Sea level rise and extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change currently impact Maine’s coastline and are anticipated to increase in frequency and strength. Beach-based businesses, a powerful economic engine for Maine, are generally underprepared for storm surge and coastal flooding. Yet lessons learned from previous disasters underscore how important the recovery of businesses is to the overall recovery of a region’s economy.
This project adapted and transferred the Tourism Resilience Index, which was previously developed by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium for the Gulf of Mexico, to Southern Maine. Coastal businesses in Kennebunkport and Kennebunk were facilitated through a process to assess their ability to maintain operations during and after a disaster. Through this project, the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve collaborated with business leaders, municipalities and regional climate adaptation professionals to generate outcomes that decrease Maine’s beaches business community’s vulnerability to natural disasters.