The Process

The Sustainable Small Harbors project isn’t about one-size-fits-all solutions. Instead, the project has yielded a process that empowers communities to conduct their own self-assessments, develop visions for what they want their community to look like in the future, and identify concrete steps to help those visions become reality.  

The Sustainable Small Harbors Tools and Tactics Guidebook walks through the process of running a community self-assessment and developing a plan for long-term environmental, economic, and social sustainability. Each element in the Guidebook’s suggested process can be tailored to fit the community’s unique strengths and needs:

  1. Community Inventory: Get to know the community through census data, planning documents, aerial photos, and other sources of information.
  2. Waterfront Inventory: Get to know the community’s waterfront assets through marina statistics, federal dredging records, and other sources of information.
  3. Visioning/Planning: Bring the community together to discuss strengths, weaknesses, and visions for the future.
  4. Value Capture: Understand the flow of funding through the community and potential ways to leverage waterfront assets to generate more economic activity.
  5. Implementation: Identify people and actions that can propel the plan forward.

For a more in-depth explanation of the process and a downloadable PDF of the Tools and Tactics Guidebook, visit the Guidebook tab. Visit the Communities tab for case studies and reports from communities that have already undergone the Sustainable Small Harbors planning process.

The project team hosted a webinar on May 8, 2017, to convey the project background, lessons learned, and plans for the future. Watch a recording of the webinar below or view the webinar slides (PDF).