Seventh Annual Long Island Natural History Conference
















Living on the Edge in the Face of Climate Change:
an Overview of Coastal Processes, Interventions and Adaptations

Kevin McAllister
Founder & President of Defend H2O

Abstract: Natural shorelines, particularly ocean beaches are dynamic transitional zones that are regularly altered by the forces of nature—wind, waves and currents. Beyond the obvious ecological importance to a diverse array of marine and avian species, naturally functioning shorelines are critical buffers against the damaging effects of storm surge on coastal development. Absent human intervention, shoreline location will migrate in response to wave energy, supply of sediments and rising seas. With sea level rise accelerating there’s been an increasing trend to intervene and fix Long Island’s vast coastline. The engineered approach to shoreline stabilization has included the placement of erosion control structures in all its forms and sand replenishment. While both solutions can effectively arrest shoreline migration the long-term environmental impacts can be profound. Based on the sea level rise projections for the next 80 years, the urgency to protect, restore and effectively manage transitional zones for ecological benefits and coastal resiliency is more critical than ever. 

Kevin McAllister’s academic training includes undergraduate degrees in Natural Resources Conservation and Marine Biology, and a Master's of Science in Coastal Zone Management. His environmental management experience spans more than 30 years of working in the government, consultancy and non-profit sectors. Prior to establishing Defend H2O, Kevin served for 16 years as the Peconic Baykeeper and was the recipient of the prestigious Environmental Quality Award presented by the EPA in 2008.