Planning for climate impact


Sea level in Rhode Island could rise three to five feet or more within 100 years, according to the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), enough to engulf local waterfronts as we know them today. Superstorm Sandy, a devastating hurricane that hit Rhode Island in 2012, seriously damaged homes and businesses along the state’s coast, and experts say it won’t be the last time.

With 400 miles of coastline, Rhode Island is increasingly facing the mounting effects of climate change. These effects include rising sea levels, increased coastal and inland flooding that comes from intense storms, extended droughts, and longer and more intense heat waves.

To address some of these challenges, the Foundation awarded grants to the University of Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Center (CRC) to help develop the Shoreline Change Special Area Management Plan (Beach SAMP). The Foundation looked to several pools of funding in making the grants, including over $110,000 from the donor-advised Spartina Fund.

The multiyear project focuses on improving coastal resiliency to erosion and flooding caused by storms or sea level rise. The goals are to identify where and how the shoreline is changing, develop new erosion and inundation policies, and provide practical guidance for communities.

“Rhode Island needs to prepare now for a changing coastline,” said Jenny Pereira, our director of grant programs. “This project focuses on the smart, long-term management and protection of our coastline with a coordinated, multi-stakeholder approach.”

In addition to the CRMC and CRC, the Beach SAMP partners are the Rhode Island Sea Grant, the Rhode Island Geological Survey, the URI Graduate School of Oceanography, and the URI College of the Environment and Life Sciences.

The Foundation is proud to support the efforts of Beach SAMP in working to ensure Rhode Island’s shores are preserved for all to enjoy for generations to come.
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