Giving Compass' Take:

• RAND Corporation shares how research shaped the plan to help coastal Louisiana prepare for climate change. 

• Are these learnings applicable to your community? What unique circumstances influence how climate change will impact and can be mitigated in your community? 

• Learn more about using evidence to prioritize and address environmental risks


Some of the most valuable and productive areas of the United States are in low-lying coastal areas vulnerable to storm surges and flooding. The population in these areas continues to grow. Climate change is increasing sea levels, likely making dangerous storms more frequent and intensifying the effect of storm surges. These incidents have compounded the problem of coastal vulnerability in areas like the Atlantic Seaboard and the Gulf Coast.

Key Findings and Recommendations: 

  • The Planning Tool RAND developed for the CPRA enabled stakeholders and policymakers to interact with the data and visualize their policy options and potential results.
  • The subsequent Coastal Louisiana Risk Assessment (CLARA) model showed that Louisiana can significantly reduce hurricane flood risk and stabilize its coastal landscape under favorable future assumptions by implementing a 50-year, $50-billion comprehensive master plan:
    • The master plan would significantly reduce flood risk under either moderate or less favorable environmental scenarios.
    • Under moderate assumptions, the plan would stop the loss of coastal land by 2040 and lead to land growth after that; under less optimistic assumptions, land loss would continue but at a significantly slower rate.
  • The updated 2017 Planning Tool provided improved modeling data about how the coast might evolve and the effects of different risk-reduction and restoration projects, as well as a richer set of analytic visualizations.
  • CPRA and its stakeholders worked with the Planning Tool to develop and compare alternatives, helping inform their choice for the final set of projects in the 50-year plan.


State planners used the interactive visualizations in the Planning Tool to build a comprehensive communications strategy and educate a broad array of stakeholders and decisionmakers about the robustness of the solutions RAND offered. RAND’s contributions were instrumental in the development of a 50-year coastal master plan to reduce flood risk and damage and restore coastal lands.

Read the full article about helping coastal Louisiana at RAND Corporation.