Project Quick Links by Principal Investigator
Dr. Samuel D. Brody
Shannon Van Zandt
Dr. William Merrell
Coastal Communities Planning Atlas for Decision Makers and Local Residents: Phase II
Duration: 2008 - 2010
Funding Agency: National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Sea Grant Award
Funding Amount: $291,274
PI: Samuel D. Brody
Co-PI: Walter Peacock, Doug Wunneburger, Forster Ndubisi, June Martin
Students/staff Employed: Himanshu Grover, Sri Harsha , Rob Gatlin, Doug Wunneburger
This project develops a coastal communities planning atlas to help local jurisdictions in Texas understand the
implications of development decisions and plan appropriately for the future. It will provide an easily accessible,
graphically represented, interactive database on environmental, hazard, and land use related issues for local communities.
Specifically, the project will create an Internet-based spatial decision support system that will allow users to identify
and visualize critical hotspots related to environmental degradation, natural hazard risks, and significant changes in land
use patterns. In addition, users will be able to query data and create custom maps based on multiple development scenarios.
Communities will be able to use this educational tool to guide future decisions on growth in a sustainable manner such that
the need for economic development is balanced with priorities associated with environmental protection and human health, safety,
and welfare. The system will also help address important research questions related to where future growth will occur in the Texas
coastal zone, the impacts of this growth, and the usefulness of WebGIS in facilitating sustainable planning.
Website: Texas Sustainable Coastal
Modeling Watershed Flooding and Adaptive Flood Management: An Integrative Plan for Research, Teaching, and Learning
Duration: 2004 - 2010
Funding Agency: National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award
Funding Amount: $515,500
PI: Sam Brody
Research Assoc: Wesley Highfield
Employed: Anita Hollmann, Wes Highfield, Jun Eun Kang,
Hee Ju Kim
This research project addresses coastal flooding problems by implementing an interactive
research and educational program on flood mitigation, sustainable watershed management,
and policy learning. It develops a framework for adaptive decision making for coastal flood
hazards by integrating research, education, and information dissemination. The research
component focuses on the impacts of wetland development on coastal watershed flooding and
policy learning at the community level to mitigate the adverse impacts of flood damage to
the human and natural environment. A two-phase longitudinal research design employs both
quantitative and qualitative analyses to investigate flooding problems in Texas and Florida.
Phase one will use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to examine the spatial pattern of wetland
development over a ten-year period and correlate this development with coastal watershed flooding.
Phase two will identify thresholds of policy learning by examining how communities adjust and adapt
to repetitive flooding. Both research phases will use multivariate analysis to measure the effects of
wetland development on flooding and the effects of flooding on policy adjustment while controlling for
socioeconomic, biophysical, and other contextual factors.
Advancing the Resilience of Coastal Localities: Developing, Implementing and Sustaining the Use of Coastal Resilience Indicators
Duration: 2007 - 2010
Funding Agency: National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Coastal Services Center (CSC)
Funding Amount: $299,922
PI: Walter Peacock
CO-PI: Sam Brody, Bill Seitz, Bill Merrell, Bob Harris
Students Employed: Josh Gunn
Texas A&M University (TAMU), Texas A&M University at Galveston (TAMUG), and the Houston
Advanced Research Center (HARC) are working together to develop a suite of Community Resilience
Indicators (CRIs) (Activity 1) and a comprehensive strategy for not only gaining community support
and input into their development and implementing but also undertake future training (Activity 2)
in the use of CRIs to enhance coastal community resilience along the Gulf Coast. Our project will
also be closely integrated with the University of New Orleans's project in Louisiana. Drawing on
two projects whose strengths are complementary on indicator development and yet offer two unique
approaches for gaining and sustaining community involvement will yield implementation strategies
that include a collaboratively-developed plan to develop and implement CRIs in a range of community
settings. The PIs will work closely with the Coastal Services Center (CSC) to develop strategies that
fully address the available and future resource and services support of
Developing a Living Laboratory for Examining Community Resiliency and Recovery After Disaster
Duration: 2009 - 2011
Funding Agency: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Funding Amount: $374,036
PI: Shannon Van Zandt
CO-PI: Sam Brody, Wesley E. Highfield, Yu Xiao, Walter Peacock.
The proposed research will build upon several existing research initiatives along the Texas coast to provide a “living laboratory” for examining community recovery after a disaster. Prior to Hurricane Ike, the Texas Coastal Communities Planning Atlas documented the physical, environmental, regulatory, and social development patterns present along the Texas Coast (see coastalatlas.tamug.edu). Data collection under NSF SGER # 0901605 built on this background information to provide immediate data on impact, dislocation, and early repair and rebuilding decisions associated with Hurricane Ike. These data provide the baseline measures for our proposed research measure community recovery at multiple scales over a three-year period. Using the original sample analyzed from our quick response grant referenced above, we will establish a series of panel studies of households, housing units, business owners, businesses, and business structures to track recovery trajectories and adaptive learning. A geo-coded parcel-level dataset allows us to aggregate units to draw conclusions at multiple scales, including the household, neighborhood, and community.
Natural and Human Hydrologic Interactions: Development of an Integrated Conceptual Model and Empirical Testing in the Greater Houston –Galveston Region.
Duration: 2009 - 2010
Funding Agency: Houston Advanced Research Center
Funding Amount: $40,000
PI: Sam Brody
CO-PI: Wesley E. Highfield
The interactions of humans with hydrologic systems are comprised of a constant and dynamic set of complex relationships.
In many cases these relationships are often quite overt, including activities such as harvesting and extraction of natural
resources and damage and loss of life from meteorological events. Other relationships are more subtle, such as human released
pollutants entering the system from non-point sources and the introduction of invasive species. Nonetheless, the human-natural
relationships and interactions across the hydrologic system are critical to overall environmental health, human threats (to and from)
hydrologic systems, and social-system support.
Expanding our knowledge of these relationships is a vital first-step to better proactive planning and management of both human and
hydrologic systems. The objectives of this proposal are twofold:
1) assemble researchers and experts to develop a broad conceptual
model of water use, water quality, and water quantity issues in the Greater Houston-Galveston Region, and 2) begin to empirically test
specific aspects of the overall conceptual model. The following describes the proposed study area, provides a general approach to the
collaborative development of a conceptual model, and outlines broad ideas for empirical testing of specific research questions identified
by the conceptual model.
Galveston Futures: Developing a Disaster Resilient Community
Author: William Merrell
Co-Authors: Tanveerul Islam and William Seitz
Galveston futures is a cooperative venture, involving residents, architectural experts, urban planners and elected leaders,
that strives to envision a resilient, sustainable and unified community on Galveston Island by encouraging civic participation in municipal
planning. For Galveston’s survival, it is essential to the livability and resilience, especially to coastal disasters, into the concept of
Futures(PDF File) This Paper describes different projects that have been taken to accomplish the mission of the Galveston Futures.
The Ike Dike: A Coastal Barrier Protecting the Houston/Galveston Region from
Hurricane Storm Surge
PI: William Merrell
Link: Ike Dike Homepage