Resource of the Month

Featuring resilience resources monthly

Each month a different resource or tool that can assess shoreline changes, provide education on resilient practices, or support planning and policy development for coastal communities is highlighted in this blog.

This blog is organized by year. For every year, the resources of the month are briefly summarized. The blog posts for each of the resources are available at the end of each year’s summaries.

2022

June

  • ReduceFloodRisk.org – This interactive flood mitigation resource library from the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) helps property owners, particularly those in flood-prone areas, understand their flood risk and the most effective flood mitigation strategies for their particular property. This tool guides property owners through a series of questions to help them understand their risk and the specific steps they can take to better protect their home or business. 

April

  • Great Lakes Coastal Resilience Planning Guide – This guide serves as a hub for case studies, local stories, climate and environment information, and resources related to coastal resilience. This hub offers solutions and strategies for addressing coastal hazards as well as supports learning from other communities in the Great Lakes region.

March

  • WICCI’s 2021 Assessment Report: Wisconsin’s Changing Climate – The Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) has released their 2021 Assessment Report featuring new data since the previous update in 2011. The report emphasizes the impacts of climate change on various sectors of the environment including coastal resilience. The report offers new modeling results and potential mitigation opportunities.

February

  • NOAA Coastal County Snapshots – This data hub provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) organizes county-level coastal resilience data for more than 850 coastal counties in the United States. Data are gathered from sources including the U.S. Census Bureau, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The data is categorized into three different “snapshots” including Marine Economy, Total Coastal Economy, and Special Flood Hazard.

January

  • Updated: Wisconsin Shoreline Inventory & Oblique Viewer – Featuring NEW Photos from 2021 – This interactive map is both a qualitative and quantitative inventory of shoreline conditions on Wisconsin’s Great Lakes coasts. It has recently transitioned to a new platform that utilizes ArcGIS. Additionally, it has been updated with 2021 aerial imagery. For more information on navigating the updated site, read through our image tutorial in the full article.

ReduceFloodRisk.org

Interactive tool helping property owners understand their flood risk and select appropriate risk reduction strategies....

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2021

October

Five guidance documents were created as a result of the Southeastern Wisconsin Coastal Resilience Project to provide education and guidance on resilient practices for bluffs, beaches, and waterfront infrastructure:
  • A Property Owner’s Guide to Protecting Your Bluff
  • Nature-Based Shorelines for Wisconsin’s Great Lakes Coast
  • Great Lakes Beach Resilience Guide
  • Great Lakes Port, Harbor, and Marina Infrastructure and Dredging Cost Evaluations Matrix Tool
  • Great Lakes Quests

August

  • FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grant Programs – This fact sheet summarizes FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation grant and assistance programs. It includes general information about each program, eligibility information, dates and deadlines, application processes, and an explanation of the cost-share requirement. Additionally, it includes links to the relevant FEMA website pertaining to each topic.

July

  • Blue Accounting for the Great Lakes – Blue Accounting is an information service to track the region’s progress toward shared goals for the Great Lakes. Maintained by the Great Lakes Commission, the information developed by Blue Accounting helps elected officials make sure that policies and programs are effective at protecting the largest fresh surface water system on earth.

June

  • Great Lakes Coastal Shore Protection Structures and Their Effects on Coastal Processes – This publication reviews how coastal processes function on the Great Lakes with influences from the marine climate, area geology, weather, and human-induced effects. It also outlines three common Great Lakes coastal structures, what effect they have on wave action and therefore shoreline responses and scale of coastal protection. Lastly, this document briefly explains how coastal engineers model and monitor coastal structures and shorelines.

May

  • The Certified Coastal Practitioner™ Program – This program is hosted through the Coastal Zone Foundation. It provides participants with the opportunity to complete 10 out of 11 modules in order to obtain their Certified Coastal Practitioner™ credential. The modules go over high-level, introductory concepts related to each category presented by experts in the field. This credentialing program is designed to provide participants with a wide scope of resources and instruction on a variety of elements related to “modern coastal practice”.

April

  • Diving into the Digital Coast: Great Lakes – The NOAA Digital Coast is a clearinghouse for a wide variety of data, tools, and trainings related to coastal resiliency. Some of the highlights we have found to be excellent include the Data Access Viewer, a Working with Lidar Training, and Coastal County Snapshots tool.

March

  • USACE Monthly Bulletin of Great Lakes Water Levels – The Monthly Bulletin of Great Lakes Water Levels is a set of online figures that depict past, present, and future water levels for each Great Lake. Published monthly as a public service, this bulletin shows recorded Lake levels from previous and current years, a projection for the next six months, lows, averages, and extreme lake levels from 1918 to 2020.

