Gulf of Mexico

Why is Coastal Community Resilience Important in the Gulf of Mexico Region?

Benefits of Flood MitigationBenefits of Flood Mitigation during Hurricane Gustav in Jean Lafitte, LAResilience is the capacity of human and natural systems to adapt to and recover from change. Communities need to conduct vulnerability assessments and planning efforts to better position their communities to recover from coastal storms and adapt to the impacts resulting from changes in our environment. The EPA Gulf of Mexico Program (GMP) partners with Gulf coast communities to develop adaptive programs and methods for communities and  ecosystems to become more resilient to coastal hazards.
Understanding the risks a community faces is a first step in becoming more resilient.  GMP supported the development and implementation of the Coastal Community Resilience Index (CRI),a self-assessment tool used with community leaders and planners to identify current plan strengths and vulnerabilities. Over 50 coastal communities across the Gulf region have completed this process. In addition, a unique Train-The-Trainer module was developed on the use of the Tool, and guidance on facilitating CRI sessions with communities. 

Evaluation of the Coastal Community Resilience Index

To evaluate the use of the Coastal Community Resilience Index, the GMP entered into a cooperative agreement with Auburn University. The purpose of the agreement is to develop an index that shows how resilient a city or community is to natural and human disasters. 

This index will use a scoring system to determine the vulnerability of a community after previous disasters, how infrastructure has redeveloped, and how that disaster has reshaped the community’s thoughts. The information collected will be shared with other communities with a goal of helping to prevent habitat protection through education.

StormSmart Coast Network

Communication and collaboration between the stakeholders is a key component in enhancing community resilience.  GMP is committed to informing communities about coastal hazard risks and providing tools for caostal decision makers. GMP provided funding to develop, and maintain the StormSmart Coast Network, which is a state-specific website for the Gulf states (TX, LA, MS, AL, FL).

Homeowner’s HandbooksHomeowners Handbook

GMP provided funding to the Gulf of Mexico Governors’ Alliance (GOMA) Resilience Team and Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC) to develop customized content, print and distribute copies of the Homeowner’s Handbooks in the five Gulf States (TX, LA, FL, MS, AL).  These customized handbooks are developed for homeowners to help prepare for natural hazards to reduce risks to family and property. Handbooks include sections on how to prepare before the storm, mitigation measures to increase residential resilience, and insurance options available to homeowners in each state.

Learn more here: Climate Ready Estuaries