Coastal Resilience Collaboration Team

Strengthening coastal community resilience and advancing stewardship of coastal natural and cultural resources by engaging in research related to the interconnections of people, natural, and built environments.

Scope of activities

Action Statement (2019)

Our team considers Arctic communities in all activities, promoting and seeking their input and involvement in coastal socio-ecological systems. In the past year, we have focused on the co-production of Arctic knowledge and understanding the response of coastal ecosystems to rapid Arctic change. Over the next year we plan to focus on community resilience, ecosystem changes in the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, and sharing information on community networks. If you are interested in these topics or want to help scientists better understand community perspectives, please join our team.


The Coastal Resilience Collaboration Team is a new team created as part of Arctic Research Plan 2017-2021. The team's scope of activities will include implementation of Research Objectives and Performance Elements listed under Research Goal 8, which is described as follows in the Plan:

For a number of reasons, research on Arctic coastal areas is particularly complex and cross-cutting. Coastal areas comprise the nexus of marine, terrestrial, and freshwater systems and are home to the majority of Arctic human communities. Arctic coastlines are already experiencing climate change impacts such as flooding and coastal erosion, including some of the highest shoreline erosion rates inthe United States: most of Alaska’s northern coast is retreating at rates of more than 1m per year (Gibbs and Richmond2015).

Many issues specific to the Arctic coastal zone are related to human coastal communities: culture, food security, safety, increased commercial activity, infrastructure, biodiversity, and physical and biological processes. To provide the critical knowledge required to navigate decision-making and to inform policy regarding this distinctive geography, research on the interconnections between Arctic people and their natural and built coastal environments is necessary. Thus, Arctic coastal areas offer rich research opportunities at the confluence of social, engineering, and biological and physical sciences. Understanding gained from the research will advance Well-being, Stewardship, and Security in the region.

Already, research coordination among multiple groups is taking place from local to international scales, and the Coastal Goal builds on and strengthens that work. Under the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, the Federal government has been leading an international effort with multiple collaborators, including groups that represent Indigenous coastal communities, to build a framework for resilience to rapid changes in the Arctic. Research into coastal physical processes, coastal inundation, and improved mapping  ,which is working with the Arctic Executive Steering Committee Community Resilience Working Group to facilitate relocation of coastal villages, necessitated by considerable coastal erosion and increased storm surges in Alaska. Phenology and biodiversity monitoring and modeling research will strengthen scenarios to help identify future research and monitoring needs undertaken by State-Federal partnerships such as NSSI. The Alaska Climate Change Executive Roundtable (ACCER), which regularly discusses the role of science in understanding the ecological impacts of climate change to the built environment, will benefit from research into physical coastal processes and enhanced observational data. Additionally, LCCs in Arctic coastal areas are actively engaging communities in research by convening workshops to learn about issues impacting their landscapes and to support community-basedmonitoring.

All steps of research—developing priorities and deliverables, designing projects, conducting research, disseminating results, and collaborating on deliverables—benefit from engaging community members. Collaboration and engagement enable meaningful research among community members, IK holders, LK holders, and interagency researchers. The process of sharing research results with communities using approaches compatible with the needs and wants of the community is a critical aspect of building community engagement.


To participate in this team's activities, please request an account on our member space, then join the CRCT.

Team leaders

Thomas Ravens
Arctic Coastal Risk Network (Website)

Christina Bonsell

Tahzay Jones
National Park Service

Elizabeth Walsh
University of Cambridge

Performance elements from the Arctic research plan

8.1 Engage coastal communities in research and advance knowledge on cultural, safety, and infrastructure issues for coastal communities.

  • 8.1.1 Engage coastal community members in research by seeking cooperative opportunities between community members, IK holders, and/or LK holders, and researchers in knowledge co-production research processes. Employ IK and/or LK to jointly conceive of and plan research activities and to report research results back to communities.
  • 8.1.2 Engage coastal community members in research by supporting community-based monitoring focused on measuring physical and biotic information by strengthening initiatives led by groups such as the Arctic-focused LCCs, BOEM, NOAA, and FWS.
  • 8.1.3 Support economic development research for the sustainable development of resilient communities. For example, create comprehensive economic planning strategies by DOC Economic Development Administration (EDA) planning grantees in Alaska coastal communities.
  • 8.1.4 Investigate and protect cultural resources through research to identify and document archaeological sites in high-risk, rapidly eroding Arctic coastal areas.
  • 8.1.5 Advance the understanding of storm surge and saline inundation impacts on infrastructure and human safety. Multiagency partners include the Alaska Department of Geological and Geophysical Surveys and the ACCER.

