CTP Workshop- Planning for the Future in Jackson County: Sea Level Rise and Changing Coastal Conditions

On March 6, 2012 representatives from communities and agencies within Jackson County Mississippi visited the Grand Bay NERR to attend the “Planning for the Future in Jackson County: Sea Level Rise and Changing Coastal Conditions” workshop. The agenda was designed to provide participants with the latest scientific information and management tools related to sea level rise and climate change at the national and local level.

The first half of the workshop was dedicated to sharing scientific information with attendees. Dr. Lynne Carter, associate director of the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program (SCIPP), provided an overview of recent climate science research and discussed the current trends in sea level rise and climate. Local research, presented by Dr. Wei Wu, focused on understanding how sea level rise could impact water levels and coastal wetlands in the lower Pascagoula River. Her presentation included model-driven visualizations water levels and vegetation abundance under a variety of sea level rise scenarios. Several research and monitoring projects currently underway at the Grand Bay NERR (including habitat mapping, water quality monitoring, and marsh elevation monitoring), were described by Will Underwood, the Reserve’s Stewardship Coordinator.

The second half of the day was spent talking about tools and resources offered by Sea Grant and NOAA’s Coastal Services Center that can be used by local government officials and staff when planning for the future of their communities. Tracie Sempier, MS-AL Sea Grant Coastal Storms Program Director for the Gulf Region, discussed community resilience related work she has been involved with locally, specifically highlighting the Coastal Community Resilience Index and local Climate Mental Models work. To share the utility of these tools from the community perspective, Eric Meyer, City of Gautier, shared some of his experiences related to community planning and development from his work with the City of Ocean Springs. To cap off the day, Ann Weaver, from the NOAA Gulf Coast Services Center, discussed the many training courses, data resources and planning tools that the CSC has developed for coastal decision-makers.

A new element that was included in this workshop was keypad polling. Chad Leister, the workshop facilitator, led the group through a series of questions related to the workshop content and the participants responded with their thoughts and opinions using the audience polling devices. It was a great way for participants to anonymously respond and instantly see how their thoughts compared with those of the rest of the group.

Participant Feedback:

~This was one of the most on-topic, informative seminars I’ve been to in many years – thank you so much for letting me attend & for sharing all the information/resources.

~Excellent use of my day. Thank you!

~All of the information was useful, I will be happy to share all of it with our Director and Building Official.



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