SNAPP TEAM:Advancing Coastal Defenses
How and where can natural ecosystems provide effective flood risk reduction benefits?

Coastal development and climate change are dramatically increasing the risks of flooding, erosion, and extreme weather events for millions of vulnerable people and vital infrastructure, and governments worldwide are responding by dedicating billions of dollars to reduce risks from disasters and climate change. Our coastal habitats can serve as critical first lines of defense. For example, coral reefs work as low-crested, submerged breakwaters, which provide flood reduction benefits through wave breaking and energy attenuation. Wetlands protect coastlines by slowing waves and storm surges and by building land. These natural defenses are threatened by increasing intensity and frequency of natural disasters as well as increases in human-caused disturbances. The good news is that reefs and wetlands can recover if we identify and allocate resources to manage and restore them.


OUR APPROACH: The first SNAPP Coastal Defenses project played a significant role in demonstrating the cost-effectiveness of natural defenses. Since that time there has been growing interest in Natural Defenses from many sectors (e.g., disaster management, conservation, infrastructure, insurance, investors) with some changes in policy and practice. Nonetheless the public and private investment in natural defenses is still very limited.

We will bring together experts across across science, business, management and policy to examine the advances that have been made and identify innovative approaches to fill the remaining gaps that limit wider implementation of natural defenses. By working with stakeholders to assess the efficacy of past natural coastal defense projects, our work paves the way for the expansion and implementation of natural defenses to achieve more disaster risk reduction and conservation goals.

Team Status: ONGOING
Team Critical Challenge: Climate Resilience
  • Review and Identify advances that have been made in the use of natural defenses in policy and practice.
  • Identify gaps in science, policy and practice that still limit the use of natural defenses
  • Discover and develop innovative approaches to fill these gaps and expand the use of natural defense
Mike Beck
University of California, Santa Cruz
Guillermo E. Franco
Guy Carpenter Co.
Glenn-Marie Lange
Senior Economist (World Bank) and Environment for Development Initiative
Iñigo Losada
Environmental Hydraulics Institute IH Cantabria
Todd S. Bridges
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Chip Cunliffe
AXA Insurance Co.
Pelayo Menendez Fernandez
University of California, Santa Cruz
Jane “Carter” Ingram
Pollination Group
Jessica Kendall-Bar
University of California, Santa Cruz
Siddharth Narayan
East Carolina University
Borja Reguero
University of California, Santa Cruz
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