Advancing High Resolution Coastal Forecasting and Living Shorelines Approaches in the Northeast

Project Summary

This is a two-part project: Advancing High Resolution Coastal Forecasting and Advancing Living Shorelines Approaches.

Advancing High Resolution Coastal Forecasting. UConn CIRCA faculty are partnering with researchers from across New England to advance the  development and implementation of a comprehensive, regional, coastal and riverine inundation observation and modeling system. This project will result in the creation of a real-time inundation forecast system and 100-year return interval (1% annual chance) online maps that will be housed with the Northeast Regional Association of Coastal and Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS).

Advancing Living Shorelines Approaches. UConn CIRCA, working in conjunction with five New England states and several regional organizations, will collaboratively analyze living shorelines applications in Connecticut and the Northeast region. New England has a varied coastline and dually varied utilization rates for living shorelines projects. Under this cooperative effort, UConn CIRCA will assist the region as it develops a ‘state-of-the-science’ analysis of living shorelines and coastal green infrastructure, identify barriers and potential solutions to increase the deployment of living shorelines, and develop and disseminate educational materials and workshops for the public regarding living shorelines and coastal green infrastructure.




CIRCA and NOAA partnered on May 23, 2017 to present a Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience Training. Training staff from NOAA and CIRCA introduced participants to fundamental green infrastructure concepts and practices that can play a critical role in making coastal communities more resilient to natural hazards. The agenda also featured green infrastructure projects from CIRCA grantees in Stratford and MetroCOG as well as presentations from New Haven, Eastern CT Conservation District, and the University of Connecticut Center for Land Use Education and Research. You will find the presentations from this training in the links below.

Intro Green Infrastructure - NOAA

Community Benefits of Land Restoration - MetroCOG

Designing for the Future - City of New Haven

Green Infrastructure at the Local Community - ECCD

Green Infrastructure LID in CT - UConn CLEAR


Grant Partner Products: Northeast Regional Ocean Council and The Nature Conservancy, MA Chapter

CIRCA and CT DEEP staff contributed to the writing and editing of these materials as the Connecticut representatives for the Northeast Regional Ocean Council grant workgroup. These materials are meant to serve as a regional resource and do not replace Connecticut-specific guidance and regulation. Contact CT DEEP for regulatory guidance on living shorelines.

Living Shorelines in New England: State of the Practice

NROC Living Shorelines Profile Pages


Project Description

In the Northeastern United States, 66% of the region's population lives on the shoreline, and coastal communities account for a significant amount of each states' gross domestic product.  As the frequency of powerful storms increase due to climate change, so does the risk of devastation from flooding and storm surges.  In order to grow resiliency to natural disasters in the Northeast region this project is collaborating with state agencies and organizations to complete two objectives: (1) gain a better understanding of the locations and magnitudes of coastal storm impacts, and (2) gain increased awareness and implement sustainable, nature-based green infrastructure management approaches.  The team will address priority data and capacity gaps, develop and increase access to tools for more informed decision making, improve communications and education, and support the application of sustainable shoreline management responses.

The first portion of the project, Advancing High Resolution Coastal Forecasting (Track 1), consists of the continued development and implementation of a comprehensive, coordinated, regional, coastal, and riverine inundation observation and modeling system.  The existing system will be updated to include high-resolution grid locations in each state.  Track 1 will also create updated 100-year flooding maps using data, current models, and sea level rise projections.  The research team will meet with stakeholders to determine the best ways to disseminate this new information, implement selected methods, and confirm that the needs of communities are met.

At the completions of Track 1, the following deliverables will be available: real time inundation forecast system predictions, an on-line web based map viewer to display 100-year return periods with varying sea level rise values, and a final report summarizing the project results.

Advancing Living Shorelines Approaches (Track 2) focuses on developing tools and resources for municipalities and coastal managers to use to increase their resilience to erosion, flooding, and severe storm impacts.  The team will develop a "state-of-the-practice" report, fact sheets, and other products to increase public awareness of living shorelines approaches.  Additionally, across the states, community based training programs and workshops will be held.  In order to support the use of living shorelines, state and federal regulatory issues that may impede the project will be identified and addressed accordingly.  Lastly, the results of Track 1 will be incorporated into discussions with communities and stakeholders to assess, plan and prioritize living shoreline projects, at the local level.

Anticipated completion date: May 2018

Funding for this project is provided by the NOAA Regional Coastal Resilience Grants under the NOAA Office for Coastal Management.


Researchers and Staff Supported on Project



Hobbs Island, Groton, CT
Photo Credit: Rafeed Hussain


Long Island Sound, Waterford, CT
Photo Credit: Rafeed Hussain

“What We Do” Areas