Near Shore and on Shore: Sea Level Resiliency

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Sea Level Resiliency

Primary Guidance

  • Elevate: where feasible, elevate berth and adjacent lots above 100 year storm and surge at sea levels predicted 50 years out (2066) assuming NOAA’s intermediate predictions of sea level rise for the locality
  • Mitigate: where feasible, implement water- and wave-resistant measures (flood walls, underground sumps and pumps, breakwaters, barricades)
  • Migrate: move water-sensitive cargo out of vulnerable berth and terminal sump areas



Construct new facilities 2 ft. above the 100 year floodplain for buildings, berths, piers and utility infrastructure. A more stringent criteria utilizing the 500 year floodplain may be appropriate for some assets. Based on the recent history of short duration, high rainfall storm events impacting Port tenant areas, a 500-year event may be appropriate when designing new high capacity storm water management facilities constructed to protect cargo from flood damage.


Changing sea levels coupled with more frequent, high intensity storm events, with the associated higher storm surge, increase the storm-related risk, and damage costs for water front facilities. The costs associated with raising existing berths and lots with fill and upgrading existing storm water management are cost prohibitive in application agency wide. However, measures that mitigate the destructive power of waves, water-born debris, and flood stage can be designed cost effectively and phased to be constructed as budgets allow.


In master planning and laying out new terminals, water-sensitive cargo storage should not be committed to topographical lot sumps and near shore lots and warehousing.

See Also