Islands: Coastal Adaptation Through Planning 

Research Project Evaluating Plans, Processes and Challenges in US Island Jurisdictions 

Photo of a Great Lakes coastal ecosystem. Photo Credit: LimnoTech

Photo of Kaneohe Bay, Hawai’i. Photo Credit: Rob Porro

Project Overview 

This project was completed as a part of dissertation research at the University of Hawai’i in partnership with the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center, the Coastal States Organization, and FEMA.

This research evaluates coastal adaptation planning progress and capacity in island states and territories in the U.S.American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Hawai’i, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands – areas where the climate threat and adaptation challenge are great but that have received little planning research attention. Through both quantitative plan evaluation and qualitative interviews, this study provides insight into the level of integration among plans as well as the processes and barriers to adaptation in island settings.



Want to Learn More? 


Have Questions? 


Contact Dr. Rob Porro¹,² at or Natalie Cross³ at 

[1] Emergency Management Specalist, FEMA, [2] Former CSO/FEMA Knauss Fellow, [3] CSO Coastal Management Fellow

Many thanks goes to the members and practitioners that offered their time and knowledge which contributed to this research.