South Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study

A comprehensive study within the South Atlantic Division, specifically on the South Atlantic coast is needed in order to proactively address the flood risks of vulnerable coastal populations. The proposed study would enhance both Federal and non-Federal coastal risk management, coastal resilience, and sustainability. The goal of the South Atlantic Comprehensive Coastal Study is to identify the risks to and vulnerabilities of South Atlantic coastal areas (problems) and opportunities to enhance resiliency and lower risks to population centers, economic development, and environmental resources. The study will be modeled closely after the North Atlantic Comprehensive Coastal Study (NACCS) with extensive leveraging of lessons learned, tools, and process to ultimately produce a comprehensive and consistent understanding of coastal vulnerability along the entire Atlantic Coast of the United States from Maine to the Florida Keys.  

Congressional response to the devastation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy:

  • $19 million budget (~$14 million expended)
  • 2 years to complete
  • Goals to reduce flood risk to vulnerable coastal populations
  • promote resilient coastal communities

SACCS: Ahead of the Storm:

  • No reason to wait for the next super storm
  • Keep momentum & leverage lessons from Sandy and NACCS
  • Coastal Vulnerability in SAD
  • Over 10,000 miles of vulnerable coastline

Authority to begin the SACCS:

  • Supplemental Bill (like NACCS)
  • WRRDA 16
  • 100% Federal Funding
  • $6 million, 3 year study 
Potential Language:

"The Secretary of the Army shall conduct, at full Federal expense, a comprehensive study to address the flood risks of vulnerable coastal populations in areas within the boundaries of the South Atlantic Division of the United States Army Corps of Engineers: Provided further, That as a part of the study, the Secretary shall identify those activities that warrant additional analysis by the Corps, as well as institutional and other barriers to providing protection to the affected coastal areas: Provided further, That the Secretary shall conduct/ the study in coordination with other Federal agencies, and State, local, and Tribal officials to ensure consistency with other plans to be developed, as appropriate."
  • Consistent, regional assessment of coastal vulnerability
  • Usable Tools
  • Stakeholder Inclusive
  • Will not include NEPA or recommended authorization of construction projects

Coastal Hazards System:

  • StormSim: Coastal storm statistics
  • Long-term storage of, and public access to, modeled coastal storm data
  • Easily accessible data; search, browse, visualize
  • Contextual data products and tools that support federal decision making
  • Complete statistical description
  • Support risk management/assessment/ communication
  • Support project design and evaluation
  • Support expedient coastal storm response prediction, emergency management, operations


  • Gulf and Atlantic Shorelines (Double Effort Compared to NACCS)
  • Phased rollout
  • $3 million over 4 years
  • Led by ERDC


  • Main Report: Brief Summary of the State Appendices
  • State Appendices: Accessible Planning Tool for USACE, Sponsors & Stakeholders
  • Identified actionable solutions to reduce risk and improve resiliency
  • Parallel effort - CHS Update: Data Available via CHS Web Tool or Website

Programmatic Benefits:

  • Demonstrate need for additional study/projects
  • Prioritized needs/risks to maximize return on investment
  • “IWRM” - Watershed approach including back bay, barrier and riverine areas
  • Blueprint for storm preparation/response
  • Enhance USACE leadership of coastal risk management, resilience, and sustainability
  • Building Partnerships
  • “Knowledge Management” - Develop a regional coastal team with shared/integrated tools

Path Forward:

  • Consensus within SAD & up through the Vertical Team
  • Establish Authority & Funding
  • Written Support from Partners
  • PMP and Detailed Scope