Coastal Community Resilience Planning

Its Mission

Coastal Community Resilience Planning seeks to improve the capacity of a community exposed to extreme natural events to adapt to stress and change, by resisting or changing, in order to reach and maintain an acceptable level of functioning. Key elements include: 

  • Planning across the system-wide needs of the community (including the social and cultural), the natural environment, the built environment (infrastructure) and the economy. Nantucket has also identified preserving historical landmarks as a component of resilience planning.
  • Using a quantitative method for risk assessment, modeling the effectiveness of proposed measures, and integrating with other community plans.  Present and future challenges and vulnerabilities to the community on Nantucket include the effects of sea-level rise, shoreline changes and increased magnitude and frequency of storms.
  • Understanding that Resilience Planning is an evolving practice and community specific. The Town is following the recommendations and guidance provided by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Nature Conservancy to prepare a Coastal and Community Resilience Plan.  
  • Recognizing that resilience is a component of sustainability.  Sustainability is focused on increasing the quality of life with respect to environmental, social and economic considerations, both in the present and future. 

The Resilience Cycle

Resilience is presented as a cycle because once a community implements actions to improve resilience, they will need to continually monitor and evaluate progress and ultimately re-assess needs and priorities.  Resilience is a process to promote short- and long-term community sustainability. The resilience steps are:

  • Assess risk and vulnerability: A community starts here.  It may involve creating an inventory of community assets, identifying existing community plans, identifying current and future hazards and understanding their impacts, determining vulnerabilities, and engaging stakeholders.
  • Plan and prioritize: Once a community an understanding of its vulnerabilities, it can then begin to prioritize strategies and potential actions to address those vulnerabilities.
  • Implement: Prioritized strategies and actions are realized through on-the-ground efforts.
  • Recovery actions: Following an event, a community responds to hazard events and conducts post-disaster assessments.
  • Monitor, evaluate, and adapt plans: A community should continually monitor and re-assess their efforts to address chronic hazards and hazard events. As data and information are gathered, a community will update plans accordingly.

(Adapted from: NOAA Coastal Community Resilience Indicators and Rating Systems, 2015)

coastal resilience chart

Important Documents

Coastal Management Plan

The Coastal Management Plan for the Town of Nantucket was created to establish priorities and procedures for protecting and managing town owned infrastructure, public access points and roads around the island adjacent to the coastline.  This was prepared in 2014 by a work group formed by the Select Board.

Coastal Management Plan Presentations

Related Projects and Activities

Other Resources

Resilient MA
MA shoreline change

For archive documents related to Coastal Community Resilience Planning, visit the Town of Nantucket Archives Center.