Presented by Mindy Clarke (CEMML) at the National Military Fish and Wildlife Association’s 2019 annual meeting and training workshop. The damage sustained at Tyndall Air Force Base due to Hurricane Michael, a portion of which was due to the record storm surge, was a reminder of the urgency associated with developing mitigation and adaptation strategies for acute inundation events. The primary focus at any military installation is mission readiness, with its unique reliance on sustainable training land. Furthermore, vital infrastructure is often shared between installations and adjacent communities and Sea Level Rise (SLR) or increasing Storm Surge (SS) as well as extreme weather events associated with a changing climate could result in community disruption (e.g., flooded roads and base housing, threatened drinking water systems), inoperable infrastructure (e.g., flooded runways) and compromised natural ecosystems (e.g., flooded habitat, salt water intrusion into freshwater habitat). As sea levels continue to rise and storm surge levels exceed historical norms, nuisance flooding and acute inundation due to extreme weather events will provide significant challenges for installation planners and commanders. These direct threats will be complicated by changing vegetation, waterways, and other natural infrastructure that can support climate resilient installations.
CSU used an interdisciplinary approach to study the projected impacts of climate change on military ecosystem and community assets for over 80 Air Force installations world-wide. The results demonstrated that a significant number of military installations are vulnerable to climate impacts including changing land cover, drought, river flooding, SLR, and SS. Vulnerabilities range from habitat destruction to compromised built infrastructure for the ecosystems and communities that are resident on almost all installations. In this presentation, we will build on existing research conducted on changing land cover, SLR, and SS-related inundation at a critically important coastal military installation (Langley AFB) to explore how natural resource management and engineered adaptations can support resilience to climate change at coastal military installations.
We present lessons learned from the first stage of analysis and describe critical next steps to support to address impacts of changing climate to mission and facilities.