Strengthening Coastal Planning: How Coastal Regions Could Benefit from Louisiana's Planning and Analysis Framework

Strengthening Coastal Planning: How Coastal Regions Could Benefit from Louisiana's Planning and Analysis Framework

Strengthening Coastal Planning: How Coastal Regions Could Benefit from Louisiana's Planning and Analysis Framework

Strengthening Coastal Planning: How Coastal Regions Could Benefit from Louisiana's Planning and Analysis Framework

Synopsis

This report highlights RAND's contributions to the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority's Master Plan. Its purpose is to help policymakers in other coastal regions understand the value of a solid technical foundation to support decision-making on strategies to reduce flood risk, rebuild or restore coastal environments, and increase the resilience of developed coastal regions."

Excerpt

Like many coastal regions, Louisiana faces significant risks from storms and resulting storm surge and flooding, as well as coastal land loss. Furthermore, these risks are likely to be exacerbated by continued development and climate change. Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) took a major step forward to confront these risks in its groundbreaking 2012 report, Louisiana’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast, a 50-year, $50 billion coast-wide strategy for reducing flood risk and coastal land loss. RAND researchers supported CPRA’s efforts by developing (1) a structured and analytical approach to support CPRA’s decisionmaking, called the Planning Tool, and (2) a computer simulation model of coastal conditions to estimate property and other damages associated with storm surge and flooding, called the Coastal Louisiana Risk Assessment (CLARA) model.

This report highlights RAND’s contributions to CPRA’s Master Plan, with the goal of helping policymakers in other coastal regions understand the value of a solid technical foundation to support decisionmaking on strategies to reduce flood risks, rebuild or restore coastal environments, and increase the resilience of developed coastlines. It brings together and makes accessible previously published RAND technical descriptions of both the Planning Tool and the CLARA model.

Like Louisiana, other coastal states and their communities are facing the need to rethink and redesign current policy approaches to deal with increasing risk and other coastal planning challenges. And like Louisiana policymakers, many leaders are faced with the task of weighing multiple strategies while faced with substantial uncertainty about how coastal conditions will unfold in the future. This report is intended to serve as a guide to foster new conversations among policymakers, stakeholders, and residents concerned with the well-being of coastal regions across the United States. The planning approach described in this report offers a way to compare many options in a rigorous manner while accounting for a wide range of future uncertainties, including those emerging from a changing climate.

This volume was prepared as part of our RAND-Initiated Research program and was funded by the generosity of RAND’s donors and by fees earned on client-funded research. The original research behind this work was sponsored by CPRA and documented in Planning Tool to Support Louisiana’s Decisionmaking on Coastal Protection and Restoration: Technical Description, by David G. Groves, Christopher Sharon, and Debra Knopman, TR-1266-CPRA, 2012; and Coastal Louisiana Risk Assessment Model: Technical Description and 2012 Coastal Master Plan Analysis Results, by Jordan R. Fischbach, David R. Johnson, David S. Ortiz, Benjamin P. Bryant, Matthew Hoover, and Jordan Ostwald, TR-1259-CPRA, 2012.

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