Project to help communities plan for climate change

By: Melissa Schneider / Published: Feb 19,  2010

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Sea Grant College Program has awarded a $25,000 grant that will bring together extension, outreach and education professionals in the Gulf of Mexico to learn more about how coastal communities can adapt to sea-level rise and other regional climate-related issues. This spring, the professionals will interact with leading climate scientists, experts in risk communication and local community planners at a workshop in Florida to learn about reliable science and effective ways to plan for the effects of climate change.

The goal of the effort is to establish a long-term community of practice among extension, outreach and education professionals in the Gulf region that will ensure continued dialogue and information exchange on sea-level rise and other climate-change and coastal-hazard-related issues.

“The potential economic, social, and ecological impacts of sea level rise around the Gulf of Mexico are tremendous” said Buck Sutter, the NOAA Gulf of Mexico Regional Collaboration Team lead and deputy regional administrator of the Southeast Region of the National Marine Fisheries Service.  “We are finding that coastal communities want reliable information and science-based guidance regarding both the level of risk to their coastal communities and strategies they can utilize to effectively adapt to climate change.”

The grant is one of eight climate engagement mini-grants awarded throughout the United States to support preparation for climate change. The project will be led by Sutter and the four Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant college programs.

“Since our Sea Grant researchers and extension agents serve the local coastal communities in which they live, Sea Grant is well-suited to connect NOAA science to the needs of local coastal communities,” said Leon Cammen, Ph.D., director of the NOAA National Sea Grant College Program. “Issues related to climate change are a Sea Grant priority.”

Sea Grant is a nationwide network of 32 university-based programs that work with coastal communities. The National Sea Grant College Program engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of aquatic resources.


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