Resilient Cape Cod


In early 2016, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) awarded a three-year, $780,000 grant to the Cape Cod Commission and partners to develop a tool and public outreach program to investigate the environmental and socio-economic effects of local and regional coastal resiliency strategies.

The grant is funded through the NOAA’s Regional Coastal Resilience Grant program, which supports regional-scale projects that enhance the resilience of coastal communities and economies to the effects of extreme weather, climate hazards, and changing ocean conditions.

Project Components:

  • Adaptation Strategies Database: a collection of information on a broad range of strategies to increase resiliency on Cape Cod
  • Public Engagement: working with stakeholders across the region to improve understanding of the threats under projected climate and sea level rise scenarios, and impacts from erosion, and exploring options appropriate for Cape Cod communities
  • Socioeconomic Analyses: estimating the value of ecosystem services and the impact of projected climate change and sea level rise scenarios and erosion on those services
  • Communication and Decision Support Tool: communicating the impacts of coastal threats and adaptation strategies, including costs and benefits, and the need for action in a GIS-based tool that allows for user interaction
  • Town of Barnstable Pilot Project: a final phase that applies the information, tools and resources developed to assist the Town in identifying appropriate strategies to advance resiliency planning.


PHASE 1: Data Collection and Adaptation Strategies Database

Collect sufficient data on the impacts of changing climate, SLR, and adaptation strategies to generate a region-wide database.

Year 1: The CCC will acquire and incorporate existing and developing data sets to support our ability to understand and illustrate the impacts of changing climate and SLR on Cape Cod. We will engage local stakeholders in workshops to explain, vet, and adjust these datasets.

Years 1 - 2: The CCC will compile a database including detailed accounting of the possible adaptation strategies, including regulatory and policy approaches and both hard and soft technological strategies, to improve resiliency within the Cape Cod coastal area. The development of this database will be vetted through stakeholder workshops.

PHASE 2: Public Engagement and Socio-Economic Analysis

Engage in a region-wide public process to improve understanding of coastal vulnerability and gauge the region’s willingness and ability to take action.

Years 1 - 3: The CCC will work with a consultant to conduct a literature review, a benefit transfer study and develop a spatial hedonics models.  Through the literature review we will identify existing ecosystem service values appropriate for Cape Cod and potential impacts of adaptation strategies on these values.  The benefit transfer study will assess the value of ecosystem services in the absence of Cape Cod-specific values and evaluate the impact of adaptation strategies on the estimated values.  The hedonics model will identify how property values in the region are impacted by changes to ecosystem services. 

PHASE 3: Development of the Communication and Decision-Support Tool

Develop a Decision-Support Tool to aid discussions around implementation of potential adaptation strategies.

Years 2 - 3: Based on prior successful development of a decision-support tool for comparing nitrogen-management strategies, we propose to develop a GIS-based tool to translate technical data into understandable and actionable language, estimate loss of individual and government assets, communicate adaptation strategies and the costs/benefits of those strategies, communicate the need for action, and engage the public in selecting and implementing site-specific strategies.

Year 3: The power of the CCC’s nitrogen management tool is in communicating the cost and effectiveness of technology solutions within Cape Cod’s coastal watersheds and impaired water bodies. The CCC envisions this proposed coastal resiliency tool to have a similarly powerful effect in illustrating the threats of changing climate and SLR, overlaid with the options for adaptation, and comparing the costs and benefits of those options at local and regional scales. We will utilize focus groups of local resource managers, policy makers, and other stakeholders to refine the tool’s content and presentation.

PHASE 4: Town of Barnstable Pilot project 

Pilot the planning approach and use of the Decision-Support Tool in the Town of Barnstable.


Year 3: The objectives of the pilot project are to advance the Town of Barnstable’s resiliency planning efforts, to improve property owner understanding of the threats of climate change and SLR, to identify and highlight the cost of doing nothing, and determine the costs and benefits of different adaptation strategies. 



