Coastal Resiliency

What is coastal resilience and why does it matter?

Building coastal resilience in a community generally means ensuring all members and systems within it can better withstand major events and long-term stressors in a way that helps meet larger community goals. There is no one-size fits all answer because every community is unique. Learn more by exploring the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Quickly jump to the resources below for relevant forecasts, data, tools, planning guidance and funding opportunities. Unsure of where to start? Learn how the Coastal Resilience Pilot Program helped five communities get started on the process.

Coastal Resilience Pilot Communities

Five coastal communities (Oriental, Edenton, Duck, Pine Knoll Shores and Hatteras Village) received technical support from DCM and others to conduct resilience evaluations and needs assessments (RENAs), which included community asset mapping, workshops and hotspot identification for future projects. 

Learn how these communities are approaching resilience

Other General Resources:

Elsewhere in the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ):

Visit DEQ's general Adaptation and Resilience page for more information that goes beyond coastal management issues.

Visit DEQ's Climate Change Mitigation page to learn about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency initiatives.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Our environment is changing in ways that are becoming more and more difficult to manage. While it’s impossible to completely eliminate our risks to natural hazards, we can do a lot to mitigate or reduce that risk, increase our resilience and protect the wonderful natural and cultural resources found in NC’s coastal areas. Making smart, and often tough, decisions today can lead to a more prosperous community and region for tomorrow and future generations.

This site is geared primarily to local government staff including, but not limited to: land use planners, hazard mitigation planners, floodplain managers, emergency managers, stormwater managers, natural resource planners, engineers, municipal and county leaders, zoning and permitting officials, public works officials, conservation organizations, as well as other private, public, and non-profit stakeholders interested in coastal resilience in North Carolina.

First, you’ll want to sit down and discuss with other staff and leadership within your community about your collective goals and capabilities for addressing resilience. Some tools are actually designed to help you walk through a self-assessment or stakeholder engagement process as a way to identify gaps and potential opportunities for future work. Your community may benefit from developing a stand-alone plan to guide adaptation and resilience or it may decide that the simpler approach of mainstreaming new data, policies, and projects into existing efforts is more feasible. Also, explore how other communities approached the topic with support from N.C. Division of Coastal Management or through another process. You can also contact the NC Division of Coastal Management – Coastal Resilience Specialist, Christian Kamrath at or 252-808-2808 ext. 230.

DCM staff can help coastal communities build resilience in a number of ways, including:

  • Information sharing and network collaboration (contacts and support): DCM can connect you with other organizations and groups that can provide additional technical and financial assistance as well as to communities who are facing similar challenges. DCM can also point you to relevant resources (e.g., datasets, tools, and case study examples, etc.) that can guide your coastal resilience and adaptation work.
  • Technical assistance (planning, data access and analysis, public engagement, etc.): DCM can help facilitate the discussion about what approach a community wants to take, provide guidance on land use planning and resilience, assist in designing and conducting public engagement activities, access relevant data and conduct scenario-based vulnerability analysis and GIS mapping, brainstorm adaptation options, host trainings or workshops on various topics, and more.
  • Financial assistance (grants and information): DCM can provide guidance about our Planning and Management Grant program which can fund studies and planning initiatives focused on coastal hazards and storm response. DCM can also help communities identify other grants and funding opportunities to meet their needs.

For more information or questions, contact DCM's Coastal Resilience Specialist Christian Kamrath at or 252-808-2808 ext. 230

For information specific to disaster recovery assistance and timelines, communities should refer to North Carolina Division of Emergency Management sites for Matthew, Florence, and Rebuild NC as well as the FEMA website for Florence.

This site provides data, tools, planning guidance and potential funding and assistance resources that can support decision-making during the long-term recovery to recent events. From risk analysis tools to recommendations for post-disaster recovery and administering flood buyout programs, these resources can assist in a smart and effective recovery that builds resilience.

Major disasters bring in an enormous and complex array of recovery resources to help communities adjust to a new normal and hopefully come back stronger and more prepared for future climate and hazards impacts. Hurricanes like Matthew and Florence unveil and exacerbate the pre-existing issues such as inadequate infrastructure, poverty, and vulnerable public facilities that exist in a given community. Recognizing these vulnerabilities and working to improve policies, programs, and physical infrastructure that accounts for potential future environments is key to building resilience.