October 6, 2022
Funding is renewed for collaborative group to continue community climate resiliency efforts
Woods Hole, Mass. — Resilient Woods Hole (RWH), a private/public collaboration to prepare the village and blue economy of Woods Hole for major climate impacts such as sea-level rise, coastal flooding, and shoreline loss, has been awarded a second grant from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management to continue its work in implementing community climate resiliency solutions.
The Phase 2 project, led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), received just under $500,000 to continue to work in partnership with the Town of Falmouth, Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), and NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) to design and construct flood-proofing measures in critical flood entry points in the village, evaluate the feasibility of a dune restoration project on Stoney Beach, and continue public outreach to build support for community-based adaptations.
Recent reporting, including NOAA’s High Tide flooding projections and this analysis from Climate Central, reinforces the environmental and economic impacts of increased flooding from sea level rise and coastal erosion. The overall goals of the Resilient Woods Hole initiative are to protect institutional, business, and residential assets, and sustain the economic contributions of the village, allowing ocean science, marine technology, scientific discovery, commercial fishery assessments, and innovation to continue to flourish well into the next century.
With roots in whaling, shipping, and fishing, the village of Woods Hole has been a hub for marine commerce and a significant working waterfront in the Commonwealth for centuries. Since 1871 with the establishment of the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries, Woods Hole has become a center for marine science, engineering, operations, management, and education. Sea level rise and climate change have now become significant drivers of scientific investigation for WHOI, MBL, and NOAA, as well as threats to the organizations themselves and to the village of Woods Hole.
“Resilient Woods Hole is a first-of-its-kind collaboration of resources, scientific intellect, and management skills to ensure the vibrant and productive village of Woods Hole is protected from major climate impacts,” said Rob Munier, WHOI’s Vice President for Marine Facilities and Operations, and RWH project lead. “We are grateful to the Massachusetts Coastal Resilience Grant program for supporting this vision. Working with the community, it is our goal to prepare for sea-level rise and increasing extreme weather events, and jointly develop solutions.”
“The MBL is excited about the next phase of this project and the opportunity for continued collaboration with our WHOI and NOAA colleagues, the town of Falmouth, and our Woods Hole neighbors,” said MBL Chief Operating Officer Paul Speer. “The support of the Massachusetts Coastal Resilience Grant program is critical to the ongoing success of this initiative. We are particularly intrigued to see what will come out of the dune restoration feasibility study on MBL’s Stoney Beach and what it may tell us about mitigating a major flood pathway into village neighborhoods,” Speer said.
"Our laboratory was built here nearly 150 years ago for good reason," said Nicole Cabana, deputy director of the NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center, headquartered at its Woods Hole Laboratory. "Woods Hole is centrally located, between the two coastal eco-regions we study and in the company of other world-class marine scientists. That's as true today as it was then. Strengthening the natural resilience of our coastal areas to climate change is a key part of the solution. We are pleased to join our partners in this effort."
ResilientWoodsHole is a private-public initiative to ensure that the vibrant and productive village of Woods Hole prospers well into the future with the advent of major climate impacts. Led by a collaboration between Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), and NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NOAA Fisheries), the initiative also includes local stakeholders, including the business, residential and science communities. The Town of Falmouth, the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM), and the Woods Hole Group are active partners in ResilientWoodsHole.