National Park Service releases Coastal Adaptation Strategies Handbook

Monday, November 07, 2016

The National Park Service's 86 ocean and coastal parks and over 12,000 miles of shoreline currently experience effects from climate change, including reduced water levels in the Great Lakes, changing storm patterns, increasing ocean acidity and melting permafrost. 118 parks in the coastal zone will be vulnerable as sea levels change. Climate change will amplify the existing dynamic nature of coastal and shoreline areas, threatening park resources, infrastructure, and public recreational opportunities. "Anticipatory planning" and engagement with local communities to consider new, more sustainable ways to provide visitor services and protect heritage resources in these dynamic environments are critical. Even if plans are not in place before storm events, recovery actions can employ new sustainability concepts. For example, planning for new ways of "doing business" is underway now as part of an interdisciplinary review to support NPS recovery actions following Hurricane Sandy. Lessons learned from this effort and projects underway in a variety of coastal and Great Lakes parks will inform next steps for climate change adaptation.

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