Graham Sustainability Institute

Decreasing Vulnerability in Maine’s Beaches Business Community

October 2016

Sea-level rise and extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change currently impact Maine’s coastline and are anticipated to increase in frequency and strength. Beach-based businesses, a powerful economic engine for Maine, are generally little prepared for storm surge and coastal flooding. Yet lessons learned from previous disasters underscore how important the recovery of businesses is to the overall recovery of a region’s economy. 

This project will adapt and transfer the Tourism Resilience Index, previously developed for the Gulf of Mexico, to southern Maine. Coastal businesses in Kennebunkport and Kennebunk will be facilitated through a process to assess their ability to maintain operations during and after a disaster. Through this project, the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve will collaborate with business leaders, municipalities, and regional climate adaptation professionals to generate outcomes that decrease Maine’s beaches business community’s vulnerability to natural disasters. 


Keywords: Maine, coastline, businesses, flooding, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve