Science Needs for Sea-Level Adaptation Planning: Comparisons among Three U.S. Atlantic Coastal Regions

K. C. Lindeman, L. E. Dame, C. B. Avenarius, B. P. Horton, J. P. Donnelly, D. R. Corbett, A. C. Kemp, P. Lane, M. E. Mann, and W. R. Peltier

Coastal Management (2015)

DOI: 10.1080/08920753.2015.1075282

To identify priority information needs for sea-level rise planning, we conducted workshops in Florida, North Carolina, and Massachusetts in the summer of 2012. Attendees represented professionals from five stakeholder groups: federal and state governments, local governments, universities, businesses, and nongovernmental organizations. Over 100 people attended and 96 participated in breakout groups. Text analysis was used to organize and extract most frequently occurring content from 16 total breakout groups. The most frequent key words/phrases were identified among priority topics within five themes: analytic tools, communications, land use, ecosystem management, and economics. Diverse technical and communication tools were identified to help effectively plan for change. In many communities, planning has not formally begun. Attendees sought advanced prediction tools yet simple messaging for decision-makers facing politically challenging planning questions. High frequency key words/phrases involved fine spatial scales and temporal scales of less than 50 years. Many needs involved communications and the phrase “simple messaging” appeared with the highest frequency. There was some evidence of geographic variation among regions. North Carolina breakout groups had a higher frequency of key words/phrases involving land use. The results reflect challenges and tractable opportunities for planning beyond current, geophysically brief, time scales (e.g., election cycles and mortgage periods).

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