Enhancing Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant outreach to address community climate adaptation needs in Mississippi and Alabama

End Date: 02/01/2016


To improve community capacity in Mississippi and Alabama to adapt to climate-related challenges, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Outreach Program proposes to utilize the 2014-2017 Climate Extension funds to build upon and expand MASGC’s current climate adaptation program through the establishment of a Climate Adaptation & Hazard Resiliency (CAHR) Specialist Position. 


During the 2014-2017 project period, the climate adaptation and hazard resiliency (CAHR) specialist will develop and deliver climate adaptation outreach programming, provide technical assistance to partner communities, serve as a facilitator for state and regional climate networks, and coordinate Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium’s portfolio of climate adaptation projects. To encourage and facilitate community climate adaptation efforts, the CAHR specialist will develop climate adaptation outreach programming, guided by formal and informal needs assessments, to local governments officials, community leaders and other stakeholders in the region.

Such outreach activities may include the production of fact sheets and reports, the delivery of community presentations, the organization of workshops and webinars, and communication through social media and websites. To continue and enhance the Outreach Program’s engagement with floodplain mangers, the CAHR specialist will serve as a liaison to the Mississippi Coastal Hazard Outreach Strategy Team (C-HOST). To enhance the Outreach Program’s engagement with land-use planners, the CAHR specialist will also serve as the Consortium’s liaison with the state American Planning Association chapters (Mississippi and Alabama), attending and participating in state chapter meetings and programming to gain insight into how climate adaptation may be incorporated into longer term planning efforts. The CAHR specialist will serve as the Mississippi and Alabama point of contact for the Gulf of Mexico Climate Community of Practice. In this capacity, the CAHR will provide assistance to members of the community of practice with annual workshop planning, host quarterly in-service webinars, post resources on the climate community of practice website, and serve on working committees that fit within their area of expertise


For the past several years, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium has been providing technical assistance to communities planning for climate change impacts, including Dauphin Island and Orange Beach, Alabama, and Waveland, Biloxi, and Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Through the NOAA Coastal Storms Program, MASGC has helped communities analyze climate impacts, develop mitigation plans and incorporate sea-level rise into local hazard mitigation and comprehensive plans. As a recognized and respected resource for climate adaptation assistance in the region, MASGC is increasingly invited to participate in community adaptation planning initiatives. The Outreach Program currently lacks sufficient capacity and professional expertise to effectively design and deliver bi-state climate adaptation outreach programming.