Presentation Abstract

Communities are protected from floods and storms by both engineered infrastructure like levees, and natural habitat infrastructure like wetlands. We understand the performance and cost effectiveness of engineered or grey infrastructure well. However, recent natural disasters have illustrated both their insufficiency in protecting communities and the high repair costs. We know that green infrastructure, or natural habitats, also protect communities from river floods and coastal storms but we know little about their performance and cost. This knowledge gap leads to greater investment in grey at the expense of green. In addition, green infrastructure provide other benefits to human communities, and are often the restoration target of recovery plans for ecosystems and endangered species. In Puget Sound we evaluated the changes in vulnerability for both ecosystems and built infrastructure that may result from climate change, including changes in high and low river flows, sea level, storm dynamics, sediment recruitment and salinity intrusion. We developed an interactive tool called Coastal Resilience that allows users to examine community risk in a way that integrates both green and grey infrastructure. The tool allows users to evaluate different sources of risk, such as “dike freeboard” which indicates how close a dike comes to being overtopped under various current and future storm scenarios. Another tool provides a model that quantifies the reduction in storm wave energy and height that is provided by tidal wetlands which protect adjacent dike systems from erosion and overtopping. In areas where tidal wetlands are receding, it can indicate how community risk and financial cost may change as a result of this loss of protective green infrastructure. With this information, communities can develop better response plans that reduce the costs of disaster prevention and recovery, and increase the economic efficiency of both risk reduction and ecosystem recovery actions.

Session Title

Session S-10G: Green Infrastructure to Achieve Ecosystem Recovery Goals and Natural Hazard Mitigation

Conference Track

Shorelines

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2014 : Seattle, Wash.)

Document Type

Event

Start Date

2-5-2014 1:30 PM

End Date

2-5-2014 3:00 PM

Location

Room 6E

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

Text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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May 2nd, 1:30 PM May 2nd, 3:00 PM

Coastal Resilience for Habitats and Humans: Integrating Green and Grey Infrastructure Solutions

Room 6E

Communities are protected from floods and storms by both engineered infrastructure like levees, and natural habitat infrastructure like wetlands. We understand the performance and cost effectiveness of engineered or grey infrastructure well. However, recent natural disasters have illustrated both their insufficiency in protecting communities and the high repair costs. We know that green infrastructure, or natural habitats, also protect communities from river floods and coastal storms but we know little about their performance and cost. This knowledge gap leads to greater investment in grey at the expense of green. In addition, green infrastructure provide other benefits to human communities, and are often the restoration target of recovery plans for ecosystems and endangered species. In Puget Sound we evaluated the changes in vulnerability for both ecosystems and built infrastructure that may result from climate change, including changes in high and low river flows, sea level, storm dynamics, sediment recruitment and salinity intrusion. We developed an interactive tool called Coastal Resilience that allows users to examine community risk in a way that integrates both green and grey infrastructure. The tool allows users to evaluate different sources of risk, such as “dike freeboard” which indicates how close a dike comes to being overtopped under various current and future storm scenarios. Another tool provides a model that quantifies the reduction in storm wave energy and height that is provided by tidal wetlands which protect adjacent dike systems from erosion and overtopping. In areas where tidal wetlands are receding, it can indicate how community risk and financial cost may change as a result of this loss of protective green infrastructure. With this information, communities can develop better response plans that reduce the costs of disaster prevention and recovery, and increase the economic efficiency of both risk reduction and ecosystem recovery actions.