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As coastal flooding increases due to global warming, there is a growing imperative for strategies like nature-based solutions (NBS) that use ecosystems to manage floods and erosion. Observations suggest that mangroves, salt marshes, and other living shorelines can protect coastlines during extreme events such as hurricanes and tsunamis by attenuating waves from 50% to 70%. However, these benefits are not being considered in the design of structural features such as seawalls and bulkheads. Thus, combining NBS and structural solutions offers innovation to mitigate wave impacts while promoting ecological restoration and sustainability. It is essential to acknowledge that these green features provide more than just protection for coastal areas; they enhance resilience through anticipation, preparation, adaptation, and the ability to withstand disruptions and provide ecological, environmental, and social benefits. The methods to evaluate hybrid solutions will be numerical modeling and analytical procedures to compare the effects of wave attenuation in the structural design of coastal features as a hybrid approach. The results expected in this research project are the reduction of the loads because of the efficiency of using hybrid solutions in coastal features and the enhancement of resilience involved. Further research could provide valuable insights and pave the way for more comprehensive and sustainable coastal protection strategies. It is essential to address the research gaps, advance the understanding of the co-benefits of natural infrastructure beyond coastal protection, and integrate hybrid approaches to enhance coastal communities’ resilience and adaptive capacity. By doing so, we can develop more comprehensive and sustainable strategies for coastal protection, contributing to increased resilience in the face of climate change and extreme weather events.

Future Work

  • To Evaluate the capacity of mangroves and marsh to attenuate waves, using different approaches, procedures, and variables on the vegetation’s health.
  • To Analyze the loads, forces, and other considerations due to waves in the structural design of coastal features.
  • To Assess a hybrid system to attenuate the loads on structural infrastructure using natural infrastructure.

Team Members

Dr. Felix Santiago-CollazoMarco Garcia