The role of government

In protecting our coastal heritage

From Federal to State to Municipal: The role of government in protecting our coastal heritage

Keeping History Above Water will gather experts from across the globe and many disciplines to discuss the impact of sea level rise on historic preservation. This will be a groundbreaking confluence of ideas and proposed solutions.

While much still remains unknown, we can be sure of one thing: no matter where the problems occur or what the solutions may be, governments will need to be major stakeholders. This is why we have drawn speakers and presenters from the ranks of federal, state, county, and municipal government to offer their insights and perspectives.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Park Service will be two of the federal government’s most important protectors of our cultural heritage from rising seas; both will be represented at Keeping History Above Water.

Amanda Ciampolillo, a Regional Environmental Officer, will join us from FEMA’s Region III, which is based in Philadelphia and encompasses most of the mid-Atlantic region.

The National Park Service will send six experts covering both regional and national focus areas: Amanda Babson, Coastal Climate Adaptation Coordinator for the Northeast Region; Jenifer Eggleston, Grants Management Specialist for NPS’ State, Tribal, and Local Plans & Grants program; Marilou Ehrler, Chief of Cultural Resources at Gateway National Recreation Area (NY/NJ); Marcy Rockman, the NPS Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator; Nigel Shaw, Northeast Region Global Information System Coordinator; and Jennifer Wellock, the Service’s Architectural Historian.

At the state level, we will be joined by Rhode Island’s own Lauren Carson, who represents Newport in the General Assembly. She will share a study issued by the RI House Commission on Economic Risks Due to Flooding and Sea Rise.

Mary Kate Ryan comes from the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, where she is the State Survey Coordinator. The Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office recognizes the need for proactive planning, and has created the Disaster Planning for Historic Properties Initiative; its Project Manager, Jeremy Ryan Young, will also speak at Keeping History Above Water. On the final day of the conference, Alex Westhoff, a Planner for the Marin County Community Development Agency in California, will lead attendees in an innovative and educational simulation called “The Game of Floods: Preservation Edition.”

Cities and towns must also undertake their own plans to protect their coastlines and historic built environments. Adrienne Burke and Lisa Craig are working at the leading edge of those efforts. Burke joins us from the northernmost city on Florida’s Atlantic coast, Fernandina Beach, where she works as the Community Development Director. Craig is the Chief of Historic Preservation for Maryland’s coastal capital city, Annapolis. Both will be part of our U.S case studies panels on April 11.

Additionally, Craig’s the sizable team from Annapolis will be offering a workshop on Wednesday, April 13 billed as “a hands-on, how-to exercise in community-based planning,” which is based on the experience of a team of local, state and national professionals who have used the FEMA model for cultural resource integration into hazard mitigation planning.

Together these speakers, along with others representing nonprofits, universities, architecture firms, historic preservation organizations, and many more, will help us make Keeping History Above Water a truly groundbreaking conversation.

Registration for Keeping History Above Water (April 10-13) closed March 20. You can purchase tickets in the reception area, beginning at noon on Sunday, April 10th, and each day of the conference, thereafter. Please join the Facebook Page for Keeping History Above Water, to express your interest. If you have any questions, please email