Seventh Annual Long Island Natural History Conference















Coastal Adaptation: Harnessing the Power of Nature to Protect People

Alison Branco, Ph.D.
Director of Coastal Programs, The Nature Conservancy in New York

Abstract: We know what elements are needed to keep our coasts healthy and enable our coastline communities to thrive. Healthy coastlines need clean water, freedom to change, room to move, a full tidal range, and people and infrastructure that are safe.  Communities are most resilient when people and nature thrive together. Nowhere is this truer than on Long Island’s vulnerable shoreline.  By protecting our remaining natural shorelines, restoring coastal habitats where possible, and re-thinking how we manage our coasts to provide for those needs, we can ensure that the natural and human systems with thrive in the face of our changing climate. This presentation will discuss the climate impacts we already see on Long Island, what the future holds, and some strategies to harness the power of nature to ensure that Long Island communities can thrive long into the future.

Alison Branco is a marine ecologist focused on human impacts on the coastal zone. Alison earned a bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College and a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Connecticut.  After completing her graduate studies, Alison spent time conducting oceanographic research and then working in the private sector in Western Australia. From 2011-2017, Alison served as the Director of the federally funded Peconic Estuary Program. Since 2017, Alison has been leading The Nature Conservancy’s work on Long Island to build resilience in the coastal zone and help communities adapt to our changing climate.