A blueprint for Rhode Island’s shoreline in the face of Climate Change
This month's CEF meeting featured presenter Grover Fugate, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, who discussed the Shoreline Change Special Area Management Plan (SAMP).
The Rhode Island Shoreline Change SAMP is intended to deliver on the follow three goals.
1. The Rhode Island Shoreline Change SAMP provides the council and state and local decision makers with information, guidance and a suite of tools to plan for, recover from and adapt to the impacts of coastal storms and sea level rise. To accomplish this goal, new data and information will be collected and modeled to illustrate areas, resources and infrastructure that may be impacted under different storm and sea level rise scenarios. Planning tools, adaptation strategies and best practices relevant to Rhode Island will be compiled and shared to inform state and local decision making. Tailored technical assistance will be provided to the maximum extent possible to local and state officials to assist in the implementation and use of the information, guidance and tools developed through this SAMP.
2. Provide a forum for public discourse on current and future impacts and how best to adapt to the short and long-term impacts of coastal storm events and rising tide levels. The Rhode Island Shoreline Change SAMP stakeholder process will be designed so that information can be shared on how sea level rise, storm events and coastal erosion will impact the people, places and resources in Rhode Island. In addition, this public forum will provide an avenue for two-way exchange of ideas and concerns regarding adaptation, planning and response to these impacts at both the state and local level.
3. The Rhode Island Shoreline Change SAMP informs revisions to the policies and standards in the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Program and existing CRMC SAMPs to better address the risks posed by erosion, coastal storms and sea level rise. The Shoreline Change SAMP research, tools and stakeholder process will provide the scientific evidence, background information, and best practices to support updates to Rhode Island’s coastal policies aimed at increasing coastal resilience throughout the State.
About Grover Fugate
Grover Fugate is Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC). In his role of nearly 32 years, Fugate has been responsible for overseeing the development of all policies and programs for the state’s coastal program. He currently is the project manager of the Council’s new Shoreline Change Special Area Management Plan (SAMP). SAMP is a forward looking plan at how climate change is impacting Rhode Island's shoreline and developing appropriate responses to this threat and protecting the state’s coastal infrastructure.
Due to his leadership with the Ocean SAMP project and other coastal planning efforts, Fugate has earned several significant awards, including the prestigious 2017 Peter Benchley Ocean Award winner for ‘Excellence in Solutions’, the 2017 New England Environment Business Council, Ira W. Leighton, Jr. Outstanding Environmental – Energy Technology Achievement Award for the Block Island Wind Farm Project, the 2016 Congressional Service Award for the Ocean SAMP, the 2010 Susan Snow‐Cotter Award for Excellence in Ocean and Coastal Resource Management from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He is also the recipient of the 2010 Regional Sea Grant Outstanding Outreach Award, the 2008 Coastal America Award for Habitat Restoration, and the 2008 Rhode Island Sea Grant Lifetime Achievement Award.
In addition to his duties as Executive Director, he also serves as the state Co-Lead to the Ocean Planning initiative for the Northeast Regional Ocean Council and is also the state Co-Lead for the Regional Planning Body established under President Obama’s Executive Order on the National Ocean Policy. Fugate is the author of academic journal articles on coastal and natural resources management issues and is adjunct faculty at the University of Rhode Island in the Department of Ocean Engineer and College of the Environment and Life Sciences (CELS) The Masters of Environmental Science and Management (MESM) program. He is also a guest lecturer at Roger Williams University Law School on Coastal and Marine Law.