Home Science NOAA awards $4.4 million for research on sea level rise and flooding

NOAA awards $4.4 million for research on sea level rise and flooding

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Multi-year awards researching sea level rise to help coastal communities improve resilience

NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science is awarding more than $1.5 million in fiscal year 2019, of an anticipated total of $4.4 million over the next three years, to more than 30 academic, government and non-governmental organizations for research into how natural, man-made and restored coastal habitats could reduce the effects of sea level rise, flooding and storms.

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Coastal communities and their surrounding ecosystems are increasingly threatened by rising seas and coastal flooding that alters shorelines. This can make people, homes and businesses more vulnerable to impacts from coastal storms. Rising sea levels can also change how ecosystems work, especially when combined with flooding from tides and storms. As threats to our coasts increase, coping with sea level rise and flooding has become a priority for local communities to address.

Sea level rise danger

Front Street in Beaufort, North Carolina, during a so-called "king tide." High tide flooding—which causes such public inconveniences as frequent road closures, overwhelmed storm drains and compromised infrastructure—has increased in the U.S. on average by about 50 percent since 20 years ago and 100 percent since 30 years ago. (Christine Burns/NC King Tides Project UNC-IMS)

“Protecting and restoring natural features, like coastal wetlands, mangroves and beaches, can provide substantial economic benefits to coastal communities by providing flood protection and critical habitat, among others,” said David Kidwell, NCCOS’s Competitive Research Program director. “As the benefits of natural features are increasingly understood, communities can better evaluate risk reduction solutions for protection beyond traditional hardened shorelines.”

Funding under NOAA’s Ecological Effects of Sea Level Rise Program will support six new research projects in California, Florida, the Chesapeake Bay region, North Carolina and the Pacific Northwest. A full list and summary of the grant awards is available online.

These awards contribute to a larger NOAA effort to provide science to inform decisions, conserve priority ecosystems and advance the use of natural infrastructure to lessen the effects of coastal hazards.

NCCOS delivers ecosystem science solutions for NOAA’s National Ocean Service and its partners, bringing research, scientific information and tools to help balance the nation’s ecological, social and economic goals. Visit our website for more about NCCOS research.

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