The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC) and the Auburn University Marine Extension and Research Center are pleased to announce the release of “An Evaluation of the Community Resilience Index: A Community Planning Tool.” This report marks a milestone for the Community Resilience Index (CRI), detailing its effectiveness for those who have facilitated meetings and the communities who have used the tool.
Created in partnership with Louisiana Sea Grant and the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, and funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program, the CRI can provide a snapshot of baseline resilience to storm events, and can help a community determine areas to focus improvement. Designed to be completed in about two hours, the Index meeting is led by a facilitator trained in neutral facilitation.
Over the past three years, MASGC has lead training and maintained data provided by facilitators as 32 cities, counties and parishes from all five Gulf states participated in the CRI process, culminating in the publication of “An Evaluation of the Community Resilience Index: A Community Planning Tool.” This report details the development and distribution of the Index, as well as qualitative and quantitative information from both facilitators and participants. This information was gathered from results from community meetings and web-based surveys of meeting participants and facilitators.
Both participants and facilitators reported feeling that the CRI is a valuable tool, and the conversations generated were helpful in preparing for future storm events. For instance, one community participant reported that “As a group, we had an opportunity to become aware of the preparations and measures in place by other agencies in our community and how they will respond to a storm event,” and a facilitator noted “One of the most meaningful exercises I have been through in my professional career. You could tell communities were honestly taking a look at their preparedness.”
Though useful in its current form, several suggestions were made to improve the tool, including more thoroughly addressing human health systems and school and childcare, among others. MASGC has already begun to address these recommendations, working with partners to develop four business-based resilience indices to be introduced in the coming months: fisheries businesses, tourism businesses, ports and harbors, and oil- and gas-related businesses. Combined with updates to the CRI, these indices will provide a suite of self-assessment tools to help better prepare our coastal communities for the impacts of storms.
For questions, contact Jody Thompson, CRI regional outreach coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 251-438-5690