Environmental Studies Program



Jonah McDowell

Date of this Version



Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2023


Copyright 2023, Jonah McDowell


Sea level rise is an increasingly dangerous threat. As a byproduct of climate change, this is an issue that has the potential to impact countless people, animals, and ecosystems across the globe. As sea level rise continues to worsen, it is imperative that coastal communities develop their own strategies and plans to combat this problem. This study focuses on two areas, the state of Louisiana and the country of the Netherlands, and studies how they have responded to this problem. These locations were chosen because sea level rise is proportionally more severe at these two locations compared to other areas of the world. Two questions guided the research. The first question was “How do Louisiana and the Netherlands compare in their efforts to address rising sea levels?” One of the main focuses of this study was to review the strategies in use in both locations, and then see how they are similar or different. The second question was “What can we learn from these approaches to sea level preparedness?” By studying these areas, the strategies they used could potentially be examples for other communities to follow. A separate goal of this study was to create an all-encompassing sea level rise plan after reviewing the strategies of these two areas. The research yielded the conclusion that they use very different methods to deal with the rising sea levels. In Louisiana, they preferred to use mitigation strategies. This entails the construction of levees along the coastline, structural protections for buildings, and habitat and ecosystem restoration projects. In the Netherlands, they use adaptation measures. Adaptation requires integrating strategies into society, as opposed to building large protections like Louisiana. There are a lot of takeaways from a study like this, but one of the most important ones is the fact that each coastal location will have their own unique strategy for dealing with sea level rise. Too many factors determine which strategies are most effective to implement. The most important thing is that coastal communities are prepared to deal with this issue.