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Planning for Sea Level Rise

26 June 2019

NOS is making important contributions to ocean science both globally and locally. Recently, several members of the NOS leadership team and I traveled to Norfolk, Virginia, where we met with federal partners and regional stakeholders to hear about their experiences addressing and planning for sea level rise, as well as to discuss the impacts that sea level rise is having and will continue to have on NOS people, programs, and facilities. We learned about current and anticipated impacts of recurrent flooding and sea level rise in Hampton Roads and gained a greater understanding of the efforts underway by municipalities and federal agencies to adapt to sea level rise impacts in the Hampton Roads area. Participants included regional officials, the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Coast Guard.

NOS headquarters and program office leadership visit Hampton Roads in Norfolk, Virginia.

NOS leadership visit Hampton Roads in Norfolk, Virginia, to build relationships with partners and understand their efforts to adapt to sea level rise.

During the visit, I provided introductory remarks at a Regional Preparedness Workshop and Training meeting, where I emphasized how NOS’s two-day visit to the area was a great opportunity to learn from other leaders in thought — and action — on issues related to coastal inundation and sea level rise. I also talked about how our brainstorming sessions have set us up for more informed conversations about how NOS can assist and inform local sea level rise efforts now, and in the future.

One tool that is sure to help coastal communities face the impacts of sea level rise is our new Coastal Inundation Dashboard. The dashboard brings together key NOS products and data from over 200 long-term coastal water level stations into one web tool that can help coastal communities monitor and prepare for all types of coastal flooding, from high tide flooding to storm-driven flooding. This tool provides real-time water level information, 48-hour forecasts of water levels, and historic flooding information — all together in one place.

Having this information in one centralized location will help decision-makers as well as coastal residents understand both shorter-term inundation risks, such as impacts from an approaching hurricane or nor’easter, and longer-term risks, such as high tide flooding and sea level rise. Prior to this year’s hurricane season, water level information in the path of a storm was disseminated through a separate product called Storm Quicklook. Now Storm QuickLook will be disseminated as a customized map-based web product through the Coastal Inundation Dashboard.

As states, municipalities, the federal government, and the public increasingly turn their attention to the impacts of coastal inundation and related hazards, they look to NOS as an authoritative source of data and information on a wide range of risks. NOS is well-known as a trusted partner, collaborator, and service provider across our programs. The combined effects of our conversations in Norfolk, the Coastal Inundation Dashboard, and our leadership in hosting the Regional Preparedness Workshop and Training are representative of how NOS is positioning itself not just as a data provider, but as a true and invested partner at the center of a national conversation on sea level rise.


Nicole R. LeBoeuf
Assistant Administrator (Acting)
Ocean Services and Coastal Zone Management,
National Ocean Service
Assistant Administrator (Actg.) Portrait

Nicole R. LeBoeuf
Assistant Administrator (Acting), National Ocean Service

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