SAGE Workgroups

  • Communications
    The Communications workgroup is focused on development and delivery of communications regarding SAGE. The group is responsible for the SAGE website and various communications materials and processes including digital and print materials, social media, and PowerPoint presentations. See Fast Facts.

  • Technical
    The SAGE Technical workgroup consists of a group focusing on the science of natural infrastructure and a group focusing on the engineering of natural infrastructure. SAGE is currently developing a SAGE engineering community of practice, with the goal of engineers across the U.S. working together to identify needs related to understanding the performance and risk reduction provided by natural infrastructure.
    Natural & Green Infrastructure Workgroup

    This workgroup is comprised of representatives from the public and private sector, including federal and state agencies, conservation organizations, engineering firms, and academic institutions. The workgroup has determined that an initial area of focus should be to develop a set of metrics to measure the success of projects that use natural and nature-based features (i.e. 'proof of concept'). It is also imperative that these metrics be tested in cost-benefit analyses of projects currently being implemented. The workgroup is developing a report that provides metrics for given services provided by natural infrastructure that represent various agency missions. These multi-objective metrics will allow for the development of approaches to quantify and communicate benefits in a comprehensive, consistent, and reproducible way.

    Research Initiative: Literature Review of Metrics to Assess Performance of Natural Infrastructure

    Literature Review of Metrics to Assess Performance of Natural Infrastructure. This research is being conducted for SAGE by The Water Institute. The team is revising existing studies of the effects of green and hybrid infrastructure on flood risk management, the magnitude of the benefits (realized or expected), the nature of evidence for risk reduction, and the characteristics of the infrastructure considered to contribute to the benefit. The project will be completed Summer 2015.

  • Policy
    The SAGE Policy Team serves as a resource for the SAGE Community of Practice on policy issues. Coastal resilience projects involving a mix of green and gray features must navigate a complex landscape of federal, state, and local laws and regulations. The Policy Team is a forum where practitioners work together to address these challenges by exchanging ideas and best practices. The Policy Team also pursues select projects to advance SAGE. These projects include national-level permitting guidance and support for the (SAGE Pilot Regions) as they identify specific policy needs.

  • Financial
    SAGE aims to improve cost-effectiveness as well as benefits of new coastal protection measures by integrating (blending) green and gray techniques. Understanding that natural and nature-based approaches can create significant co-benefits alongside coastal protection benefits is key. Another key element to utilizing SAGE is improved appreciation by business organizations, financial and real estate industry sectors of advantages to be gained from private capital investments and public private partnership approaches in coastal protection projects. New approaches to coastal protection that create multiple benefits also need to tap into new and multiple sources of capital to create the regional systems that will provide improved protection, especially in the face of predictions of rapid sea level rise and stronger, more intense storms.

    Potential sources for funding coastal protection projects:
    • Public agency sources
    • Private regulated sources
    • Local government/business initiatives
    • Philanthropic

Regional Demonstrations

  • New York Region: New York is not a SAGE pilot in the same sense as the other pilot regions, and is one of the more advance "pilots." The USACE NY District is working with several other agencies on SAGE-like projects in the region. We are looking to NY District and other ongoing projects in the region to help inform how a SAGE region could be defined. The finance workgroup is using New York as a case study to develop a finance business plan that includes potential mechanisms for public-private financing

  • Barnegat Bay: NAP-Planning helped to build a Community of Practice comprised of USACE (Planning and Operations), Barnegat Bay Partnership (NEP), USGS (Woods Hole and St. Petersburg offices), NOAA, NJDEP (various offices), Rutgers Walton Center for Remote Sensing & Spatial Analysis, Boston University, The College of New Jersey Sustainable Jersey Program, Ocean County, New Jersey Governor's Office of Recovery & Rebuilding, TNC, Jacques Cousteau Coastal Education Center, NWF, a few consulting firms, American Littoral Society, and USFWS. 

    The members of the CoP are interested in addressing shoreline and wetland loss using green and grey solutions, such as living shorelines and hybrid living shorelines.  In addition, USGS, USACE, a few universities, and the state are all working on separate geospatial shoreline analysis.  The CoP will work to bring this work together to create a regional shoreline analysis and use a decision support tool developed by The Nature Conservancy and NOAA, the Restoration Explorer Decision Support Tool, in addition to other criteria to identify potential projects.  Specific responsibilities will be identified as the CoP continues its work.  A workshop organized by NWF will help with this process.

    The Barnegat Bay SAGE pilot will use the CoP to survey what projects are proposed and ongoing in the bay; identify data and funding gaps; develop criteria to help prioritize projects and areas that are most in need of work and funding (use existing data, shoreline analysis, and tools);  work towards a baywide analysis (including shoreline analysis work that is already ongoing) and a regional plan to identify/focus on areas where work and funding is needed and communities are willing to participate (potential projects); identify and assign specific tasks to members of CoP to identify and fill gaps in shoreline analysis; identify and assign specific tasks to members of CoP to document ongoing work, implement criteria to prioritize projects, and select priority projects in need of funding in a regional plan.

  • Puget Sound: Puget Sounds is an exciting area to explore SAGE concepts and has much advanced data in the science surrounding natural infrastructure. This pilot will begin building the Community of Practice this upcoming year.

  • San Francisco Bay: San Francisco Bay has been working to establish relationships with several existing entities in the Bay Area, such as the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) and the Bay Area Ecosystems Climate Change Consortium (BAECCC). The District office has also engaged in several meetings to discuss impacts to San Francisco Bay under future climate conditions. Areas of need and the focus of this pilot include financial assistance for SAGE-like projects (exact projects to be determined) and policy support regarding USACE (CWA 404) and NOAA (NMFS) permitting issues.

  • Chesapeake Bay: The Baltimore pilot is one of the newest pilots. Stay tuned for updates.

  • Jacksonville: The Jacksonville pilot is just getting started. Stay tuned for updates.

For information about a specific pilot, or to learn about future demonstration projects, please contact us.