February

  • Funding and Financing for Coastal Resiliency – This webinar from the NOAA Office for Coastal Management’s is about financing coastal resiliency. In it, you will learn about different options and strategies for funding and financing for coastal resiliency projects.

January

  • Wisconsin Shoreline Inventory & Oblique Photo Viewer – Updated with 2020 Images – This interactive map is both a qualitative and quantitative inventory of shoreline conditions on Wisconsin’s Great Lakes coasts. It has recently been updated with 2020 aerial imagery. Watch our tutorial to learn how to navigate the map and use the photos, shoreline condition inventories, and recession information to identify and prioritize areas for coastal management.

2020

December

  • Resilient Future for Coastal Communities Report – This report highlights 30 federal policy recommendations for making coastal communities more resilient. It was developed from Congressional briefings involving coastal resilience experts across the nation. The report is organized into six major sections—Community at the Forefront, Land Use and Development, Cultural Heritage, Climate Adaptation and Resilience Data, Disaster Preparedness, and Financing.

November

  • Working with Engineers and Contractors – This document describes the standard procedures of a coastal protection project. In addition, the document highlights the benefits of using an engineering professional or contractor and provides recommendations for finding and choosing a qualified engineering professional or contractor that will fit the needs of the project.

October

  • Ohio Coastal Design Manual – This manual focuses on design and engineering principles of constructing coastal structures for erosion control. It provides a comprehensive overview of best practices for structure design. It is ideal for the development of a common language and knowledge basis

September

  • National Weather Service Great Lakes Portal – The Portal is an interactive tool for users to explore detailed weather information. The landing page of the Great Lakes Portal allows you to see current and forecasted weather and hourly forecasts for up to 6 days in the Great Lakes region.

August

  • Protect Your Home from Bluff Erosion – The fact sheet, “When Your Home is at Imminent Risk from Bluff Failure”, is put together by the Wisconsin Sea Grant to help homeowners understand when their homes are at imminent risk of bluff failure, what to do about it, and where to get more information. It is a simple 2 pager that lays out the most pertinent information about risk factors, options for repair, and who to contact.

July

  • Great Lakes Water Level Dashboard – The Dashboard portrays monthly water level information for all the Great Lakes. The dashboard allows users to view water levels, oscillation/pattern indices, percentages, hydrological input/output, speeds, temperatures, and flow rates. This tool is designed to support and be used by anyone interested in better understanding the long-term variations of water levels on the Great Lakes.

June

  • Green Infrastructure Code Audit Workbook – The University of Wisconsin Sea Grant’s Tackling Barriers to Green Infrastructure: An Audit of Municipal Codes and Ordinances is a tool for municipalities to use in order to identify codes and ordinances that hinder green infrastructure placement and suggest language to modify. There are 5 key strategies the workbook focuses on (1) reduction of impervious surfaces, (2) disconnection of effective impervious areas, (3) restoration of natural functions, (4) standards for specific land uses that can generate stormwater pollution, (5) encourage the use of green infrastructure in comprehensive plans, grant applications and purpose statements as the preferred approach to stormwater management.

May

  • Model Ordinance for Lake Michigan Bluff Setback – SEWRPC’s model ordinance details an example community zoning ordinance that could help reduce the risk of developments being exposed to coastal hazards and limit the impacts of those hazards to the shoreline.

April

  • USACE Great Lakes High Water Webpage – A repository of information compiled to help inform decision-making related to Great Lakes water levels as well as connect people to a variety of informational and planning resources. The web page features four key elements: an FAQ section, informational videos from different offices within USACE, a damage assessment survey, and links to additional resources.

February

  • Wisconsin Coastal Atlas – A technology platform that enables people to better understand coastal issues, share coastal data and inform decision-making about sustainable use of the Great Lakes. The atlas includes five elements: maps, catalog, tools, learn and topics. The atlas serves as a gateway to interactive maps and decision support tools relevant to Great Lakes management and provides access to place-based learning resources about coastal issues in Wisconsin.

January

  • New York Sea Grant Great Lakes Coastal Resilience Index – The Coastal Resilience Index is a self-assessment tool developed by the New York Sea Grant Institute to bring community leaders together and provide them with a simple method for identifying areas in which their community can be more resilient to coastal hazards across six sectors: critical facilities and infrastructure, transportation issues, community plans and agreements, mitigation measures, business plans, and social systems.

2019

December

  • Great Lakes Emergency Erosion Control Self Certification – The Self-Certification is a streamlined temporary erosion control placement authorization process intended for emergency situations on Great Lakes shorelines. This process was established to allow homeowners to protect their properties from imminent risk without permitting delays.

