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CICEET Awards $1.2 Million to Evaluate Different Erosion Control

January 28, 2009

The Living Coasts Program at UNH’s Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET) has awarded $1.2 million to researchers working in North Carolina and New York who are evaluating the environmental and economic tradeoffs of different approaches to erosion prevention along sheltered coastlines—information coastal communities need to make decisions that protect people, property, and the environment.

CICEET, a partnership of UNH and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), funds projects nationwide that develop tools for clean water and healthy coastal environments nationwide. CICEET is funded by NOAA.

As sea levels rise, so does concern over how to protect coastal homes and businesses from erosion. A traditional approach is to build a structure, such as a seawall or bulkhead, to armor property against storm surges and waves. While they might protect the property at hand, such shoreline hardening techniques also can intensify erosion in other places. Some say that “green” approaches, such as buffers or sea grass restoration, would be a better economic and environmental bet in the long-term.

These projects were selected for their capacity to provide science-based information about impacts of different approaches to mitigating shoreline erosion. Collaborative by design, the project engages representatives of local, state, and federal agencies, coastal property owners, academic institutions, and nonprofits focused on climate change and sea level rise. Each is working with key shoreline protection decision makers to develop a knowledge dissemination campaign to deliver research results.

New York: Led by the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), this project focuses on 300 miles of shoreline in the northern Hudson River Estuary. Integrated closely with regional climate change response and ecosystem protection initiatives, the project compares the physical attributes and habitat functions of selected marine life in six types of shoreline.

North Carolina: Led by the North Carolina NERR and NOAA’s Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research, this project focuses on three regions along North Carolina’s coast. Investigators will develop an approach to evaluate ecological and socioeconomic costs and benefits of shoreline erosion and protection alternatives.

For more information visit: ciceet.unh.edu/news/releases/shoreline/index.html

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