ARLINGTON, Va — Stronger storms, rising seas, and flooding are placing hundreds of millions people at risk around the world, and big part of the solution to decrease those risks is just off shore. A new study finds that coral reefs reduce the wave energy that would otherwise impact coastlines by 97 percent.
“Coral reefs serve as an effective first line of defense to incoming waves, storms and rising seas,” said Dr. Michael Beck, lead marine scientist of The Nature Conservancy and a co-author of the study, “200 million people across more than 80 nations are at risk if coral reefs are not protected and restored.”
Published today in the journal “Nature Communications,” this study by an international team of researchers from the University of Bologna, The Nature Conservancy, U. S. Geological Survey, Stanford University and University of California – Santa Cruz, provides the first global synthesis of the contributions of coral reefs to risk reduction and adaptation across the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.
“This study illustrates that the restoration and conservation of coral reefs is an important and cost effective solution to reduce risks from coastal hazards and climate change,” said Dr. Filippo Ferrario, lead author from the University of Bologna.
Key results from the study:
- Coral reefs provide substantial protection against natural hazards by reducing wave energy by an average of 97 percent (studies across all tropical oceans).
- The reef crest, or shallowest part of the reef where the waves break first, dissipates 86 percent of wave energy on its own.
- The median cost for building artificial breakwaters is USD $19,791 per meter, compared to $1,290 per meter for coral reef restoration projects.
"Coral reefs are wonderful natural features that, when healthy, can provide comparable wave reduction benefits to many artificial coastal defenses and adapt to sea-level rise” said Dr. Curt Storlazzi a co-author from USGS. “This research shows that coral reef restoration can be a cost-effective way to decrease the hazards coastal communities face due to the combination of storms and sea-level rise."
“While there are many concerns about the future of corals reefs in the face of climate change,” Dr. Fiorenza Micheli of Stanford University said, “there are still many reasons for optimism about the future of coral reefs particularly if we manage other local stressors such as pollution and development.”
The study found that there are 197 million people worldwide who can receive risk reduction benefits from coral reefs alone or may have to bear higher costs of disasters if the reefs are degraded. These are people in villages, towns, and cities who live in low, risk prone coastal areas (below 10m elevation) and within 50 km of coral reefs.
Conservation efforts are most often directed to more remote reefs, however the study suggests there should also be a focus on reefs closer to the people who will directly benefit from reef restoration and management. In terms of number of people who receive risk reduction benefits from coral reefs, the top 15 countries include:1. Indonesia, 41 million
2. India, 36 million
3. Philippines, 23 million
4. China, 16 million
5. Vietnam, 9 million
6. Brazil, 8 million
7. United States, 7 million
8. Malaysia, 5 million 9. Sri Lanka, 4 million
10. Taiwan, 3 million
11. Singapore, 3 million
12. Cuba, 3 million
13. Hong Kong, 2 million
14. Tanzania, 2 million
15. Saudi Arabia, 2 million
Additionally, major investments are being made in artificial defense structures such as seawalls for coastal hazard mitigation and climate adaptation. The study shows that the restoration of coral reefs for coastal defense may be as low as 1/10 the cost of building artificial breakwaters. Reef defenses can be enhanced in a cost-effective manner through restoration, a key factor in protecting small island nations and regions with limited fiscal resources.
Drs. Beck and Micheli were supported in this work by Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation, an effort that has awarded 135 fellowships to individuals from 31 countries for projects to address conservation challenges facing our oceans.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. To date, the Conservancy and its more than one million members have helped protect 130 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at http://www.nature.org/.
The Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation awards recipients US $150,000 for a three-year project to address conservation challenges facing our oceans. The program has awarded 135 fellowships to individuals from 31 countries. The program is managed by The Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, D.C. www.PewMarineFellows.org
LINCROFT, N.J. -- As Deputy Coordinator of the Oceanport, N.J. Office of Emergency Management, Chris Baggot has weathered a lot of storms.
But nothing so profoundly altered the landscape of his community like Hurricane Sandy.
The 3.7 square mile town on the Shrewsbury River was devastated by the storm. Five hundred of the 2000 homes in this close-knit community were substantially damaged or destroyed. Oceanport also lost its police station, its borough hall, its ambulance squad building, its library and its courthouse.Language English
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Survivors in Okaloosa and Walton counties whose homes were damaged during the recent storms, tornadoes and flooding in the Florida Panhandle are now eligible to apply for Individual Assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.Language English
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida survivors affected by the recent series of storms, tornadoes and flooding can now visit disaster recovery centers in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties if they have questions about disaster assistance.
