Planning Tool to Support Louisiana's Decisionmaking on Coastal Protection and Restoration: Technical Description
Sep 27, 2012
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Coastal residents are vulnerable to many risks, including loss of life and property damage from storm-surge flooding. Such risks are likely to increase in the future. Rising sea levels and loss of coastal wetlands will likely dramatically increase property damage and other risks from tropical storms and hurricanes. And changing climate patterns could make large and powerful storms more common. Although these changes are deeply uncertain and difficult to predict, policymakers must address them.
Spurred on by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, the State of Louisiana, through its Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), decided to systematically address its coastal planning challenges by developing Louisiana's Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast. Given the hundreds of potential projects to consider, the stakeholders with competing interests and objectives, and the significant and deep uncertainties involved, CPRA asked RAND for analytical support.
Key results of that effort included the following:
Coastal risks exist nationwide, as shown by Superstorm Sandy's toll on the Mid-Atlantic coastal states. States at risk of flooding from Atlantic storms face challenges similar to those Louisiana faces in planning for a more resilient coastline. Also, California policymakers are trying to address that state's vulnerability to sea-level rise and other threats to the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta. These and other coastal areas can benefit from the approach applied in Louisiana, which helps bring differing goals or points of view and deep uncertainty about the future into a common analytical framework. In turn, this framework allows decisionmakers to identify a more robust solution for coastal recovery and long-term risk reduction.