Bayside Adapts: Defining Climate Change Scenarios and Identifying Data Gaps

For decades flooding during high tide has been an on-going problem in Portland’s low-lying Bayside neighborhood. The problem is exacerbated during heavy rain or storm surge events. As sea level continues rise, the frequency of flood days is also expected to increase. 

To prepare the city for development and implementation of a flexible climate change adaptation plan, RPS completed a climate change planning assessment and data gaps analysis targeting precipitation, sea level rise, and storm surge flooding scenarios.  Predicting the impact of these changes allows the City to target adaptation strategies which will mitigate both current and future flooding.  

Key Details

Project Name

Bayside Adapts: Defining Climate Change Scenarios and Identifying Data Gaps

Client

Woodard and Curran

Sectors

  • Residential
  • Commercial and retail 
  • Leisure and tourism
  • Roads
  • Flooding and drainage
  • Information and telecommunications

Location

  • Portland, Maine, USA

Services Provided

  • Sustainability and climate resilience  
  • Data management and analysis 
  • Spatial intelligence and GIS 
  • Design criteria studies

Challenge

Adaptation planning requires accounting for future environmental conditions such as water levels and precipitation rates.  Planners can no longer rely on historical data because climate change is impacting sea levels and storms Investing in solutions for building resilience is difficult because how conditions will change in the future is uncertain.

Bayside 2 (NAM).jpg

Solution

Future lives and livelihoods will be impacted by the decisions we make now, therefore it is critical that those decisions be informed by the best available information. RPS believes in the power of data to drive science-based decision-making and underpin innovative solutions to improve resilience. 

RPS supported the City of Portland by:  

  • Analysing documented flood events to determine the combinations of tidal, surge, and precipitation conditions that cause flooding in the neighborhood 
  • Defining sea level rise, storm surge, and precipitation scenarios for a variety of future time horizons 
  • Using the best available data for defining the impacts of these scenarios in Bayside 
  • Identifying deficiencies in available data and defining gaps to be filled  

Project Statistics

3.8-8.8 ft
range of sea level rise planning scenarios for the year 2100
7.5 ft
minor flooding threshold for Portland,Maine
17.3%
projected increase in annual average precipitation for Portland, Maine
7
outfalls from Bayside's sewer and stormwater system