBEACH, and WARMER-mangrove, are projecting flooding scenarios for 3 future times (2030, 2060, 2100) and for 3 SLR magnitudes (based on NOAA, 2017 forecasts). ACUNE simulates the depth of inundation caused by SLR, storm surge, tides, and waves; XBEACH anticipates the magnitude and location of sediment erosion and deposition; and WARMER both accounts for the effects of mangrove vegetation on flooding attenuation and predicts the future distribution of that vegetation as a consequence of SLR. Two end-user teams (Natural & Cultural Resource Management and Urban Adaptation Planning), composed of 80 stakeholders, and a group of 70 civic leaders representing the county’s economic, social, and cultural sectors, have been engaged since the project’s inception. They have: informed tool development; identified and mapped their sector’s assets; been trained in the tools’ applications; and currently are engaged in vulnerability analysis workshops. The adaptation planning phase is forthcoming. The success of this project has been founded upon a relationship of trust and respect between the community and the science team, one that would not have been possible without closely engaging stakeholders throughout the process. Consequently, professionals with consensus-building skills should be integral partners in any climate-change preparedness project.