East Hawaii News

NOAA Provides UH Sea Grant with $845K for Coastal Hazard Preparedness

March 10, 2016, 8:36 AM HST
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Shoreline erosion, North Shore of Oahu. UH photo.

Shoreline erosion, North Shore of Oahu. UH photo.

In an effort to help communities reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards and climate change, the NOAA National Ocean Service has provided the University of Hawai’i Sea Grant College Program with $845,160 in grant funding.

NOAA awarded the funding as part of $4.5 million in grants to help communities reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards and climate change. UH will also receive $472,585 in matching funds, creating a total of $1,317,745 in funding.

The funding will go to the University through the Regional Coastal Resilience Grants Program and will fund a project that seeks to address the issues of flooding, coastal erosion, seal-level rise, and coastal disasters, while also increasing the state’s resilience to the hazards and impacts of climate change.

“The past year has been a stark reminder of Hawai‘i’s vulnerability to coastal hazards after a record-setting hurricane season, and massive El-Niño fueled winter surf caused damage to our coastal communities,” said Dr. Bradley Romine, Hawai‘i Sea Grant’s coastal management specialist and project lead. “The frequency and severity of coastal erosion and flooding events is only going to increase in the coming decades with climate change and sea-level rise.  Improving coastal community resilience makes sense for now and the future. Thank you to NOAA for this grant, which will have a positive impact on Hawai‘i’s local efforts to improve our resilience.”

As a state highly reliant on tourism, much of the development and infrastructure is concentrated near the coast, which leaves it more vulnerable to some of these natural hazards.

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Building resilience to coastal hazards and climate change in Hawai’i will leverage and inform ongoing planning efforts throughout the state and develop a statewide Sea Level Rise and Vulnerability and Adaptation Report under 2014 State Act 83, known as the Hawai’i Climate Adaptation Initiative.

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“The challenges confronting our nation’s coastal communities are incredibly complicated — effective solutions are going to require strong science, ingenuity, and collaboration if they are going to safeguard and ensure the future vitality of our economy and valuable natural resources,” said Jeffrey Payne, director of the NOAA Office for Coastal Management. “The projects that have been approved for funding represent opportunities to do just that. We are excited about what these partnership projects will accomplish at the local level and the positive impact this program will have on our nation.”

Senator Brian Schatz, a member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and the Coast Guard noted the importance of paying attention to climate change and natural disasters.

“We know that climate change is taking place and having an impact on coastlines around the world,” said Senator Schatz. “As an island state, we know these threats all too well. These funds will help protect our coastal communities against the threat of climate change and natural disasters.”

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