UMass’s Jon Woodruff Chosen for Massachusetts’s ResilientCoasts Initiative Task Force
In the face of climate change, many coastal regions are increasingly vulnerable to sea-level rise, exacerbated by storm surges, which threatens coastal communities, economies, and ecosystems. Massachusetts is no exception. Given the state’s long coastline, dense population centers, and areas of historical significance, Massachusetts policymakers are considering ways to protect coastal areas from flooding, erosion, and infrastructure damage—and looking to UMass experts for insight.
The administration of Governor Maura Healey and Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll recently held an event announcing a new ResilientCoasts initiative throughout the state, and professors Jon Woodruff and Robert M. DeConto of the College of Natural Sciences’ Department of Earth, Geographic, and Climate Sciences were invited to attend. Woodruff is the co-director of the Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center; DeConto serves as the director of UMass’s School of Earth & Sustainability.
As part of this initiative, an external task force is being assembled to oversee progress on state and local coastal resilience policy and action, and Woodruff has been asked to join. “It is an honor to contribute to this major initiative by the Commonwealth," said Woodruff. "UMass is a leader in sustainability and climate adaptation science, and I'm always excited for such opportunities to step up and provide service for such initiatives within our own state.”
The Boston Globe, which covered the Healey-Driscoll administration’s announcement, predicted that "in coming years, coastal communities, which span more than 1,500 miles of shoreline, will be forced to deal with increasingly difficult decisions as the damage from climate change is expected to grow more severe, including where to build and how to protect existing structures and infrastructure.”
As NBC Boston explained, “the hope is that by partnering with the private industry and with researchers, the strategies that come out of this [effort] to tackle climate change can help reduce the costs of disaster response in the future.”
The ResilientCoasts initiative’s external task force is in its early stages. Subsequent content will be published when outcomes from the task force are made public.