November

  • Great Lakes Coastal Shore Protection Structures & Their Effects on Coastal Processes – This fact sheet discusses the different types of shore protection and their impacts on coastal processes. This document is intended to help users develop an understanding of Great Lakes coastal processes and how coastal structures can impact coastal processes so that they can make informed decisions when choosing an engineered solution.

October

  • Great Lakes Water Level Dashboard – This online, interactive dashboard of monthly water level data for each of the Great Lakes is designed for users to easily examine the fluctuation of the Great Lakes water levels and forecasts at a variety of time scales. The dashboard also includes references for all data, forecasts, and data products.

September

  • Stabilizing Coastal Slopes for the Great Lakes – This publication discusses topics including visible indicators of erosion and slope instability, management of surface water and groundwater, evidence of soil creep, improving slope stability, and determining a safe setback distance to help users make informed coastal management decisions. The publication also has a list of references to additional information about each topic.

August

  • Wisconsin Shoreline Inventory & Oblique Photo Viewer – Featuring NEW Bluff Recession Data – This interactive map has been updated to be both a qualitative and quantitative inventory of shoreline conditions on Wisconsin’s Great Lakes coasts. Watch our tutorial to learn how to navigate the map and use the photos, shoreline condition inventories, and recession information to identify and prioritize areas for coastal management.

July

  • Adapting to a Changing Coast (for Property Owners) – Adapting to a Changing Coast for Property Owners is a booklet that provides property owners with options and resources for responding to the changing bluff and beaches of Lake Michigan. This document presents options, rather than prescriptions, that property owners in Southeast Wisconsin could consider to address coastal hazards. 

June

  • Lake Level Viewer – The Lake Level Viewer is a web-based, interactive map used to help users visualize potential Great Lakes water level changes and impacts. The map allows users to pinpoint areas of concern for flooding and heavy erosion in addition to showing potential flooding projected pictures of local landmarks to help officials, and citizens, determine where their community is most vulnerable.

May

  • Naturally Resilient Communities – Naturally Resilient Communities is an online guide about nature-based solutions to various coastal hazards. This guide generates a suite of nature-based infrastructure approaches that are specific to the user’s environment and type of issue trying to be addressed such as stormwater flooding or erosion control.

April

  • Vegetative Best Management Practices – This manual is a handbook that provides technical assistance to Lake Erie property owners affected by shoreline erosion and bluff recession. The manual provides recommendations about using vegetation to stabilize coastal bluffs and counteract erosive forces.

March

  • Working with Engineers and Contractors – This is a four page document that highlights the benefits of using an engineering professional or contractor and provides recommendations for finding/choosing a qualified engineering professional or contractor that will fit the needs of the project.

February

  • Living on the Coast: Protecting Investments in Shore Property – This booklet provides a brief description of the Great Lakes’ coastal environment as well as recommendations regarding bluff stabilization, controlling surface waters and groundwater, and building sustainable shoreline protection structures. Considerations are included to help engage professionals in implementing long-term stabilization solutions.

January

  • USACE Month Bulletin of Great Lake Water Levels – Published monthly as a public service, this bulletin shows recorded Great Lakes lakes levels from previous and current years, a projection for the next six months, and average and extreme lake levels from 1918 to 2017. In addition to the online figures, the full monthly bulletin, available as a .pdf, provides an explanation of the Great Lakes Basin hydrology for that month.

2018

December

  • Great Lakes Coastal Forecasting System – The Great Lake Coastal Forecasting System is a set of online models that predict Great Lakes surface water conditions. 2-D and 3-D web-based maps of lake currents, temperature, wind, waves, ice, and more are available to help users better understand the effects of these conditions on Great Lakes coasts. Users can see current and future surface water conditions on each Great Lake by using the Nowcast and Forecast models.

November

  • Wisconsin Shoreline Inventory and Oblique Photo Viewer – The Shoreline Inventory and Oblique Photo Viewer is a web-based, interactive map of Wisconsin coastal data that enables users to visualize the temporal changes to Wisconsin’s shorelines. This map is a qualitative inventory of shoreline conditions. Users can click anywhere on the shoreline to learn more about its classification.

January

  • Southeastern Wisconsin Coastal Community Overview – This interactive map provides quick access to local government information about coastal resilience for communities in southeastern Wisconsin. By clicking on one of the 22 municipalities and 4 counties along the coast, one can access useful information including general government and mapping websites, comprehensive and hazard mitigation plans and relevant ordinances.