Local Coastal Tool

Full Title: A Web-Based Interactive Decision-Support Tool for Adaptation of Coastal Urban and Natural Ecosystems (ACUNE) in Southwest Florida

Lead Investigator (Institution): Y. Peter Sheng (University of Florida) pete@coastal.ufl.edu

Co-investigators (Institution): Christine Angelini (University of Florida), Justin R. Davis (University of Florida), Vladimir A. Paramygin (University of Florida), Michael Savarese (Florida Gulf Coast University), Felix Jose (Florida Gulf Coast University), David Letson (University of Miami), Karen Thorne (U.S. Geological Survey), Ken Krauss (United States Geological Survey), and Michael Barry (The Institute of Regional Conservation)

Technical Monitor: Dave Kidwell (david.kidwell@noaa.gov)

Award Amount: $995,487

Award Period: June 1, 2017 – May 31, 2020

Summary: Southwest Florida contains the largest area of tidally influenced public lands in the Gulf of Mexico and the fastest growing urban landscape in Florida. Both the human and natural components of the ecosystem are under increasing risk due to the threats of a growing human population, sea level rise, and tropical cyclones. Dr. Sheng and his colleagues, working with local governments, will develop a decision-support tool to aid resource managers with preservation and restoration of mangrove, marsh, and beach habitats and adaptation of water management efforts to mitigate future salt water intrusion in estuaries and their associated habitats. This will be accomplished in two steps. First, a suite of coupled state-of-the-art models will be used to create inundation, salinity distribution, habitat distribution, beach and barrier islands vulnerability, and economic impact maps for current and future climates and for various sea level rise scenarios specific to the region. The researchers will then integrate the maps into an Adaptation of Coastal Urban and Natural Ecosystems (ACUNE) web-based interactive decision-support tool that enables users to identify areas of high vulnerability in many layers of interest. This information will be useful for strategic coastal resiliency planning. To ensure the tools use, end-users will be consulted during its development and trained on how to use the tool.