MASGC Project Impacts

Orange Beach, Alabama updates Emergency Operations Plan as a result of vulnerability assessment


A comprehensive vulnerability assessment of a community is needed to determine baseline data to prepare for future conditions. Changing climate conditions, such as sea-level rise, heavy precipitation and greater intensity of storms, can exacerbate storm situations.


The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium worked with the City of Orange Beach to organize a Vulnerability-Consequence Adaptation Planning Scenarios (VCAPS) workshop. The VCAPS program assists communities in identifying vulnerabilities and is utilized in planning for future conditions (erosion, stormwater, intense storms, drought, wildfires, inland flooding). During the one-day event, participants were asked to map out management concerns for the city, stressors that impact those concerns, and identify processes and events that lead to consequences. Then, participants identified actions to eliminate the consequences and stressors and built a plan for moving forward. A diagramming tool was used to create a “map” from the conversations and was modified and used as a roadmap for future decision-making.


During this workshop, members from the City of Orange Beach and neighboring cities within the watershed, developed an action plan for responding to increased heavy precipitation events and greater intensity storm events. These actions were incorporated into an updated Emergency Operations Plan that was adopted by the city in 2013. Participants noted the real-time diagramming used in VCAPS supported understanding and sharing of information. It helped to keep participants focused on the process as opposed to personalities and contrasting viewpoints. Participants commented that self-generated scenarios were more credible and the process placed relatively few demands on the time or resources of local officials.


The City of Orange Beach adopted a new Emergency Operations Plan as a result of the vulnerability assessment workshop conducted in partnership with Sea Grant. (2014)