The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, working in partnership with the Town of Dauphin Island, the Dauphin Island Water and Sewer Authority, and the Dauphin Island Park and Beach Board, proposes to improve the capacity of Dauphin Island to adapt to climate change through the preparation of climate change vulnerability and risk assessments and development of recommended adaptation policy responses to address identified vulnerabilities and risks. In the first year of the project, MASGC will provide technical assistance and support to Dauphin Island as it scopes the climate change impacts to its natural and built resources, identifies planning areas relevant to climate change, and conducts a climate change vulnerability assessment and a climate change risk assessment. In the second year of the project, MASGC will undertake a review of Dauphin Island’s existing policies, procedures, and practices to assess adaptive capacity and make recommendations for policy responses to address identified vulnerabilities. During the June 1, 2012 – March 31, 2014 project period, the major objectives of the MASGC and project partners are to:
- Complete a Dauphin Island Climate Resiliency Study and
- Raise local government and community awareness of Dauphin Island’s climate vulnerabilities and risks and adaptation policy options.
The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium will facilitate the Dauphin Island Climate Resiliency Study following the framework laid out by the Climate Impacts Group, King County, Washington, and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability in “Preparing for Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local, Regional, and State Governments.” Leveraging funding from the Mobile Bay NEP and EPA’s Climate Ready Estuary Program, Dauphin Island will engage in the Vulnerability-Consequence Adaptation Planning Scenarios (VCAPS) process. MASGC will achieve its objectives by working in partnership with the Town of Dauphin Island to conduct research on regional climate impacts, facilitate an assessment process through electronic communications and personal meetings, and conduct public outreach through websites, public meetings, and electronic publications.
Information on regional climate change impacts is readily available in scientific journal articles, governmental reports, newspapers, and websites. It is often difficult, however, for non-scientists to process this wealth of information and assess the validity of individual reports or claims. In addition, global climate change models are difficult, if not impossible, to “downscale” to accurately predict impacts on a local level. Despite its small size and limited resources, Dauphin Island must evaluate the potential climate change impacts to the natural and human systems and develop adaptation plans. This project provides Dauphin Island with a cost-effective method for assessing climate change impacts and identifying adaptation policy options to assist with climate change adaptation planning.