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Helping communities adapt to erosion hazards
Contact: Pat Corcoran
The size and frequency of severe winter storms and waves on the Oregon coast have been increasing, year by year, in recent decades. With them comes an increase in coastal erosion, which threatens property and infrastructure in communities such as Neskowin, in Tillamook County. Trends suggest more Oregon communities will soon be facing this challenge.
Oregon Sea Grant helped residents form the Neskowin Coastal Hazards Committee to learn about the causes and effects of erosion, identify options for adapting to it, and implement remedial actions. Sea Grant provides leadership, facilitates monthly and public meetings, coordinates with OSU research and student assistance, and maintains a file-sharing website for the committee's use.
Working with a $20,000 state grant, Tillamook County hired a consultant to develop an adaptation planning framework, published in 2011 as the state of Oregon's first coastal hazards adaptation plan.
Residents of Neskowin have increased their understanding of local erosion hazards, including the role climate change may play in the severity of storms, high waves and erosion. The city has identified key social and economic barriers to adaptation, including non-resident ownership, multiple-owner homes, perception of risk, and aversion to added expenses.
Thanks to Sea Grant's help, this small coastal community has been able to apply current science to understanding its hazards and identifying solutions.