Coastal New Hampshire Uses New Tool to Improve Climate Preparedness

Project Summary/Overview

​The NOAA Roadmap for Adapting to Coastal Risks (Roadmap) provides flexible, conceptual framework for exploring how current and future hazards impact infrastructure, ecosystems and societal wellbeing, and how communities can manage these vulnerabilities. The Roadmap integrates the vulnerability assessment into the current municipal or regional planning activities.
​This Roadmap has been utilized by Newfield, a community with a volunteer-board government. It will expand the capacity in Newfield for climate preparedness through increased knowledge about the communities’ vulnerability, and awareness of climate adaptation options.

Project Background

​The Roadmap is a participatory process for assessing a community’s vulnerability to hazards – and for incorporating relevant data and information about hazards and climate into ongoing local planning and decision-making. The Roadmap has been used to identify relevant risk and vulnerability data, to coordinate community plans and programs, and to help communities plan for and adapt to coastal risks and vulnerabilities.

Project Implementation

​In contrast to traditional community planning activities such as master planning, the Roadmap requires specific knowledge from many community sectors, ranging from emergency serves to water resource management to zoning and land use planning. There are three phases to the Roadmap:

  1. Community Characterization – identifying ongoing initiatives the Roadmap can be integrated and key community groups that will play a role in implementing recommendations;
  2. Exploring Climate Change Impacts on the Community through “Vulnerability Profiles” – identifying adaptation priorities through a serious of probing questions; and
  3. Using the Results by “taking action” – identifying and prioritizing opportunities to reduce current and future hazards.

Project Outcomes and Conclusions

​The Roadmap remains an initial framework of exploring how hazards impact a community. Roadmap participants will naturally expand upon it based on local conditions. Following this pilot project to adapt the Roadmap for a small NH coastal watershed community, the NH Natural Resources Outreach Coalition (NROC) and the NH Coastal Adaptation Workgroup (CAW) will seek to transfer the process to other small NH coastal watershed communities.

Prepared by Amanda Stone and Chris Keeley