Caribbean
Greg Guannel, director of UVI’s Caribbean Green Technology Center, measures sediment depth in the gut that empties near the seaplane terminal in Christiansted. (Photo submitted by Hilary Lohmann, DPNR)

USVI - UVI/DPNR Project Aims to Assess Coastal Vulnerability

Scientists at the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources and University of the Virgin Islands are teaming up to develop a locally relevant Coastal Vulnerability Index.

On a sunny day in Christiansted, rainwater drainage guts can be inundated with seawater inflows from swells that pass into the harbor. This can lead to flooding, especially during major storm events, since the outgoing rainwater has to fight the incoming seawater to drain into the ocean.

Sea level rise and coastal erosion are mounting global concerns, but the extent to which each is affecting shorelines in the U.S. Virgin Islands remains unknown. By the end of the century, climate change scientists predict that all coastal beaches could disappear, but what do these global projections mean for the territory?

To answer this question, scientists at the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources and University of the Virgin Islands . Hilary Lohmann, coastal resilience coordinator for DPNR’s Division of Coastal Zone Management, and Greg Guannel, director of UVI’s Caribbean Green Technology Center, are teaming up to develop a locally relevant Coastal Vulnerability Index that will inform the territory’s future coastal planning decisions.

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