Adaptation & Management

There are a wide variety of adaptation strategies used throughout the world to effectively manage increasing flood risk.  However, adaptation measures need to be designed based on the unique setting of each locality, incorporating local causes of flooding and social and economic characteristics.  This section provides tools that can be used by local governments and private citizens to understand risk and how to mitigate and adapt to flooding.  These tools include current flood risk, updated sea level rise scenarios for risk assessment, patterns of human usage of the shorelines, distribution of natural resources and adaptation strategies appropriate for migrating flood risk. 

Living shorelines are adaptive shoreline management strategies that use organic materials that are characteristic of the local system, such as wetland plantings, to reduce erosion and maintain the connection between aquatic and terrestrial habitats (Bilkovic et al. 2016).

Pressures to abate erosion and secure shorelines in place will only continue, and likely increase, as the proportion of the human population living near the coasts grows and sea level continues to rise.  This may be particularly problematic in areas where heavily urbanized landscapes intersect with higher than average rates of sea level rise; for example, southern Chesapeake Bay has one of the highest rates of rise in the United States (Boon and Mitchell 2015) and one of the fastest growing coastal populations in the continental United States (Crossett et al. 2004).  With this mind, public policy in the form of incentives (e.g., cost-share programs) or legislative requirements (Virginia and Maryland) to promote the use of living shorelines where applicable has been implemented in Chesapeake Bay.  Promisingly, there is growing recognition of the inherent value of bay habitats and ecosystems to protect coastal communities from storms and flooding, and support fisheries and other industries, and living shoreline approaches can be broadly applied in the Bay.

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