Baton Rouge, LA
- The America’s WETLAND Foundation (AWF) will partner with
Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority
to host a virtual Community Adaptation forum
Thursday, September 5, from 9:00 am to 10:30 am
. The program will be offered online to help build consensus for moving from coastal resiliency to adaptation, addressing the need to adapt to the new normal of rising seas and greater storm impacts.
“As communities across the Gulf Coast are dealing with the effects of rising coastal waters, storm episodes and the risks to environment, economies, communities and way of life, we must come to grips with moving from endless planning to taking actions to adapt to what is truly the new normal,” Val Marmillion, managing director of AWF, said. “This virtual forum will allow people sitting at their desks across the state and country to participate in a discussion that is relevant to what we are experiencing right now - a threat to our unique way of life and the communities we have built and nurtured for generations.”
Adaptation actions are a natural follow-up for communities who have engaged with resiliency planning or bouncing back after a major storm or weather event. Adaptation means accepting the evidence of change projected with sea level rise and retrofitting a community and region to adapt successfully and continue to thrive in the face of the threat. One big factor in successful adaptation is the alignment of government agencies with such projections in order to recognize and find solutions to what will be normal in the future.
Chip Kline, Chair of the Louisiana Coastal Protection Authority (CPRA), will headline the event and will provide insight into defining the change ahead. “Understanding and adapting to the new normal includes agencies at all levels of government,” Kline said. “Louisiana as a state is doing just that and we will share how we are coordinating all state agencies to work in concert on the most critical challenge we face now and in the coming years.The work of Louisiana is groundbreaking in that it will establish a model for local governments, the private sector and civic association to recognize the ways that adaptation can strengthen local cities and towns."
The program will suggest ways coastal communities can be strengthened through adaptation strategies and tools that take advantage of the natural environment. In recent studies, saltwater marshes, native plants, sea grasses and barrier islands are all seen as ecosystem services that can be employed in to a strengthened ecosystem. Louisiana has an abundance of such environmental assets along with the potential to better live with water and build defenses utilizing nature.
“Adapting to what is happening along our coast and across the Gulf is not just about the environment. It’s about economics. It’s about the value of real estate, how banks function in a changing climate, how our communities and industries survive and even flourish in the decades to come,” Sidney Coffee, senior advisor to AWF, said. “This is important to every citizen of Louisiana because as the coast goes so goes the rest of the state.”
AWF will host adaptation roundtables in the Lake Charles area and the New Orleans region. The events follow resiliency planning leadership forums held in eleven cities across the five states of the Gulf Coast in 2011 – 2012 and as a prelude to the Foundation launching a Sea Safe Community Certification program, which will establish criteria for a community to show progress toward adaptation and protecting their economic, environmental and community assets.
The virtual forum is being held in partnership with eRotary Coastal, with support from
whose service territory includes South Louisiana. The hour-and-a-half program is free of charge and is open for