News Release

National Park Service Releases Coastal Adaptation Strategies Handbook

Aerial view of ocean inlet

NPS Photo/Fire Island National Seashore

News Release Date: October 31, 2016

Contact: Jeffrey Olson, 202-208-6843

Includes Lessons Learned on Fourth Anniversary of Hurricane Sandy

WASHINGTON – National parks near coastal areas of the Northeast have long since recovered from Hurricane Sandy and are in better shape for the next tropical storm. “We learned a lot after Sandy,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “It’s a case study in how we look at protecting vulnerable coastal resources and infrastructure from avoidable impacts.”

Lessons from Sandy and other case studies are part of the Coastal Adaptation Strategies Handbook, a summary of what scientists and park managers know about climate adaptation in coastal areas. The handbook highlights the processes and tools parks have available for response and recovery from tropical storms and hurricanes and offers strategies to address rising sea levels.

Handbook co-editor Dr. Rebecca Beavers, the NPS’ lead coastal geologist said, “This is an important guidance document - a compilation of experience and best management practices for parks in the coastal zone. There is no other handbook available for coastal managers in the public or private sector that addresses this array of topics.”

Beavers and co-editors Courtney Schupp and Dr. Amanda Babson, compiled contributions from more than a dozen NPS authors and partners with expertise in natural and cultural resources management and science, infrastructure, planning, communication, and policy. Those authors, Schupp said, have decades of experience in managing park resources and providing context for addressing current park challenges with new strategies from the field of climate change adaptation.

Babson said the handbook also outlines decision-making processes NPS managers can use in protecting parks threatened by diverse coastal climate change challenges. “We are moving forward with strategies and taking action in parks so, as the climate changes and affects parks, we can continue to serve visitors and provide stewardship and protection of natural and cultural resources.”

The National Park Service manages 88 ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes parks and this handbook has resources applicable to them all. An additional 35 parks are subject to coastal influence, though some do not manage a shoreline. In all, more than one-third of the 413 parks in the National Park System must prepare to adapt to coastal climate change impacts.

The Coastal Adaptation Strategies Handbook complements an earlier compilation of  24 case studies from NPS managers working to combat climate change impacts on coastal park resources. The report comes during the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary in 2016 and is part of Director Jarvis’ A Call to Action, in which the NPS highlighted a need to plan for climate change in how we manage America’s iconic natural, historic and cultural landscapes.


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Last updated: October 31, 2016