GL - Protecting environmental value of Great Lakes coast

During an historic event earlier this week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the eight Great Lakes states signed a watershed study cost share agreement, initiating the Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study aimed at protecting the immense economic, environmental and social value of the Great Lakes coast.

The Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study (GLCRS) is a regional initiative of the eight Great Lakes States, working in collaboration with the Corps of Engineers, NOAA, USGS, FEMA and USEPA that was begun in late 2016. Coastal Resiliency is the ability of coastal areas to withstand, recover from, and adapt to disturbances and underlying stress while maintaining economic, environmental, social, and cultural values. The GLCRS will investigate opportunities to improve resilience within both the built and natural coastal environments. It will result in a plan that identifies vulnerable areas and recommends measures to increase resilience. Without such a plan, we expect increased risk of coastal damage in the future and management strategies that continue to address this problem through a piecemeal approach that is both inefficient and limited in effectiveness.

The study is a comprehensive watershed assessment of the Great Lakes coastal areas which includes:

  • the identification of areas vulnerable to future storms, flooding, low water elevations, erosion and accretion;
  • the identification of a range of measures to improve coastal resiliency;
  • the development of a collaborative risk-informed decision framework to support the identification and prioritization of coastal investments.

This collaborative effort aims to maintain strong coastal economies, protect and restore coastal ecosystems, and develop more sustainable, resilient coastal communities prepared to adapt to future climate change.

The study area encompasses over 5,200 miles of the U.S. shoreline along the five Great Lakes where 4.2 million people live within 2 miles of the coast that supports the Nation’s economy and provides recreation opportunities for the region.  

Also, the study would integrate and build upon substantial efforts and partnerships funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and other federal and state programs, increasing returns on existing investments.

According to USACE, the study would examine a range of potential future conditions that take into account stressors that affect coastal resilience.

See Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study

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