8.2 Advance knowledge of ecosystems and environmental health in coastal areas by monitoring trends and modeling biological processes.

  • 8.2.1 Monitor and conduct studies to understand trends, processes, and biotic-abiotic feedback loops affecting the distribution, abundance, and ecology of coastal species in relation to food security, biodiversity, and ecosystems through projects such as the Arctic Council Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna working group Coastal Biodiversity Monitoring Programme.
  • 8.2.2 Develop ecological modeling capabilities to understand issues related to the coastal Arctic. Develop online eco-informatics tools such as Coastal Biodiversity Risk Analysis Tool (CBRAT) for Arctic coastal areas to deliver, at a regional scale, predicted relative vulnerability of coastal species and ecosystems to climate change, including temperature increases, sea level rise, and ocean acidification.
  • 8.2.3 Continue to develop a general Arctic-wide wildlife response model that relates to species-specific models of Arctic coastal organisms.
  • 8.2.4 Understand and monitor processes to manage and mitigate potential and realized threats from coastal invasive species, biotoxicoses, and wildlife diseases by leveraging research under initiatives and programs such as One Health, the DBO network, AMBON, and Aerial Surveys of Arctic Marine Mammals (ASAMM) work.
  • 8.2.5 Conduct research that informs changes in wildlife hunt, harvest, and conservation management such as the Arctic-related LCC-funded moose sightability correction factor model development effort.
  • 8.2.6 Improve knowledge of phenology in relation to coastal climate and plant and animal life to better understand issues related to mismatches between prey, predators, hunters, and gatherers in the context of and in collaboration with Arctic coastal communities. This element includes a Western Alaska LCC-funded project on subsistence berry availability.

8.3 Advance knowledge on the physical coastal processes impacting natural and built environments.

  • 8.3.1 Improve understanding of coastal erosion and deposition, including related geomorphic changes due to permafrost degradation, reduced sea ice extent, storm surge, increased wave action, and sea level rise. This Element includes work by the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program, USGS Alaska Science Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and others.
  • 8.3.2 Increase understanding of coastal freshwater hydrologic changes in rivers, lakes, snow, and permafrost through projects such as the Soil Climate Analysis Network (SCAN) soil moisture and temperature site monitoring.

8.4 Improve observations, mapping, and charting to support research across the coastal interface.

  • 8.4.1 Update the National Spatial Reference System in the Arctic to enable integration of baseline geospatial datasets in coastal areas to support research and predictive capabilities across the coastal interface.
  • 8.4.2 Develop new sensor technologies and data collection and application methods specific to understanding and characterizing relationships within coastal systems across all seasons for natural resource, community, and emergency response planning and management.
  • 8.4.3 Produce modeled tidal predictions for the U.S. Arctic. Involve multiagency collaborators, including Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) representatives.


Scientific Achievements

Community engagement was the focus and foundation of the CRCT during the team’s first year. Two meetings were organized and facilitated by ICC Alaska for Indigenous community members prior to the first official CRCT meeting. The first CRCT meeting was devoted specifically to engagement with coastal communities (8.1.1). The second and third meeting presentations included an Indigenous community member and scientists who live within and work closely with Inuit coastal communities. Calls earlier in the year had a significant participation in both number and active participation from coastal community members. Calls during the summer saw less participation from community members – likely due to heavy seasonal activities. The CRCT has engaged diverse participants and has solicited their input regarding on-going Federal and non-federal research in the Arctic related to coastal resilience. For example, input from communities on the first call in May encouraged IARPC to begin a revision of the Principles of the Conduct of Research in the Arctic, originally developed in the early 1990’s. In addition, members of the Alaska Tribal Liaison Interagency Group were made aware of and invited to team meetings.

Collaborations Between Federal Agencies and the Research Community

The CRCT has planned participation in publications, conferences, and other meetings as a result of collaboration on the IARPC CRCT. For example, the Collaboration Team is authoring a submission to the Arctic Report Card, planning a joint presentation at the upcoming Alaska Tribal Conference on Environmental Management in Anchorage, and have shared research plans and results on CRCT conference calls.

