Teresa Crean receives Sea Grant regional award for work on Beach SAMP

Congratulations to Teresa Crean, who received the Northeast Sea Grant Outstanding Individual Outreach Achievement Award for helping develop Rhode Island’s Shoreline Special Area Management Plan (Beach SAMP), which assists coastal communities in adapting to a rapidly changing shoreline. 

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in 2012, officials at the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) partnered with Sea Grant, the Coastal Resources Center, and others to develop a plan for rising sea levels, flooding, and shoreline erosion.

“Here in the Northeast, we are particularly susceptible to sea level rise impacts, and we’re already seeing the effects of climate change in increased, more intense storms, accelerated erosion of our coastline, and damage to our infrastructure. This SAMP aims to provide tools to plan for the future,” said Grover Fugate, executive director of CRMC, in a press release.

Teresa Crean leads a tour of historic Wickford to showcase the challenges of sea level rise and storm surge and adaptation measures to protect historic structures.

The scope of the project required examining new data and information to evaluate community vulnerability and developing new policy and tools – including the mapping application STORMTOOLS – to deal with shoreline change.

Over the course of five years, Crean, Rhode Island Sea Grant coastal management extension specialist, facilitated various meetings and workshops for coastal communities to learn about new tools for evaluating risk to local infrastructure and residences. She also provided opportunities for communities to collaborate and contribute to the Beach SAMP’s policy framework.

“Teresa has been the face of our program at the community level, working with all of the coastal town planners and planning boards to demonstrate the effectiveness of the STORMTOOLS program in planning for the future,” said Dennis Nixon, Director of Rhode Island Sea Grant. “The successful implementation of the Beach SAMP is helping Rhode Island start addressing, with science-based planning, the challenges of flooding and erosion tied to strong storms and sea level rise. Teresa has always been accessible, knowledgeable, and creative in her efforts to bring the project to the stakeholders. Her outstanding work ethic has been a great advertisement for all that we do at Rhode Island Sea Grant.”

Beach SAMP was formally adopted by CRMC in 2018 and is the first statewide coastal plan that resulted in a policy shift to require coastal developments to complete a risk assessment as part of their permit application. It provides eight tailored regional plans that span most of the state, providing customized guidelines and regulations for addressing the specific needs of those areas. This SAMP seeks to address Rhode Island’s constantly changing shoreline and provide tools and guidance to the state’s 21 coastal communities that are on the front line of sea level rise impacts.

The 2020 Northeast Sea Grant Outstanding Individual Outreach Achievement Award was presented to Crean on March 31. The biennial award recognizes the accomplishments of individual staff of the Northeast Sea Grant Region’s Outreach programs. 

 

For more information about the Beach SAMP and to find tools to assess your community’s vulnerability, visit. beachsamp.org