Increasing Resilience at Harbors and Marinas

Small recreational harbors and private marinas offer many social and economic benefits and help build a sense of place in coastal communities. Michigan is home to more than 800 public and privately operated marinas and harbors, many of which can be found on the shores of a Great Lake.

The coastal environment is often a harsh one. Marinas and harbors around the Great Lakes experience a variety of climactic conditions — and as our climate changes, they need to be ready for shorter winters, warmer temperatures, more intense storms, reduction in ice cover and fluctuating lake levels. Concurrently, the infrastructure of many marinas and harbors is aging and deteriorating, and funding needed improvements can be a struggle.

To build resilience to climate change, marinas and harbors need access to resources and tools that will improve understanding of potential climate-related impacts and provide a suite of management practices, infrastructure improvements and funding options.

Hurricane Sandy damage at a Lake Erie marina. (Source: ODNR, Office of Coastal Management.)

Hurricane Sandy damage at a Lake Erie marina. (Source: ODNR, Office of Coastal Management.)

The Helping Marina and Harbor Operators Respond to Climate Change project aimed to assist marina and harbor operators in finding those resources and tools, specifically to address problem identification, decision making and planning related to climate change adaptation. With guidance from industry experts, existing resources and operator input, training materials were developed to guide marina and harbor operators in preparing for an uncertain future.

The Reinforcing Our Waterfronts: Increased Resilience at Marinas and Harbors project summary includes an overview of risks and impacts for marina and harbor operators, a variety of best practices to assist marinas in preparing for these risks, and resources and tools to help operators learn more. Additionally, three tip sheets provide detailed information on best practices for infrastructure, dredging and planning and financing.

Project Summary

This project supported development of additional materials to assist communities in pursuing planning efforts. For community climate adaptation planning resources, see Climate Adaptation. For more information on local government authority to zone and manage growth, and how marinas and harbors can potentially benefit from that planning, see Policy and Planning for Coastal Communities.

For more information on this project, including a final project report, see: GLISA project page.

This project was funded by Great Lakes Integrated Sciences + Assessments (GLISA) through a 2013 Great Lakes Climate Assessment Grant.

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