One key component to the preservation of our coastal heritage is to protect our coastal communities - both human and ecological - from a range of natural hazards. Resilience refers to the coordinated actions needed to reduce vulnerability, and develop plans to facilitate a quick response and an effective long‐term recovery should a disaster occur. It requires coastal management, emergency response, and community development. It incorporates land use planning, hazards mitigation, resource protection, community cohesiveness, and cultural preservation. Already, on both sides of Mobile Bay, mitigation planning in some urbanized areas has been developed or revised to include hazards and their historical impacts. These plans establish both short- and long-term mitigation strategies, implementation tasks and goals, and strategies and objectives for minimizing them. Currently, Gulf Of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) Resilience Team projects are underway, providing tools to coastal communities to better understand the risks and impacts associated with coastal hazards, including climate change.
The Community Resilience Index is a tool available to communities to determine their level of preparedness for storms and storm recovery. FEMA’s and the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) Community Rating System (CRS) is used as a voluntary incentive program recognizing and encouraging community floodplain management activities which exceed the minimum NFIP requirements. Flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from community actions to meet the CRS goals. Since many communities across the country have already begun to implement programs to enhance resilience, a Resilience Team project of Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC) and GOMA is underway to research existing policies guiding coastal development and make recommendations to enhance resilience using best management practices.