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Community Resilience Index improves preparedness of coastal municipalities in Mississippi and Alabama; transfers model to other parts of U.S. and beyond

As the Gulf Coast population increases, so does the risk of exposure to floods, hurricanes and other storm-related events. Photo credit: Vanda Lewis | North Carolina Sea Grant

The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC) and MASGC-trained volunteers facilitated the use of the Coastal Community Resilience Index (CRI) in 55 coastal communities across the Gulf region. The self-assessment tool allows communities to use existing knowledge, data and studies to examine resilience in terms of critical infrastructure, community plans and agreements, mitigation measures and other factors. MASGC trained 117 facilitators in the Gulf of Mexico, New England, Pacific Islands, Mexico and Bangladesh prior to 2014 and another 109 facilitators between 2014-2017. In addition, three sector indices were created (Tourism, Fisheries, Ports) and pilot tested to address resilience planning for important businesses that serve as economic drivers for coastal communities in Mississippi and Alabama. As a result, at least 15 local municipalities have taken actions to improve resilience to natural hazards and six states have used at least one of the indices as a model for work in their regions. MASGC also modified the CRI for use in the high school classroom, reaching 246 students.

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