Dewberry Partners with George Mason University on Climate Change Demonstration Project
Wednesday, July 11th 2012
Team Explores Community Adaptation to Sea Level Rise and Inundation in Anne Arundel County
Dewberry, a nationally recognized consulting firm based in Fairfax, Virginia, is part of a public-private team that is exploring community adaptation to climate change risks in a new demonstration project funded by Mid-Atlantic Sea Grant. The team, known as the Community Adaptation to Sea Level Rise and Inundation (CASI) Research Partnership, consists of George Mason University, Dewberry, the U.S. Naval Academy, and the Center for the Study of Local Issues at Anne Arundel Community College. The demonstration project, known as the Future Coast initiative, is being conducted in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.
The research focuses on how public education, through visualization of impacts and citizens’ deliberation, can enhance long-term community resilience by stimulating consideration of actions and policies to minimize risk. Anne Arundel County, which has from 2,200 to 6,900 acres of shoreline threatened by inundation from sea level rise, is at the forefront of coastal communities in using LiDAR elevation data to assess sea level rise vulnerability and inform adaptation decision-making.
The CASI initiative seeks to demonstrate an effective and replicable framework for communicating sea level rise impact data to individual residents and facilitating public deliberation that will lead to policies to support long-term resilience. Dewberry’s role in the initiative includes producing projected geospatial coverages of inundation for a number of timeframes and scenarios, including calculations of change in the probability of flooding, identifying properties likely to be affected by projected inundation, and identifying risk.
The firm also developed a web toolkit and geospatial data portal that enables residents to use an address locator service and visualize impact data, including the temporal evolution of impacts at their property, with summaries on impacts in the neighborhood and in the county. The site summarizes risks for queried properties and allows individuals and groups to compare their opinions to those of other county residents before and after they conduct their own deliberations. The citizens’ deliberation component includes surveying event participants before and after access to the information and serves as a guide to what information the public finds most valuable.
The deliberative Future Coast event was held in Severna Park on April 28. The toolkit of materials from the community session, including the online impacts visualization, is now available at www.FutureCoast.info.
Mid-Atlantic Sea Grant focuses on the sustainability and viability of coastal communities and marine ecosystems through natural and social science research, outreach, and communications activities. Funding for the CASI project comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), administered through Virginia Sea Grant.