Coastal Hazards and Adaptation

Using the best available science to avoid and adapt to coastal hazards.

aerial image of Hampton neighborhood during King TideProactive planning and action are essential to ensure that coastal New Hampshire can mitigate and adapt to worsening coastal flood hazards, such as sea-level rise, coastal storms and extreme precipitation. Through technical assistance and partnerships, the Coastal Program and the Air Resources Division assist state and local decision-makers with adaptation and resilience planning to minimize damage and increase preparedness and resilience.

In 2019, NHDES convened a Science and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) Steering Committee comprised of representatives from multiple state agencies to update coastal flood risk projections and guidance related to relative sea-level rise, coastal storms, groundwater rise, extreme precipitation and freshwater flooding. The five-year update of the 2014 report, “Sea-Level Rise, Storm Surges, and Extreme Precipitation in Coastal New Hampshire: Analysis of Past and Projected Future Trends,” is mandated by RSA 483-B:22. The New Hampshire Coastal Flood Risk Summary update is comprised of two parts: a summary of best available science (Part I) and guidance for how to use the science in decision-making (Part II).  Read more about the NH Coastal Flood Risk Summary Update.

The New Hampshire Coastal Program (NHCP) works with several agencies, collaborations and nonprofits to advance coastal resilience with programs and tools. One group NHCP partners with is the New Hampshire Coastal Adaptation Workgroup (NHCAW), which is a collaboration of more than 25 organizations. Examples of past projects with NHCAW are Setting SAIL, which provided outreach and technical assistance to support implementation of the 2014 NHCRHC final report, and Climate Risk in the Seacoast.

Coastal Resilience Grants

To help communities prepare for current and future coastal hazards, the New Hampshire Coastal Program administers the Coastal Resilience Grant (CRG) program, which provides competitive funding for coastal community and habitat resilience projects.

drone aerial image of Hampton neighborhood flooded during King Tide in foreground and beach in background. 

Hampton Coastal Hazards and Adaptation Team 

The Coastal Program works with the Seabrook Hamptons Estuary Alliance to support the Hampton Coastal Hazards and Adaptation Team (CHAT). CHAT is comprised of members of the Hampton municipal boards, commissions and paid staff. The group meets regularly to improve coordination as the town plans for community-wide adaptation to coastal flooding.   

Find out more about CHAT  

two picnic tables and telephone pole surrounded by water during King Tide.

Coastal Hazards and Adaptation Master Plan Chapters 

The Coastal Program supports the integration of future coastal flood risks in municipal master plans and other state and local planning efforts, often in partnership with the Strafford and Rockingham Regional Planning Commissions. With Coastal Program and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration support, the towns of Durham, Hampton, North Hampton, as well as the Little Boar’s Head Village District are adding important information about coastal hazards and priority adaptation actions in updates to their master plans.   

waves crashing over roadway and into speed limit sign during King Tide.

Seacoast Transportation Corridor Vulnerability Assessment and Plan 

The Coastal Program is partnering with the Rockingham Planning Commission, the NH Department of Transportation and coastal municipalities to enhance regional coordination for transportation networks vulnerable to sea-level rise and other coastal hazards in order to maximize information sharing, identify opportunities to fill data gaps and develop shared understanding of options for future transportation planning.  

Rising Tides Photo Contest

The New Hampshire Coastal Adaptation Workgroup's annual photo contest aims to raise awareness about sea-level rise and the increasing frequency of high tide flooding in New Hampshire. Photographing today's higher than normal tides offers a glimpse of what daily water levels could be like in the future as sea levels rise.