Sea level rise, changes in water levels, and more frequent intense storms associated with climate change increase the vulnerability of communities already at risk from flooding and storm surge. Understanding physical risk and proactively identifying which assets are at risk and which have community value will help a community manage future risks and avoid the most consequential (or unacceptable) impacts.  

Coastal hazards are created when development is exposed to risk of loss or damage by natural events. Climate impacts exacerbate existing hazards: rising sea level increases the landward extent of high tides, weather systems generate wind, waves, rain, and other forces that may lead to storm surge, flooding and erosion, and more frequent and extreme rainfall may overwhelm drainage systems that are already inundated from coastal flooding. This creates a complex array of coastal hazards wherever development occurs near the shore.  

Risk assessment will help a community understand existing coastal hazards, identify important community assets, and work towards identification and prioritization of risk reduction measures. Risk varies with topography, weather, exposure, geology, existing shore protection efforts and local conditions. Each community determines the amount or type of risk that may be acceptable for their community. For instance, periodic shallow flooding without significant structural damage may be an acceptable risk if the safety of people.

Risk Assessment

Overview: Coastal Hazards 

Fact sheet on assessing, managing, and minimizing coastal hazards.  

DOS Coastal Risk Areas 

DOS partnership with federal organizations to combine data & classify coastal areas of risk.

DOS Risk Assessment Tool 

DOS asset inventory & risk assessment tool to help communities assess risk and prioritize risk reduction measures.

Coastal Erosion Hazard Areas (CEHA) 

Coastal Erosion Areas mapped by NYS DEC in the marine district and the Great Lakes region.

New York State Hazard Mitigation Plan 

Plan identifies & evaluates risks & vulnerabilities and strategies for risk reduction.  

Sea Level Rise 

State actions to address the risks & impacts of sea level on NYS people, resources & economy.  

Risk Assessment Tools Comparison Matrix

The Risk Assessment Tools Matrix compares the DOS Risk Assessment Tool with four other risk assessment tools that are available online.

Vulnerability Assessments 

MDC, Inc. guide to meaningful public involvement to identify social & physical vulnerability. 

Visualization Tools

Mapping helps communities visualize physical risk on the landscape and explore future climate impacts.