The disaster recovery centers will be open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and on Sundays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Center locations are:
Brownsville Community Center
2100 W. DeSoto St.
Pensacola, FL 32505
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Specialists with the Federal Emergency Management Agency are reaching out to survivors in Florida’s hardest hit Panhandle communities to help individuals register for assistance. Survivors may meet a specialist in their neighborhood or speak to one on the phone.Language English
EVERETT, Wash. – Starting Monday, May 12, local, state and federal representatives will continue to meet individually with SR530 Slide survivors at the Snohomish County Family Resource Center in Darrington.
At the center, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will operate a Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC). SBA representatives will continue to answer questions, explain the application process, help homeowners, renters and owners of businesses of all sizes apply for low-interest disaster loans.
EVERETT, Wash. – SR530 Slide survivors who are notified by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) that they may be eligible for low-interest disaster loans should work with the SBA to complete the application, according to officials with the Washington Emergency Management Division (WEMD) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).Language English
LINCROFT, N.J .-- When the Panini Bay Waterfront Restaurant in Tuckerton was damaged by Superstorm Sandy, owner and chef Ivar Johnson had several critical decisions to make. Chief among them was how to maintain wheelchair access for customers with disabilities while elevating the remaining structure and adding additional mitigation features.Language English
CLANTON, Ala. – Survivors in Blount, DeKalb, Etowah, Mobile and Tuscaloosa counties may now apply for federal disaster assistance, as they were added Thursday to the major disaster declaration for the recent tornadoes and flooding in Alabama.
Individuals and households in the five counties may now register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance, and report their uninsured or underinsured property damage from the severe storms during the period of April 28 through May 5.Language English
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Survivors in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties who sustained property damage as a result of the recent severe storms and flooding in Florida are urged to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as they may be eligible for disaster assistance.
Disaster survivors have several ways to apply:Language English
"National Climate Change Viewer" Enables Focus on Future Climate-Driven Changes for U.S. Watersheds at Local Levels
Andrea Newman ( Phone: 7036484475 );
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today unveiled the National Climate Change Viewer, a climate-visualization website tool from the Interior Department’s U.S. Geological Survey.
Little Rock, Ark. – Senior citizens who sustained losses in the April 27 severe storms, tornadoes and floods needn’t worry that applying for federal disaster assistance will cause them to sacrifice their Social Security benefits, pay more taxes or give up income-based benefit programs.
A grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) does not add to a senior’s taxable income as long as the grant is to help recovery from a disaster like the severe storms.Language English
PEARL, Miss. – Less than 10 days after severe storms, tornadoes and flooding swept across Mississippi, more than $1.3 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency grant assistance has been approved to help those affected by the storms.
More than 2,100 people have contacted FEMA for help or information regarding disaster assistance.Language English
PEARL, Miss. – Survivors in Jones, Leake, Montgomery, Simpson and Warren counties whose property was damaged by the recent storms, tornadoes and flooding in Mississippi may now apply for federal disaster assistance.
The five counties were added to the April 30 presidential disaster declaration Tuesday, bringing the total number of Mississippi counties designated for Individual Assistance to 12, according to officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.Language English
FEMA Awards $676,740 Grant to Saline County: Hazard mitigation funds will be used to acquire and demolish 9 flood prone structures
CHICAGO –The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released $676,740 in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds to Saline County,Ill., for the acquisition and demolition of eight residential structures and one commercial structure located in the floodplain. Following demolition, these properties will be maintained as permanent open space in the community.Language English
Little Rock, Ark. – Storm survivors in the four disaster-designated Arkansas counties have plenty of options when it comes to asking for state and federal assistance.
A State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) will open in Mayflower, Ark., on Thursday, May 8. Mobile Registration Intake Centers are opening Wednesday, May 7, in newly declared Pulaski and White counties, and registration teams are going door to door in affected areas in Faulkner, Pulaski, Randolph and White counties. (A DRC will open soon in Randolph County).Language English
Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama’s major disaster declaration issued for Florida.
Assistance for Affected Individuals and Families Can Include as Required:Language English
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of Florida and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding from April 28 to May 6, 2014.
The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.Language English
PEARL, Miss. – Everyone receives a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency after applying for disaster assistance. It explains FEMA’s decision, what to do next if you disagree with FEMA’s decision, and how grant money should be spent if you receive it.Language English
PEARL, Miss. – Three additional disaster recovery centers are open in Itawamba, Lowndes and Rankin counties to assist Mississippi residents affected by the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding.
The disaster recovery centers will be open every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and are located at:
Mantachie Community Center
265 Tishtontee Drive
Mantachie, MS 38855
Lowndes CountyLanguage English