What Is Coastal Resiliency?
Although forecasts are uncertain, relative rise in sea level is well documented and expected to continue in the future. Erosion, saltwater intrusion, storm surges and king tides are being made worse by rising sea level. Local engineers and scientists are working on risk management solutions that balance the need to protect life and property while also protecting the environment. Increased environmental standards require innovative approaches informed by the best available science.
Coastal resiliency has emerged to address ecological functioning, human behavior, engineering design, and community sufficiency in the face of potential hazards. It’s defined by the United States Army Corps of Engineers as “the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions.” Coastal resiliency adopts a “multiple lines of defense” approach: combinations of natural infrastructure (oyster reefs, salt marshes, seagrass, and dunes), engineered solutions, both “soft” (biodegradable fiber rolls, drift fences, coir envelopes, beach nourishment) and “hard” (revetments, bulkheads, revetments, articulating concrete mats), together with policy (buy outs, zoning, and building codes) to reduce the impacts associated with storm events.