Sharing of information between agencies can be seen in PE 8.1.1 and other PEs which have been updated by multiple agencies. In addition, several of the presentations provided by invited speakers sparked collaborative efforts (e.g., Raphaela Stimmelmayr, North Slope Borough veterinarian, was invited to participate in an AGU session). Sustained engagement with the Western Alaska Landscape Conservation Cooperative has also lead to better awareness of the CRCT and its goals. Working with the LCCs has broadened the membership base to include state and Federal personnel who otherwise would not have become engaged in IARPC activities. We have directly engaged via email, social media, and phone conversations with Alaska Inuit organizations to share information about CRCT. Additionally, we have reached out to a number of archeologists working within Alaska that have expressed interest in the activities of the CRCT and in collaboration with other entities. Similar discussions have surrounded monitoring initiatives across the circumpolar region.

Stakeholder Engagement

The CRCT has engaged Indigenous stakeholders through two teleconferences held specifically for Indigenous community members, social media, reaching out directly to Indigenous scholars, field researchers and regional organizations, and through presentations during the CRCT conference calls as follows:

  1. Presentation on the June CRCT call by Alex Whiting titled "Native Village of Kotzebue: Addressing Local Research Priorities: A Tribal Centered Approach"
  2. Presentations on the August CRCT call by Vanitha Sivarajan on the AESC relocation framework, Nathan Kettle on the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy (ACCAP) Adaptation Synthesis Report, and Amy Holman (NOAA) on the Research Needs Work Group
  3. Presentations on July CRCT call by Raphaela Stimmelmayr (North Slope Borough  Wildlife) and Vera Metcalf (Inuit Circumpolar Council, Eskimo Walrus Commission, and US Arctic Research Commission)
  4. Presentations on the June CRCT call by Kenneth Dunton on LTERs in the Arctic (University of Texas)
  5. Additional July webinar on “Navigating the Steps to Coastal Resilience in Alaska” by NOAA Hollings Scholar Daniel Ahrens

Additionally, the CRCT also took part in an overview presentation at the Alaska Forum on the Environment (most of the audience was Indigenous). The CRCT sent out email correspondence to all 97 tribal councils that ICC Alaska advocates on behalf of, all co-management bodies, all Arctic Council Permanent Participants, and all ICC Alaska membership organizations (and offices in the other countries) to provide information about IARPC and CRCT. Finally, Carolina Behe has used her ICC Alaska networks to bring Indigenous community members into calls. Once these members are engaged, the CRCT makes a point of soliciting their input and addressing the needs they express.

Plans for 2019/2020

  • Community engagement and identifying a new co-lead for CRCT (intend to get more specific and potentially produce a deliverable that defines community engagement)
    • Other: Missing audiences (industry? social science?
    • EICT
  • Updating PEs that have not been addressed
  • Makedeliverables for fall conferences (AFN,ACTEM)
    • Synthetic integrated one-pagers (cross-team)
    • EICT
  • HABs information sharing and linkages to health clinic training

Plans for 2018

The CRCT will continue engagement of Alaska coastal communities, Federal agencies, and many others through monthly conference calls that address the CRCT performance elements. The CRCT has a planned joint presentation at the upcoming Alaska Tribal Conference on Environmental Management in Anchorage (November 14-17, 2017). The CRCT intends to systematically review agency and non-governmental plans to determine opportunities to enhance projects by adding explicit collaborative actions with other agencies and non-governmental entities. One approach is to ask presenters to discuss opportunities to engage with other Federal agencies or IARPC on their project. The team will also work with (an Alaska based coalition and clearinghouse for adaptation research and tools) and the Climate Resilience Toolkit to ensure research results are made broadly available to stakeholders. The team will continue to reach out to community members to invite their participation in CRCT, to provide relevant information and webinars that demonstrate work being done across scales, and to continue to build a diverse community focused on collaboration.

2017 Performance Element Reporting Log

2017 Coastal Resilience Collaboration Team Annual Report

2018 Performance Element Reporting Log

2018 Coastal Resilience Collaboration Team Annual Report

2019 Coastal Resilience Collaboration Team Annual Report

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