Preparing for the effects of a changing coastal climate

Providing "relevant and timely information on climate change adaptation" for coastal areas is a National Sea Grant goal. At Oregon Sea Grant, we apply our unique combination of research, education, public engagement and communication toward reaching that goal.

Our guiding principle is to engage and collaborate with people who can use research-based information to make decisions about climate-related issues and conditions where they live and work. That includes projects and products that

  • Help communities and businesses plan for adapting to rising sea levels, increased storm and wave activity, ocean acidification and challenges to their infrastructure linked to climate change.
  • Help scientists, community leaders and policy makers understand how to communicate with people who may differ in what they know, think and believe about climate change - but who still need to be prepared for the risks.
  • Support sound science that helps us understand more about how climate change may directly affect coastal people, communities, economies and ecosystems.

Our current and recent work includes:

Coastal communities confront climate change

Working under NOAA funding with partners in Oregon and seven other states, (Washington, Minnesota, Maine, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida) Oregon Sea Grant Communications developed and tested tools for understanding local views, concerns and decision-making needs related to climate change. That data has been used to design several risk communication strategies and tools, from public meetings to publications and videos, to help coastal communities work past differing opinions and toward actions that will render them more resilient.

Changing climate, changing ocean

Oregon Sea Grant has focused its climate-related research funding on understanding how atmospheric climate shifts are changing ocean chemistry, and what that may mean for marine life that has evolved and adapted to the seas as they have been, not as they may be in the future. Sea Grant-funded researchers are examining how ocean acidification and other changing ocean conditions are affecting growth and survival of shellfish, a matter of particular concern to commercial oyster growers, a high-value industry in the Pacific Northwest. Others are looking at how rising sea levels and increased storm activity affect the productivity of coastal estuaries, biologically important to many species, including endangered salmon.

Learn more: