CRC unveils coastal resources tool
A new online tool has been launched to inform and educate decision-makers, including local Planning Boards, on how to properly address the effects of sea level rise, extreme weather events and storm surge in the Ocean State. The website, titled PREP-RI, provides what is called “resilience education” by using videos and other data that will educate people about coastal concerns. The Block Island Times got an early look at the project.
The website was launched on June 30 by Pam Rubinoff, Associate Coastal Manager, Coastal Resources Center at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, in association with Rhode Island Sea Grant. Rubinoff was on Block Island when she informed The Block Island Times about the site.
“The site is nice and a good resource when issues come up. Seems pretty easy to navigate,” Sven Risom, Vice Chair of the New Shoreham Planning Board, told The Block Island Times. “The key is that the planners find it helpful so they can advise the Planning Board.”
New Shoreham Town Planner/GIS Specialist Alison Ring said, “PREP-RI aims to increase the capacity of municipal staff and boards to make decisions that support resilience to climate change impacts. The Narragansett Bay Research Reserve contacted me a couple months ago about the project and I offered our Corn Neck Road Planning Study as a resiliency project example.” Ring and the New Shoreham Planning Board are currently studying the impact of future flooding and sea level rise on Corn Neck Road.
The CRC’s goal with the website is “to accelerate creation and application of adaptation tools including training for local governments; and will provide tangible, tested policy solutions for all levels of government, facilitating their capability to make coastlines, critical infrastructure, and areas of economic importance adaptable and resilient to sea level rise, extreme weather events, and other environmental changes.”
The PREP-RI website notes that: “In 2017, the Rhode Island General Assembly allocated funds to the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography to implement actions that would increase the capacity of decision-makers to increase local resilience to the effects of natural hazards and climate change, particularly sea level rise and storm surge. The online module series originated from, and builds upon, a series of efforts over the last few years, and complements URI GSO’s Coastal Resources Center and RI Sea Grant initiatives...”
The PowerPoint presentations can be accessed under the following category headings: Climate Change in Rhode Island, Flooding, Infrastructure, Mapping Tools, Stormwater, and Adaptation. Rubinoff said that Corn Neck Road is featured in the Infrastructure video, during which the question is asked: “What should the future of Corn Neck Road look like?”
The narrator, Bill Patenaude, Principal Engineer with the R.I. DEM Office of Water Resources, states in the video that, “The Rhode Island vulnerability risk assessment identified Corn Neck Road as one of the municipality’s most vulnerable roads. In fact, the road experienced flooding, and wave damage in both 2010 and 2012. The town’s Comprehensive Plan states the need to identify alternatives to mitigate future impacts of storms, and climate change. And the town’s hazard mitigation plan identifies raising or relocating the road as a high priority.”
For more information about the various coastal issues, and to access the PowerPoint videos, go to: prep-ri.seagrant.gso.uri.edu.