As one of the sources for the cover story of this edition of Coastal Services succinctly puts it, community and state planning for climate change is not necessarily about being green; it's about understanding and managing risk. It's also about saving money.
Taking your region's potential impacts from natural disasters or climate change into consideration when planning future projects or upgrading infrastructure, and spending a little extra money today, could save significant amounts of money later.
This process doesn't have to be overwhelming. The cover story on "Preparing for Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local, Regional, and State Governments" shows that planning for climate change now can be done using familiar tools and processes.
And just because the tools are familiar doesn't mean there isn't room for creativity when implementing hazard mitigation, as the article on the My Safe Florida Home program illustrates.
While the terms are different, there is "connectivity" between safe homes and businesses, hazard mitigation, and coastal climate impact adaptation, which is the ability of communities and citizens to "bounce back" after hazardous events. Stronger, better-informed, and better-prepared coastal communities increase their physical, social, economic, and environmental ability to rebound from weather and climate impacts.
Providing coastal communities with the necessary tools to recover quickly from hazards is the focus of all the resilience efforts of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Coastal Services Center.
The Coastal Services Center is developing tools and information to help communities understand their particular vulnerabilities and minimize hazard-caused destruction and disruption.
Working in partnerships with other federal agencies, natural- and social-science research communities, and a wide range of coastal managers, the Center's Coastal Resilience Initiative is striving to define key resilience factors, identify critical linkages, and enable community-based adaptive management techniques.
You can read about tools that can help with community and hazard mitigation planning, disaster preparedness and response initiatives, and long-term recovery and restoration efforts at www.csc.noaa.gov/bins/resilience.html.
-- Margaret A. Davidson