Coastal Storm Risk Management

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 What is Coastal Planning?

Our Nation’s coastlines are just one of its many valued resources for recreation, tourism, beauty and wildlife. Planning for future storm systems and sea level and shoreline changes are methods to reduce storm damages and sustain our coastlines. Planning for future storm events and climate preparedness and resilience are methods to reduce the risk of storm damages and to make our coastlines more resilient. By evaluating many alternatives (which can include emergency evacuation routes, financial analyses, environmental analyses, climate preparedness and resilience, among others) solutions for reducing risk and storm damages can be developed.

The Coastal Storm Risk Management Center’s goal is to develop, maintain and apply the expertise in science and engineering technology in order to reduce the risk of coastal storm damages and provide for resilience of the National shoreline.

 Who We Are

The National Planning Center of Expertise for Coastal Storm Risk Management (CSRM) was formed in 2003 and is led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers North Atlantic Division. The center is a virtual team consisting of members from across the country to consult on a multitude of coastal storm and environmental restoration issues. From coastal storm damage reduction to environmental restoration off our Nation’s shores, the Center strives for excellence in coastal planning.

 What We Do

We are one of seven National Planning Centers of Expertise throughout the Corps and support the entire agency with planning guidance and technical review on coastal storm risk management, with emphasis on regional sediment management and ecosystem restoration needs at both the national and international levels.

Our role is to serve as a planning services support center for coastal storm risk management needs, interacting with project delivery teams and matching needs with resources. The center seeks to improve the quality and timeliness of coastal storm damage reduction studies by providing services that meet the needs of our customers.  These may include: 

  • Providing consulting services for any Coastal Storm Risk Management study, including highly complex and/or controversial study
  • Leading peer reviews including agency technical reviews, independent external peer reviews and model certifications
  • Providing training opportunities to sustain technical competencies
  • Supplementing policy compliance review on projects
  • Providing lessons learned and best practices
  • Assisting in establishing USACE research and development priorities
  • Serving on steering committee for USACE Coastal Engineering Research Board
  • Providing advice to HQUSACE, USACE labs and stakeholders
  • Managing USACE role in FEMA’s National Hurricane Program
 Vision and Mission

Vision: To be a world-class leader in CSRM planning for the Nation.

Mission: To provide leadership and strive to establish a standard in addressing CSRM and coastal risk reduction needs. The planning center seeks to develop, maintain and apply the best national and regional expertise in science and engineering to protect our coastlines, including plan formulation, economics, environmental and engineering disciplines.

 Roles and Responsibilities   
  • Strengthen core competencies by providing lessons learned and best practices to the larger Army Corps of Engineers Planning Community of Practice
  • Provide consulting services for any Corps Coastal Storm Risk Management study
  • Seek to improve technical services and offer our resources to do so
  • Lead Agency Technical Reviews, peer reviews, and model certifications
  • Advise Corps Headquarters (HQ), Corps labs and stakeholders
  • Assist in establishing Research & Development priorities
  • Serve as a proponent for training to sustain technical competencies
  • Support Policy Development
  • Strive for process improvement
  • Serve on steering committee for the Corps Coastal Engineering Research Board (CERB).
  • Watershed and Coastshed Planning
  • Regional Sediment Management
  • Beneficial use of dredged material
  • Technical and Policy Review for federal and non-federal projects
  • Environmental and Ecosystem stabilization planning
  • Local, Regional, National and International Coastal Feasibility Studies
  • Access to architect-engineer technical services to support Corps studies

Although founded in 2003, the center tackled its first major challenge in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when the experts in coastal planning came together to assist in formulating recovery plans for the Gulf Coast. After the destructive storm, the Center provided support to two major storm studies in the Gulf Region. The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration and the Mississippi Coastal Improvement Program were conducted at the New Orleans and Mobile districts respectively. The two studies demonstrated the Center's ability to coordinate planning efforts in a rapid manner. The Center also initiated peer reviews for the engineering, design and construction of the Greater New Orleans Hurricane Storm Damage Risk Reduction System (HSDRRS).

Since that time, the Center has grown, working on initiatives to help solve complex coastal issues across the country. The Center has begun efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of coastal projects by prototyping a systems approach.


  • Regularly lead Corps Agency Technical Reviews and Planning Model Reviews for Coastal Storm Risk Management studies across the Nation
  • Completed many Independent External Peer Reviews of studies across the Nation 
  • Provided hands-on consulting services and advice to areas along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts
  • Developed and conducted training in coastal planning 
  • Improved the preparedness and readiness of coastal communities through hurricane evacuation studies and post storm assessments
  • Established the Coastal Regional Advisory Board to manage the center and to better address our customer’s needs
  • Developed the Coastal Systems Portfolio Initiative to provide for a systems approach for coastal storm risk management, in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Nation's coastal studies and constructed projects
  • Provided planning expertise internationally to countries in Europe and Africa
  • Secured contracting services of an internationally recognized consulting firm 
 Current Initiatives

The Planning Center of Expertise for Coastal Storm Risk Management is engaged in supporting the development and completion of feasibility studies for CSRM projects around the country. We are collaborating on critical issues facing our coastlines including climate change, sea level rise, and risk. We have forged partnerships with other government agencies, non-profits, and foreign governments.

Hurricane Support

The Center coordinates with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Weather Service, and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration to provide assistance and guidance on hurricane evacuation plans. The Center conducts hurricane mapping, and analysis on vulnerability areas, transportation systems, and shelter spaces. Following a hurricane, the Center is on hand to provide post storm assessment and evaluate how precautions and equipment worked.

Regional Sediment Management

One of Center's priorities is Regional Sediment Management, an approach to managing sediment as a resource. This focus is threefold and includes building a strategy to enhance future water resources through planning, improving current execution of sediment related-projects and studies and developing a regional information system to better plan and execute.

Other Initiatives and Partnerships

  • Partnering with Nature Conservancy on an ecosystem regional assessment
  • Collaborating with Bureau of Reclamation to provide external review support for reviews
  • Working with the Netherlands Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management and Delft Institute
  • Exploring new coastal planning models for the Department of the Navy
  • Developing training for coastal stakeholders and partners
  • Compiling web-based Coastal System Portfolio Initiative of National Shoreline Management Study to guide collaborative planning