10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
25 October 2022

What if…Scenario-Based Planning and Sea Level Rise

Multi-Discipline Technical

The fate of coastal and estuarine landscapes in the face of sea level rise is often simplified to a portrait of vast inundation across low-lying lands. This image is more typically a distant future beyond typical planning horizons and does not account for the dynamic nature of tides, wind waves, and the interaction with natural and constructed landforms. Simplified methods of projecting a single, future water level over a landscape lack the necessary detail to evaluate risk and uncertainty, while the complexity of tidal hydraulics and an uncertain future can be a daunting task for asset managers. A scenario-based approach that considers a range of plausible future conditions coupled with more detailed evaluations of the interaction between coastal hazards and the landscape provides a “what if” decision support tool that makes uncertainties apparent; can be updated over time as more information becomes available; and can incorporate insight from multiple perspectives, including both quantitative and qualitative information.

Scenario-based planning fits within adaptive pathways frameworks, providing the cornerstone of structuring the problem to then explore solutions, evaluate pathways, and implement a living plan that accommodates multiple plausible futures in any location. This presentation will explore how scenario-based planning has been used to describe the anticipated range of potential outcomes for existing and future hydraulic conditions and changes to the shoreline.