Geospatial Framework and Analysis for Coastal Resilience, South Texas Coastal Bend

Principal Investigator

Task 1: Key “direct impact” assessments on assets such as critical facilities, commercial and industrial property, and natural assets by spatially distinct threats such as stormwater flooding, riverine flooding, sea level rise, and storm surge for Nueces, Kleberg and Kenedy Counties.

There is a technical disconnect between the structure, function, and processes of complex socio-ecological coastal systems and impacts on human well-being. The call has been made to address this disconnect by advancing resilience assessments to a more holistic approach. However, while within the Gulf of Mexico there are important efforts to address resilience to specific impacts such as oil spills, sea level rise and storm surge impacts, an opportunity remains to break out of disciplinary silos when examining community resilience. The project will improve the science and practice of resilience through completing a quantitative and qualitative resilience assessment template for civic infrastructure, facilities, natural assets and disaster risk factors for three Coastal Bend counties (Nueces, Kleberg and Kenedy) that lack capacity to conduct this work.

Key to the success of the project is early and frequent engagement with end users – coastal community local officials and stakeholders – to help build and apply the assessments and ensure results respond to community needs. Researcher will work both with county and local officials as well as the Coastal Bend Council of Governments (COG) to ensure the approach is relevant and informed locally and regionally.

Task 2: A shared, customized, website hosting an open-access platform tool that enables a tailored viewer, incorporates assessments into desktop projects, and provides a common operating picture for the three communities, with potential for enhanced functionality and use by additional Coastal Bend communities.

The objective is to develop data and assessment for a web-based, user-friendly, and visually compelling tool that is extensible and scalable to a wide range of communities, can integrate with existing and future climatological, oceanographic and meteorological models to assess flood, inundation and sea-level rise, and can form the basis for a standard approach to risk assessment and mitigation for communities and their co-located assets. The tool will allow users to analyze how their community's current growth pattern and future decisions for economic development growth will impact a range of measures from public health, fiscal resiliency and environmental sustainability. For example, the tool will help local officials understand how potential zoning changes could effect changes to increase housing stock or flood impacts. The uniqueness of the tool is that it will not only host federal and state publicly available datasets but will also incorporate locally-tailored data down to the parcel level, allowing small towns to cities to counties to better understand and translate results as well as the ramifications of spatial variables.

The engagement and geospatial team will meet with the Coastal Bend communities to understand data, fill key data gaps where needed, and tailor the tool to meet community needs to best provide dynamic exploration of the assessment output. The data will be combined with best-available threat data such as stormwater, coastal, and riverine flood extents to provide the fundamental direct-impact assessments, and to assist the counties in recovery and resilience planning, including during economic development. Local officials will have access to the data on the close of the project, for their continued use in a desktop environment. A user’s manual will also be created to assist local officials in using the data, platform and to apply best practices to local resilience planning. All data will be managed through GRIIDC, which will ensure the project has a data management plan that describes data that will be created and generated, and how this data will be organized, managed and stored throughout the course of project. The data management plan will help researchers identify, organize, document and store data to facilitate sharing through GRIIDC or another data archive. GRIIDC will provide resources including the GRIIDC DMP Template that provides a checklist of questions and information that should be addressed in a data management plan. GRIIDC will be responsible for QA/QC, metadata preparation and archiving for all projects. Access to the data will be free of charge. However, users will have to provide correct attribution to recognize the funding Agency. Curated forms of data files will be made available in a data archive or library at the GRIIDC repository.