Conserving and restoring habitats helps communities meet goals related to biodiversity, recreational access, and community green space. These activities can also improve the ability of coastal communities and watersheds to withstand natural hazards and climate risks.
Healthy coastal zone and watershed ecosystems are able to buffer upland areas from erosive forces like wind, waves and storm surge; absorb excess waters to minimize flooding; and adapt to a range of changing short- and long-term conditions, the latter including lake level fluctuations. Where appropriate, functional shorelines can more successfully and cost-effectively protect ecological and human communities than fixes designed to recreate those lost benefits after the fact. Case studies will focus on protection of the region’s key ecological resources, with an emphasis on maintaining or restoring the protective and other beneficial functions of natural floodplains and on the use of “living shorelines” for adaptive management and response to dynamic shorelines.
Communities have expressed a particular need for access to credible, relevant data and information pertaining to coastal processes, ecosystem services, and land use practices that account for the climate and hazards benefits of habitat conservation and restoration, as well as to the outreach and communication resources to help explain these benefits to citizens.
To help address these and other habitat and environmental related issues, we are providing case studies of what some communities are doing and examples of data and tools that can help. Case studies that exemplify best practices are the core of the Planning Guide, and we are continually looking to expand those offered. If you have a case study to share – or a local story that illustrates hazard or resilience issues in your community – please contact us.