Coastal Resiliency Program

Who We Are

The story of the Coastal Resiliency Program began in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (2005) and its disastrous effects on the Gulf Coast.  After landfall, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Mobile District began to assemble a specialized team that oversaw what would become the Mississippi Coastal Improvements Program (MSCIP), one of the largest system-wide coastal storm risk management programs in USACE. MSCIP utilized a system-wide approach to coastal risk reduction and fostered collaboration with partners and stakeholders to successfully address coastal storm damages. The program has evolved to include study, design, and construction efforts in coastal Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle. As a result of this growth, the program is now known as the Coastal Resiliency Program. Additionally, the program has worked to facilitate the meaningful inclusion of regional sediment management and natural and nature-based features into our projects, which has helped the Mobile District gain recognition as a Regional Sediment Management Implementation Champion and Engineering with Nature Proving Ground. 

What We Do

Coastal areas play an important role in the nation’s economy by supporting port commerce, tourism, valuable fisheries, critical habitat, and other major revenue streams for state and local governments. Coastal areas are also vulnerable to hazards posed by sea level change and coastal storms. Recent hurricane events have emphasized the increasing vulnerability of coastal areas to natural disasters through the combination of climate change, geological processes, and continued urbanization of our coastline. 

Our mission is to deliver vital engineering solutions, in collaboration with our partners, that reduce coastal storm risks and increase ecosystem and community resilience. We use an integrated approach that incorporates a system of measures that include natural and nature-based features, nonstructural and structural solutions.   

Improving resilience is a key objective of the USACE to reduce risk to our coastlines and nearshore communities while preserving and protecting the natural habitat. 

Building innovative, climate resilient infrastructure to protect communities and ecosystems can be achieved through natural or nature-based features such as wetlands, beaches and dunes; nonstructural interventions through updated policies, building codes and emergency response; and structural interventions such as seawalls and breakwaters.  

Coastal Storm Risk Management

The USACE coastal storm risk management mission area encompasses ongoing and diverse risk management projects, programs, and authorities, and includes engagement and partnerships with other Federal agencies and Tribal organizations. USACE activities related to coastal storm risk management include technical services, project planning, design and construction, levee safety, emergency operations, and emergency response. Coastal storm risk management projects utilize structural and nonstructural measures to manage the hazards associated with flooding and reduce the negative consequences to people and property.

Panama City Beach Coastal Storm Risk Management Project 2020 

The Panama City Beaches Coastal Storm Risk Management (CSRM) Project was originally authorized by Section 501(a) of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1986 and reauthorized by Section 318 WRDA of 1996.The project was constructed between 1998 - 1999 for the eastern 16.5 miles and in 2011 for the western 1-mile stretch along Carillon Beach and Pinnacle Port. The authorized project restored the beach berm that sits near 6.5 feet in elevation along 17.5 miles of shoreline. The berm maintains a 50-foot top width and then transitions to a 30-foot top width before tying back into the natural shoreline. The authorized project provides periodic renourishment at an estimated 10-year interval. 

A high angle view of a beach

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Panama City Beach 2005-06Post Ivan and Katrina Nourishment 

Mississippi Barrier Islands Restoration 

The Mississippi barrier islands of Petit Bois, Horn, East Ship, West Ship, and Cat are dynamic landforms that act as the first line of defense between the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi mainland coast. The Offshore Barrier Island Restoration was authorized as a coastal storm risk management and ecosystem restoration project under the MSCIP Comprehensive Plan. The primary objectives were to maintain the estuarine ecosystem and resources of the Mississippi sound, preserve natural and cultural resources of the barrier islands, and restore their structure to reduce coastal storm damage impacts on the mainland. Restoring sediment and island structure is providing coastal storm damage reduction benefits to the mainland coast of Mississippi and restoring 1,150 acres of critical coastal zone habitats. This provides over 400 average annual functional habitat units and ensures sustainability of the Mississippi Sound ecosystem by maintaining salinity inflows from the Gulf of Mexico.