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Resilience Library

the ability of social and ecological systems to adapt to changing conditions and withstand—and rapidly recover from—disturbances and disasters. In other words, a resilient community is able to bounce back quickly after something bad happens. This ability to withstand disturbances, or bounce back, is a concept that applies to individuals, to communities large and small, to our infrastructure, and to the environment.

Resilience is...

As communities surrounded by water, the four municipalities at the center of this effort are highly vulnerable to the risks associated with climate change, including: rising sea levels, coastal storms, shoreline erosion, strong winds, and storm surges. In addition to their beautiful coastlines, several rivers run through the municipalities, draining into the Long Island Sound, along with extensive wetlands and salt marsh areas. 

Vulnerable areas in each municipality are residential beach neighborhoods, marinas, bustling commercial corridors, and important town facilities including roads, fire departments, emergency services, schools, and other critical services. 


The Four Shore Coastal Resiliency Plan will provide the municipalities with a deep understanding of the risks posed by climate change and rising sea levels. Based on this understanding of future risks, new policies, programs, and projects will be proactively identified to ensure the long-term sustainability and well-being of your community and the surrounding region.

 Benefits of Resilience

  • Protect homes, businesses, and community infrastructure;

  • Protect Long Island Sound and its plant, animal, and marine life; and

  • Protect beaches, wetlands, and coastal attractions, which are critical to our community’s vibrancy and prosperity.

  • Proactively prepare for future natural disturbances so our communities can quickly and efficiently respond to and recover from these disruptive events.

  • Build local capacity and work collaboratively at multiple scales -- from neighborhoods, to municipalities, to the region -- to identify, implement, and maintain projects that proactively reduce our community's risk of future sea level rise and climate change

Why Resilience Matters

Want to learn more about what your local community is doing to improve coastal resiliency?
Check out these links below...

Westbrook Coastal Resiliency Committee 

Click here to visit their website

Old Saybrook Coastal Resilience 

Click here to visit their website

Clinton Coastal Resilience Task Force

Click here to visit their website

Key Takeaways from the NOAA 2022 Sea Level Rise Technical Report

01   The Next 30 Years of                Sea Leve Rise

Sea level along the U.S. coastline is projected to rise, on average, 10 - 12 inches (0.25 - 0.30 meters) in the next 30 years (2020 - 2050), which will be as much as the rise measured over the last 100 years (1920 - 2020). Sea level rise will vary regionally along U.S. coasts because of changes in both land and ocean height.

02   More Damaging                         Flooding Projected

Sea level rise will create a profound shift in coastal flooding over the next 30 years by causing tide and storm surge heights to increase and reach further inland. By 2050, “moderate” (typically damaging) flooding is expected to occur, on average, more than 10 times as often as it does today, and can be intensified by local factors.

03   Continual Tracking

Continuously tracking how and why sea level is changing is an important part of informing plans for adaptation. Our ability to monitor and understand the individual factors that contribute to sea level rise allows us to track sea level changes in a way that has never before been possible (e.g., using satellites to track global ocean levels and ice sheet thickness). Ongoing and expanded monitoring will be critical as sea levels continue to rise.

Additional Resources

Westbrook Plan of Conservation and Development (2021)

Click here to view the plan

Westbrook Natural Hazard and Mitigation Update (2019)

Click here to view the plan

Old Saybrook & Fenwick Local Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan Update (2019)

Click here to view the plan

Clinton Coastal Community Resilience Report (2022)

Click here to view the report

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