Coastal Hazards Resilience

The Coastal Hazards Resilience Committee is one of three NROC Standing Committees. This committee was established to inform and recommend to the Council how best to approach regional issues and coordinate activities related to coastal hazards resilience and climate adaptation in New England. Download the committee’s 2021-2023 Work Plan.

Current Activities

Resilient Shorelines – Living Shorelines Group

To facilitate knowledge sharing around resilient shorelines, especially living shorelines and coastal green/natural infrastructure.


StormSmart Coasts Network

Supporting a national resource for coastal decision makers looking for information on how to protect their communities from weather and climate hazards.


Webinar Series

Sharing coastal hazards resilience tools and resources available to state and local officials in New England.

Municipal Grants

Municipal Coastal Resilience Initiative

Working with coastal communities to identify and implement resilience solutions.

Committee Goal

Build resilience to impacts of coastal erosion, flooding, storms, and climate change through region-wide dissemination of data, tools, and case studies, as well as fostering collaborative actions.

Building Resilience to Climate Impacts: Storms, Sea Level Rise and Shifting Ecosystems

New England coastal communities have experienced coastal storm events that have led to loss of life and major damage to homes, businesses, infrastructure, and shorelines. Coastal hazards information and tools can assist state and local officials to better plan for impacts of storms and sea level rise and implement strategies to prevent recurring future damages. Data such as detailed terrestrial contours, shallow water bathymetry, and mean high water positions are needed throughout the region to support efforts to identify potential inundation zones from storm surge, erosion and sea level rise. A companion to data is the need to develop user-friendly tools to access and analyze data and support management decisions and recommendations.


The committee has determined three strategies for working toward its goal. During 2013-2014, the committee will:

  1. Promote regional dialogue on broad-scale adaptation strategies for responding to the effects of sea-level rise.
  2. Act on data acquisition priorities and user-friendly tools needed to support planning for and responses to coastal hazards.
  3. Partner with academia, industry and public agencies to develop a plan for an Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) that supports storm surge and inundation forecasting and response.

Committee Members

Julia Knisel, Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (State Co-chair),

Vacant (Federal Co-chair)

Kevin O’Brien, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (NERACOOS Co-chair)

Patricia Bowie, Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management

Steve Couture, New Hampshire Coastal Program

Stephen Dickson, Maine Geological Survey

Edward Fratto, Northeast States Emergency Consortium

Sherry Godlewski, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Kirsten Howard, New Hampshire Coastal Program

Regina Lyons, EPA Region 1

Ellen Mecray, NOAA

Paul Morey, FEMA Region 1

James O’Donnell, Connecticut CIRCA

Lisa Rector, NESCAUM

Peter Slovinsky, Maine Geological Survey

Tonna-Marie Surgeon-Rogers, Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Adam Whelchel, The Nature Conservancy

Jeff Willis, Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council

This list is a summary of selected accomplishments of the Coastal Hazards Resilience Committee.

  • Northeast LiDAR and Sea Level Rise Impacts Workshop (July 2012) 75 federal, state, and local data managers and users participated in a two-day workshop to discuss use of high-resolution LiDAR in sea level rise and inundation mapping efforts.
  • StormSmart Coasts New England Webinar Series (September 2011 – October 2012) NROC organized 6 webinars on topics related to impacts of coastal hazards, emergency preparedness, community resilience, and climate adaptation as well as specific case studies or pilot projects from New England.  An average of 20 to 50 state and local officials participated in each webinar.
  • Development of the StormSmart Coasts New England Network (June 2011) State pages available for Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.
  • Coastal Climate Adaptation Training (October 2010) NROC identified the need for a regional Climate Adaptation Training for state managers.  NOAA’s Coastal Services Center and the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) organized a training with additional support from EPA’s Region 1, New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission, and Rhode Island Sea Grant.  More than 25 state agencies and regional organizations received training on coastal climate adaptation planning.
  • Climate Adaptation Proposal to NOAA (September 2010) NROC Hazards Committee Co-chairs worked with the Gulf of Maine Council’s Climate Change Network to identify regional climate adaptation planning needs and submitted a successful collaborative proposal to NOAA’s Climate Program Office.
  • New England LiDAR Proposal to USGS (2009) New England states (data managers and data users) collaborated to submit a regional proposal for the USGS ‘ARRA’ Funding Opportunity for LiDAR acquisition.  The New England states used the results of the May 2009 LiDAR workshop to inform the proposal.
  • LiDAR Workshop (May 2009) NROC and USGS sponsored a workshop to discuss regional LiDAR data needs and requirements.
  • Coastal Hazards Resilience Workshop (November 2007) Thematic areas included determining impacts of past hazard events, learning the effects of climate change on the intensity and frequency of future events, and understanding the region’s current resiliency to better gauge existing preparedness and improve future capacity.  Nearly 60 stakeholders from diverse backgrounds participated in the workshop. Presenters provided important inspiration and background on issues like storm events and climate change impacts, as well as valuable opportunities and lessons learned from specific efforts to improve coastal hazards resiliency.