Mapping the Risk of Sea Level Rise

By Forum Online posted 08-04-2015 10:48

Climate change and rising sea level mandate a new kind of assessment of the vulnerability of historic resources, requiring stakeholders to look at adaptation and resiliency options and to decide what will be saved for future generations – both in terms of determining what is technically possible, and also in terms of allocating finite resources. For the summer issue of Forum Journal: High Water and High Stakes: Cultural Resources and Climate ChangeNational Trust GIS Analyst Reina Murray has pulled together various mapping resources to illustrate the effect of sea level rise on communities across the United States.

Essential to the discussion about the risk of climate change is an acknowledgement that the digitization of data is imperative in identifying and protecting cultural resources. The more data and information that is available, the more preservationists will be able to mitigate risk and advocate for resources to address this growing threat.

Note: Data for these three maps were pulled directly from their sources. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is not responsible for any errors or omissions.

FEMA Flood Insurance Program

This map depicts FEMA's National Flood Hazard Layer, a digital geodatabase with data from FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program, as well as aggregated National Park Service data on National Register for Historic Places and National Historic Landmark listings.

With this map you can identify if your neighborhood or cultural resource has been surveyed by FEMA for the National Flood Insurance Program, and if so, view additional content about flood insurance.


Climate Change and Historic Preservation

This story map illustrates the effect of sea level rise on coastal communities, natural disaster occurrence, and the “social vulnerability” of local areas to environmental hazards.

Weathering It Together: Planning for Climate Change in Annapolis

Like many historic seaport towns, Annapolis experiences regular flooding resulting from rising sea levels and increasing storm surges. In the Chesapeake Bay, the combined effects of sinking land and rising seas have resulted in a rate of sea level rise that is twice the world average and poses an even greater danger to Annapolis and its historic resources.

While many cities and states are beginning to plan for sea level rise, very few municipalities are considering the specific effects of sea level rise on historic buildings, landscapes, and archaeological sites.  Recognizing that historic architecture and local heritage are an important part of the economy that brings tourist dollars and attracts new businesses and residents, preservationists in Annapolis are taking a proactive approach to planning for climate change.

This Story Map provides a detailed look at the impact of sea level rise in Annapolis.

These maps are enhanced content for the summer 2015 issue of Forum Journal. Learn more about Forum Journal and about Preservation Leadership Forum.

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