The Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence (CRC) has updated project information for the fifth year of its grant through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Science & Technology Directorate (DHS S&T), Office of University Programs, as it continues work on research and education to protect coastal residents and property.
Among the changes is the addition of two projects under the Coastal Hazards Modeling category, which focuses on improvements to models that project storm surge and inland flooding from tropical storms.
CRC, based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), currently supports 17 core projects, 12 research and 5 education, as part of its FY2019 and FY2020 work. Eight projects – six research and two education – have completed their work as of July 1, 2018. CRC also currently supports DHS S&T’s Flood Apex program.
CRC’s projects are divided into four categories: Coastal Infrastructure Resilience, Building Resilient Communities, Coastal Hazards Modeling and Education & Workforce Development. In the coming year, researchers and educators will focus on the most effective ways to transition research outcomes, tools and guidance to end-users on the federal, state and local levels.
“As we enter the next stage of our DHS-funded work, we plan to put even more emphasis on delivering our products and tools to end-users,” said CRC Executive Director Tom Richardson. “We also want to institutionalize education programs that can become permanent parts of the university’s offerings to the next generation of hazards professionals.”
The Coastal Hazards Modeling project count has expanded to seven, with new projects from CRC Lead Investigator Rick Luettich (“ADCIRC Prediction System™ Development Coordination and Improved Connectivity with Hydrologic Models”) and Jason Fleming of Seahorse Coastal Consulting (“The ADCIRC Surge Guidance System as a Conduit for Innovation”). All projects in this category focus on improving the capabilities of the ADCIRC Prediction System™, adding inputs, improving speed and creating a business model for sustained operations. The full list of projects also includes:
- “Operational Awareness Dashboard for ADCIRC Surge Guidance System”: Brian Blanton of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill/Renaissance Computing Institute.
- “Development of an Optimized Tide and Hurricane Storm Surge Model for the West Coast of FL for Use Within the ADCIRC Surge Guidance System”: Scott Hagen of Louisiana State University and Stephen Medeiros of the University of Central Florida
- “Improving the Efficiency of Flooding Predictions via Adaptive Mesh Resolution”: Casey Dietrich of North Carolina State University and Clint Dawson of the University of Texas-Austin
- “Development and Validation of Efficient and Accurate Methods for Coupling ADCIRC to Hydrologic Models”: Don Resio of the University of North Florida
- “Modeling the Combined Coastal and Inland Hazards from High-Impact Hurricanes”: Isaac Ginis of the University of Rhode Island and Wenrui Huang of Florida State University.
- “ADCIRC Prediction System Business Plan Development“: Tom Richardson of Jackson State University
Dan Cox of Oregon State University and John van de Lindt of Colorado State University lead the CRC’s Coastal Infrastructure Resilience project, “Experimental and Numerical Study to Improve Damage and Loss Estimation Due to Overland Wave and Surge Hazards on Near-Coast Structures.” The project will continue to focus on improving coastal damage and loss estimation by advancing the fragility calculations used in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazus-MH model.
Four active projects are under the Building Resilient Communities heading:
- “Application of the Plan Integration for Resilience Scorecard (PIRS™) to Practice”: Phil Berke of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Jaimie Masterson of Texas A&M University work with municipalities to assess the coordination of local plans to decrease vulnerability to hazards.
- “Communicating Risks to Motivate Individual Action”: James Prochaska of the University of Rhode Island leads a group applying a behavior change model to assess individuals’ disaster preparedness actions.
- “Integrating CERA-Planning Software to Support DHS Modeling and Planning Efforts for More Resilient Communities”: Robert Twilley of Louisiana State University leads research on using the CERA-Planning tool to improve community planning through flood exposure and damage modeling techniques.
- “Support for SUMREX, Summer Research Teams for Coastal Resilience Center“: Wie Yusuf of Old Dominion University supports CRC education activities.
Five active education projects will continue building degree programs intended to diversify the homeland security workforce. They are:
- “PhD in Engineering (Coastal Engineering and Computational Engineering) at an HBCU”: Dr. Robert Whalin has established the first Ph.D. program in coastal and computational engineering at Jackson State University, preparing students to enter the homeland security workforce.
- “Preparing Tomorrow’s Minority Task Force in Coastal Resilience through Interdisciplinary Education, Research and Curriculum Development”: Led by Dr. Ahmed Faik at Johnson C. Smith University, this program has developed an undergraduate program that applies computer science skills toward mitigating coastal hazards.
- “Multidisciplinary Certificate: Disaster and Coastal Studies (DCS)”: Dr. Meherun Laiju has established an interdisciplinary minor in disasters and coastal studies at Tougaloo College.
- “Education for Improving Resilience of Coastal Infrastructure”: Profs. Ismael Pagán-Trinidad and Ricardo Lopez of the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez have created a certificate program in coastal resilient infrastructure to engage students and members of the wider community to transfer professional knowledge to stakeholders through a variety of educational platforms, including internships, workshops, short courses and webinars.
- “Expanding and Institutionalizing Disaster Resilient Policy and Design Education through National Hazard Mitigation Policy Counsel and Course Development”: Dr. Gavin Smith of North Carolina State University leads a graduate program in natural hazards resilience that is open to students from several central North Carolina universities.