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USM, UNH project awarded $60k NSF grant for climate change workshop

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The National Science Foundation has awarded a $60,607 grant to the Maine North Atlantic Institute at the University of Southern Maine to help ignite study of the northern New England coastline and its resilience to climate change.

In Fall 2020, the Maine North Atlantic Institute will host an interdisciplinary workshop that will collect student internship projects aimed at engaging communities in research. USM and its partner school on the NSF project, the University of New Hampshire, also plan to reach out to private industry along the coastline.

“The changing Arctic environment brings both risk and opportunity to coastal New England,” wrote the partners in the award summary. “Arctic ice melt connects northern ports through new economic activities such as shipping, trade, resource extraction, fishing, and tourism, even as it accelerates sea level rise, severe weather, and other ecological changes. More resilient locales can expect increased migration from more vulnerable areas. While many communities are developing local coastal adaptation plans focused on specific problems such as infrastructure planning, natural resource management, and emergency response, fewer are comprehensively linking economic, demographic and ecological forces."

Such methods as urban planning and landscape design could strengthen coastal communities, wrote the authors.

The Maine North Atlantic Institute is part of the Cutler Institute, the research arm of USM's Muskie School of Public Service.