Coastal Resilience at Tyndall AFBSetting the Stage for Collective Success
After being severely impacted by Category 5 Hurricane Michael in October 2018, Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB) has embarked on a rebuild program that is focused on creating a resilient, sustainable and smart Installation of the Future that leverages innovative solutions in a “system of systems” approach to perform at the nexus of mission assurance, cost efficiency, and social and environmental sustainability. A significant part in ensuring the future resilience of the base is addressing the risks that arise from coastal flooding and erosion. As part of the approach, the Tyndall AFB Rebuild Team is exploring a series of pilot projects that use nature-based solutions to reduce coastal flood risks while creating important social and environmental benefits.
Tyndall AFB's rebuild program is focused on creating a resilient, sustainable, and smart Installation of the Future
Recognizing the multiple benefits that can be generated by nature-based solutions, Tyndall AFB is seeking involvement from a range of stakeholders from within the US Department of Defense, local, state and federal agencies, conservation organizations, and academia. To help drive the dialogue, Tyndall AFB is organizing a series of stakeholder engagement meetings during which the base’s current plans and proposed coastal resilience pilot projects will be presented for comment and feedback. Organizations that are interested in becoming long-term partners, through funding and in-kind resources, will be invited to participate in the base’s journey to coastal resilience. Tyndall AFB is also interested in identifying solutions that can benefit both the base and neighboring communities.
Managing Coastal Flood Risks
Due to its coastal location, Tyndall AFB is vulnerable to extreme weather that can produce high winds, extensive rainfall, and storm surges from the Gulf of Mexico. Storm surges can generate high water levels capable of inundating low-lying parts of the base on both East Bay and the Gulf side. These risks are expected to increase over time as sea levels rise. There are a few strategies for managing coastal flood risk – making infrastructure resilient to flooding, moving infrastructure out of harm’s way, elevating structures so that they are not damaged, and building defenses to keep marine waters out.
Coastal defenses can take many forms; in most cases, these systems include traditional structures such as walls and levees, as well as a range of nature-based approaches such as beaches, dunes, and marshes. Nature-based solutions, many of which have been used for decades (such as beach renourishment), are particularly attractive because they can be less costly, be self-maintaining, and offer a range of co-benefits associated with nature habitats (like habitat for threatened and endangered species, recreational opportunities). Nature-based solutions can be used alone or in combination with other approaches to provide multiple lines of defense against storms.
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