Report Urges Municipalities to Prepare for Increased Coastal Flood Risks

New Hampshire’s flood risks are significant because of the state’s exposure to strong coastal storm systems. For this reason, where and how communities build, and rebuild, has critical implications. Extensive study and participation by citizens and state and community leaders resulted in a blueprint for action: Preparing New Hampshire for Projected Storm Surge, Sea-Level Rise, and Extreme Precipitation.

The report, prepared by the New Hampshire Coastal Risk and Hazards Commission, summarizes vulnerabilities and how hazards could impact the seacoast economy, roads and buildings, and natural and historic resources. The report urges municipalities to

  • Review current climate change science to update climate projections and guide planning;
  • Identify vulnerable state and municipal economic assets;
  • Amend rules and regulations to incorporate the best available science and vulnerability information;
  • Secure funding sources and mechanisms to implement climate adaptation strategies;
  • Encourage businesses to create preparedness plans in order to minimize economic disruptions; and
  • Protect and restore vulnerable natural resources, and consider their flood reduction impacts during state and municipal planning efforts.

“The state and municipalities each have responsibilities for roads, public buildings, sewer and water, and other infrastructure,” said State Senator David Watters. “The report emphasizes that early and consistent collaboration between state and local governments can result in solutions which in turn increase our preparedness and resiliency.”

This project was funded in part by NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, in conjunction with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services’ Coastal Program and the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. (2016)

Partners: Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, New Hampshire Coastal Risk and Hazards Commission, New Hampshire Coastal Program, NOAA Office for Coastal Management