Assessing and Communicating Economic Impacts and Risks Associated with Water Resource Management Challenges Along the Coast

NOAA’s COCA and SARP Programs are announcing 11 new two-year projects that will help coastal communities grapple with and assess risks to their water resources management from high tide flooding, extreme precipitation events, and sea level rise. Inspired by work resulting from past SARP and COCA projects, this new research addresses the need to collaboratively identify and specify economic impacts of extreme weather and climate-related events in coastal areas. Project results will inform planning and responses necessary to support more resilient U.S. coastal communities and resources valuable to the blue economy. The competitively selected projects total $1.57 million.

High-tide flooding on a sunny day in downtown Miami. (Photo available for use under a Creative Commons License)

Recent studies show that the costs of recovering from extreme weather and climate related events are escalating. To reduce the economic strain of extreme events, NOAA has been a federal leader in providing relevant tools and information to characterize risk and inform decisions, particularly along the coast. For example, the Digital Coast, Climate Resilience Toolkit, and the NOAA National Water Model are providing valuable tools and information to decision makers. From the research perspective, decades of interdisciplinary research funded and inspired by NOAA’s Climate and Societal Interactions Programs (including COCA and SARP) has provided leadership on decision support research, assessments, and climate services development activities to help society adapt to a changing climate. Building on this work, the new projects will connect with on-going planning and preparation efforts for future extreme weather and climate events, stimulate new service development activities to help society reduce the impacts of extreme events, and help coastal communities adapt to a changing climate in innovative ways that support economic growth. Ultimately, the research will help support NOAA’s vision of healthy communities, economies, and ecosystems that are resilient in the face of change.

The 11 new projects funded by the COCA and SARP Programs in FY19 are:


  • Recurrent Flooding on Workforce Productivity and Property
    • Joshua Behr, Old Dominion University
    • Wie Yusuf, Old Dominion University
    • Michaelle Covi, Old Dominion University
    • Sarah Stafford, College of William and Mary
    • Derek Loftis, Virginia Institute for Marine Sciences
    • George McLeod, Old Dominion University

  • Translating Climate Uncertainty to Climate Risk in Support of Water Resource Infrastructure Adaptation Decisions
    • Charles S Colgan, Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey
    • Martha Shiels, University of Southern Maine
    • Meghan Rasmussen, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

  • Preparing for, Responding to, and Mitigating Compound Water Hazards for Resilient Rural Communities
    • Scott Curtin, East Carolina University
    • Jamie Kruse, East Carolina University
    • Jennifer Helgeson, National Institute of Standards
    • Anuradha Mukherji, East Carolina University
    • Ausmita Ghosh, East Carolina University

  • Identifying Economic Impacts of Inundation on New York's Lake Ontario Water Resources through Research and Engagement
    • Kristopher Dodson, Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center
    • Scott Steinschneider, Cornell University
    • Richard Rood, University of Michigan
    • Mary Austermann, New York Sea Grant

  • A Comparison of Hurricanes Harvey and Florence on Water Utilities Operations and Planning
    • Travis Gliedt, University of Oklahoma
    • Mark Shafer, University of Oklahoma
    • Barry Keim, Louisiana State University
    • Burrell Montz, East Carolina University

  • Wastewater Infrastructure Tipping Points: Prioritizing Implementation of Climate Adaptation Plans in Decentralized Systems
    • Jane Harrison, North Carolina Sea Grant, North Carolina State University
    • Jessica Whitehead, North Carolina Sea Grant
    • Eric Edwards, North Carolina State University
    • Charles Humphrey, East Carolina University
    • Katie Hill, University of Georgia

  • Enabling Urban Residents to Adapt to Coastal Flooding: Evidence from New York City Neighborhoods
    • Malgosia Madajewicz, Columbia University
    • Philip Orton, Stevens Institute of Technology
    • Michaela Labriole, New York Hall of Science

  • Incorporating the Cascading Impacts of Critical Infrastructure Damages in Economic Flood Risk Analysis
    • Jayantha Obeysekera, Florida International University
    • Claire Jeuken, Deltares USA
    • Carolina Maran, Broward County

  • Compound Fluvial-Coastal Flood and Climate Adaptation: A Transferable Framework of Engagement, Modeling and Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • Phillip Orton, Stevens Institute of Technology
    • Franco A. Montalto, Drexel University
    • Joanne Dahme, Philadelphia Water Department

  • Assessing Climate-Related Risk and Adaptation Options for Water Suppliers Along the Oregon Coast
    • David Rupp, Oregon State University
    • Kathie Dello, Oregon State University
    • Steven Dundas, Oregon State University
    • Harmony Burright, Oregon Water Resources Department

  • Identification and Quantification of Economic Benefits of Climate-Informed Adaptation Measures to Reduce Flood Risk Exposure of Water Supply Infrastructures Along the Southeast Texas Coast
    • Yu Zhang, University of Texas at Arlington
    • Chi-Young Choi, University of Texas at Arlington
    • Dong-Jun Seo, University of Texas at Arlington
    • Michelle Hummel, University of Texas at Arlington
    • Qin Qian, Lamar University

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Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather. In 2017, the United States experienced a record-tying 16 climate- and weather-related disasters where overall costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. Combined, these events claimed 362 lives, and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted, costing more than $306 billion. Businesses, policy leaders, resource managers and citizens are increasingly asking for information to help them address such challenges.

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