The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invites you to a briefing on initiatives and partnerships that are helping protect Gulf Coast shorelines and communities from extreme weather events and other coastal hazards. The briefing will showcase nature-based solutions that support coastal resilience, such as wetlands restoration and other “natural infrastructure,” as well as the “greening” of highways and other traditional “gray” infrastructure. This approach leverages the sustainable management and/or restoration of natural or modified ecosystems to protect people, communities, roadways, buildings, industries, and habitats.
Government agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of the Interior, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of Transportation, are piloting and implementing nature-based infrastructure projects in the Gulf Coast and around the country. Such projects can be more cost effective and durable against extreme weather events than gray infrastructure, while providing additional health, environmental and economic benefits. The panelists will describe how national, regional, state and local governments and organizations are collaborating to integrate nature-based solutions into policy and practice.
- Rep. Charlie CristU.S. Representative (D-FL 13th)
- Samantha BrookeCoastal & Marine Team Lead, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- Rhonda PriceDeputy Director, Office of Coastal Restoration and Resilience, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources; Mississippi Coastal Resilience Chair, Gulf of Mexico Alliance
- Derek BrockbankExecutive Director, American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA)
The Gulf Coast states face a diverse set of coastal challenges, including land subsidence, coastal erosion, flooding, more intense hurricanes, and warmer ocean waters, which adversely impact fisheries. As a result, the Gulf Coast region has served as an incubator for nature-based infrastructure projects that provide both models and “lessons learned” for coastal resilience efforts in other regions of the country. The briefing will provide specific project examples, such as using dredged material from ports to rebuild wetlands along Louisiana’s coast and restoring a marsh in Salt Bayou, Texas, to protect both homes and industry from storm surges.
Panelists will address how Congressional appropriations and potential infrastructure legislation can integrate nature-based solutions to support the long-term sustainability of the country’s coastal infrastructure.