Adapting our coasts and building resilience

Across the world, coastlines are the frontlines in global climate change. From Louisiana’s Gulf Coast to the shores of Virginia to the rice-growing deltas of Myanmar, we’re working to reverse wetlands loss and strengthen the resilience of coastal communities in a warming world.

  • Coastal Virginia faces an estimate of three feet of sea level rise in the coming century. At that rate, Virginia stands to lose 50 to 80% of its tidal wetlands, triggering an ecosystem collapse in the Chesapeake Bay. VIMS

  • In the Gulf Coast, The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana partners with national and regional environmental organizations to advance restoration efforts at the national level. Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana

  • The Ayeyarwady River Basin is Myanmar’s most important waterway and ecological resource. Integrated water resources planning is imperative to ensuring the river basin remains healthy as Myanmar opens up to international trade and investment. Jiqiang Zhang

Restore coastal wetlands

The challenge:

Louisiana’s formerly vast wetlands have been eroding for decades, making New Orleans and coastal communities more vulnerable to hurricanes and oil spills. This disappearing coastline endangers a $23 billion fishing industry, the nation’s most significant port complex, key oil and gas infrastructure, and habitat for tens of millions of migrating birds.

The solutions:

Nurture the growing coastal restoration industry to bolster economic diversification in the Gulf Coast, restore lost land, and create a resilient future.

Help coastal communities plan for the future

The challenge:

Virginia’s Hampton Roads region has the highest rate of relative sea level rise on the Atlantic Coast and a growing list of flood-damaged properties. This poses serious consequences to the area—on federal facilities, the private sector, and tourism.

The solutions:

Address the immediate impact of recurrent flooding through local and municipal-level action. Where possible, make connections between urban water, coastal issues, and economic drivers such as financing and insurance.

Protect water-based economies

The challenge:

In the coming decades, as developing countries open up to international trade and investment, economic development will place strain on ecological systems—especially along coasts and waterways—affecting millions of people reliant on these natural resources. 

The solutions:

Thoughtful, integrated planning is needed to protect both natural resources and the livelihoods of rural communities. Convene key stakeholders and inform decision-makers to develop institutional frameworks that factor in the negative social and ecological effects of development. 

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