Stakeholder Representation

The Stakeholder Working Groups are each designed to represent the range of constituencies, and their interests and concerns, with regards to their respective waterbody. Representatives are volunteers within stakeholder groups residing or working within the applicable subregional areas who are able to represent the constituent groups and interests within their area. 

Stakeholder Regions

  • Map of NOAA Subregional Stakeholder GroupsBuzzards Bay
  • Nantucket Sound
  • Cape Cod Bay
  • OuterCape 

The subregions are organized by water body. Stakeholders should participate in the subregion most closely connected to their place of residence or work. Towns are encouraged to participate in all subregions that may apply.


Click for Stakeholder Interest Form



Advisory Board

Mission:  To support the regional resiliency planning process by providing advice on the overall approach, offering insight on key decisions, and reviewing draft work product.


  • Wendy Northcross, Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce
  • Pat Hughes, Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies
  • Ryan Castle, Cape Cod and Islands Board of Realtors
  • Christine Duren, Homebuilders and Remodelers Association of Cape Cod
  • Don Keeran, Association to Preserve Cape Cod
  • Bruce Carlisle, MA Coastal Zone Management

Science Committee

Mission: To provide advice and recommendations for interpreting science and data regarding historic climate and weather hazards, and coastal geologic processes, and assist in providing access to data, as appropriate.


  • Greg Berman, WHOI SeaGrant/Cape Cod Cooperative Extension
  • Jeffrey P. Donnelly, WHOI
  • Graham Giese, Center for Coastal Studies
  • Robert Thompson, National Weather Service
  • Rebecca Haney, MA Coastal Zone Management

Adaptation Strategies Committee

Mission: To review and comment on the structure and content of the adaptation strategies database, suggest strategies to include, and provide advice on considerations for applying strategies across the region.


  • Paul Kirshen, UMASS Boston
  • Lisa Auermuller, Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve
  • Greg Berman, WHOI SeaGrant/Cape Cod Cooperative Extension
  • John Ramsey, Applied Coastal
  • Julia Knisel, MA Coastal Zone Management
  • Seth Wilkinson, Wilkinson Ecological
  • Jim O'Connell, Coastal Advisory Services

Regulatory, Legal and Institutional Committee

Mission: To consider the need for regulatory reform and increased coordination between local, regional, state and federal agencies to ensure implementation of appropriate strategies across the region.


  • Robert Boeri, MA Coastal Zone Management
  • Eric Carlson, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
  • Joy Duperault, MA Department of Conservation and Recreation
  • Kathryn Ford, MA Division of Marine Fisheries
  • Lealdon Langley, MA Department of Environmental Protection
  • Chad McGuire, UMass Dartmouth



Meeting Schedule

Stakeholders are expected to have a willingness and interest in attending all meetings within their selected region and participating actively in discussions.

Buzzards Bay

All meetings will be held at the Pocasset Community Center (314 Barlow’s Landing Road, Pocasset, MA 02559)

  • Meeting 1: 12/13/2017 from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Meeting 2: 1/10/2018 from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Meeting 3: 2/7/2018 from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Cape Cod Bay

All meetings will be held at the Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS (22 Mid Tech Drive, West Yarmouth, MA 02673)

  • Meeting 1: 12/11/2017 from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • Meeting 2: 1/11/2018 from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • Meeting 3: 2/6/2018 from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Nantucket Sound

All meetings will be held at the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce (5 Patti Page Way, Centerville, MA 02632)

  • Meeting 1: 12/11/2017 from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Meeting 2: 1/11/2018 from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Meeting 3: 2/6/2018 from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Outer Cape

All meetings will be held at the Wellfleet Library (55 West Main Street, Wellfleet, MA 02667)

  • Meeting 1: 12/12/2017 from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Meeting 2: 1/12/2018 from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Meeting 3: 2/9/2018 from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.



Erin Perry
Special Projects Manager


Lead Agency

  • Cape Cod Commission

Grant Partners

Supporting Agencies

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