The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Coastal Program worked with a coordinated team to help municipal leaders, community members and business owners identify and understand coastal resources and hazards as well as ways to reduce vulnerability to these hazards. Project work began in early 2014 and was completed in spring 2015.
The project partners connected the Seacoast community with information and tools to help plan for coastal hazards, including the facilitation of community adaptation planning workshops, the creation of a new one-stop shop for all hazards-related data in the 42 municipalities of New Hampshire’s coastal watershed, improved modeling on how NH’s salt marshes will be affected by sea level rise, and outreach to area businesses.
The project was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office for Coastal Management (as a Project of Special Merit).
- DES Coastal Program
- DES Flood Hazards Program
- NH Fish and Game Department Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Great Bay Stewards
- National Resources Outreach Coalition, UNH Cooperative Extension, NH SeaGrant
- NH Geographically Referenced Analysis and Information Transfer System-GRANIT
- Jackson Estuarine Laboratory
- Stephenson Strategic Communications
- NH Coastal Adaptation Workgroup
- Rockingham Planning Commission
For a detailed description of project tasks and accomplishments, view the project’s progress reports.
Summary of Project Accomplishments:
Community Adaptation Planning
Project partners worked with communities on climate adaptation planning. Three communities were identified using an application process: the City of Dover, the City of Portsmouth and the Seabrook-Hamptons Estuary Alliance, a collaboration of the three communities of Seabrook, Hampton Falls and Hampton.
- Request for Qualifications that was used to select the communities
- Preparing for Climate Change in Dover
- Preparing for Climate Change in Hampton-Seabrook Estuary
NH Coastal Viewer
This online mapping tool was launched in spring of 2015 and gives anyone with an Internet connection the ability to access more than 150 spatial data sets and to make and share their own customized maps.
The Coastal Viewer brings both new and existing coastal resources and hazards-related spatial data sets in the 42 communities of N.H.'s coastal watershed together in one place. Examples of this data include conservation and public lands, salt marsh and eelgrass maps, aerial imagery, FEMA floodplains, storm surge and sea-level rise information, infrastructure, and fluvial erosion hazards and culvert assessment data. Some of the features of the Coastal Viewer include the ability to search, display and query data sets; customize the color of the displayed data; and make, share and print maps.
The Sea Level Affecting Marsh Migration model was run with new and more accurate data inputs, providing new and valuable information on how salt marshes will be able to adapt to future sea level rise conditions. Final mapping products were incorporated into the NH Coastal Viewer.
- Marshes called key in combating sea-level rise, Seacoast Online, June 17
- Marshes on the Move, by NOAA Coastal Services Center and the Nature Conservancy
- Ecosystems and Wildlife Climate Change Adaptation Plan Chapter, NH Fish and Wildlife Action Plan, NH Fish and Game
Tidal Marsh Elevation Verifications
The elevation of six Sediment Elevation Tables (SETs) in the Hampton Seabrook Estuary and SETs in the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve were measured. This data will help show if NH’s salt marshes are keeping up with sea level rise.
- Sediment Elevation Table Fact Sheet, by UNH Jackson Estuarine Laboratory
- Using Sediment Elevation Tables to Analyze Recent Changes in Surface Elevation of New Hampshire Salt Marshes, by UNH Jackson Estuarine Laboratory
Outreach discussions were held with Seacoast area businesses. Feedback from these discussions indicated that business owners want to hear stories about how other businesses bounced back or didn't after coastal hazards hit. Business continuity workshops were held in June 2014 and March 2015. The content focused on how businesses can plan ahead to deal with natural disasters and included a facilitated exercise on maintaining business operations, as well as employee safety, safeguarding of vital records, and obtaining proper insurances.
- “Tech Talk: Weather change can impact business”, by MJ Shoer, Seacoast Online, March 22, 2015
- “Climate Change Impacts Businesses”, opinion, Seacoast Online, May 16, 2014
Two workshops were held in March 2015 to introduce the Coastal Viewer to potential users. The first workshop was targeted to data stewards and managers, such as users from state and regional government and nonprofit organizations. The second workshop was targeted to a municipal audience. GRANIT and Coastal Program staff presented the Viewer and what data sets are available on it as well as facilitated the discussion and collection of feedback at both workshops. Several municipal planners indicated that the tool would be helpful in their work, including in the development of Hazard Mitigation Plans. Some also mentioned that the Viewer would allow them to do mapping work on their own without a GIS staff person.
For more information, contact Coastal Program Manager Steve Couture at (603) 271-8801 or [email protected]
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