masthead University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute
Planning for Coastal Hazards

The NOAA Coastal Services Center defines coastal hazards as “natural and man-made events that threaten the health of coastal ecosystems and communities. This definition includes, but is not limited to, hurricanes, tsunamis, erosion, oil spills, harmful algal blooms, and pollution.” Many communities along the Great Lakes are vulnerable to coastal hazards. According to the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program (WCMP), three primary types of natural hazards affect Wisconsin's Great Lakes shore:

Erosion of coastal bluffs, banks, beaches, and near shore lake beds;
Flooding from upland runoff, high lake levels, and
storm-induced surge (temporary water level changes); and
Damage to shoreline structures from storm waves. [1]

The National Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 requires that state, local, and tribal governments develop and submit All Hazards Mitigation Plans in order to receive Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds. Natural hazards must be addressed in the risk assessment and vulnerability analysis parts of the All Hazards Mitigation Plans (E.G., tornados, floods, wildfires, and severe thunderstorms, etc). Man made hazards (E.G., hazardous material spills, civil disturbances, terrorism, transportation, and nuclear power plant hazards), on the other hand, are encouraged but are not required to be included as part of the All Hazards Mitigation Plan. Thus, in addition to all the elements of a Comprehensive Plan (housing, transportation, infrastructure, land use, etc.), coastal communities must address the reduction of coastal hazards.

The sections listed below provide links to national legislation, national and state organizations, and tools for the management and mitigation of coastal hazards that may affect communities in Wisconsin. Please click on a link listed below to navigate to the appropriate page.

Table of Contents
Tutorials andDemonstrations
State and National Organizations
National Legislation and Policies for Disasters
Additional Resources

[1] Wisconsin Coastal Management Program. 1992. State of Wisconsin Coastal Management Program Needs Assessment and Multi-Year Strategy. Wisconsin Department of Administration. December 1, 1992, p. 85.

Disclaimer: The information provided in the Great Lakes Coastal Planning Resource website is provided as a convenience and has been compiled from multiple sources starting in January 2003 and updated in February 2007. This information is not intended as a comprehensive source and may not always be the most recent source available. This site contains links to other web sites (Linked Sites), which are not under the control of the website. We are not responsible for the contents of any Linked Site, including without limitation any link contained in a Linked Site, or any changes or updates to a Linked Site. The website also is not responsible for webcasting or for any other form of transmission received from any Linked Site. The website is providing these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement of the site by the website or any association with its operators.

The Great Lakes Coastal Planning Resource website was developed by the Land Information & Computer Graphics Facility (LICGF), in collaboration with and funding provided by the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program (WCMP) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management under the Coastal Zone Management Act, Grant #NA03NOS4190106, along with assistance from the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute.

For more information, contact David Hart.