Department or Program

Environmental Studies


The impending threat of sea level rise (SLR) to coastal communities around the world is increasing every day. Impacting both humans and our ecosystems, climate change and global warming are wreaking potentially irreversible havoc on many communities that live near the ocean. An in-depth analysis of the risk posed to these communities is vital in planning for, adapting to, and mitigating the impacts of SLR. The first step in this assessment is examining both the critical infrastructure of an area, including buildings, roads, emergency services and aquifers, as well as the regional ecosystem services threatened by SLR, such as erosion protection from dunes and carbon sequestration from wetlands. One community suffering directly from the threat of SLR is Phippsburg, Maine, a coastal town home to around 2,000 people. This thesis is the beginning of a comprehensive and integrated risk analysis that will aid the town of Phippsburg in planning for their future. I conducted a variety of geospatial analyses in ArcGIS to determine which areas are most vulnerable to inundation based on the impending SLR in Phippsburg and the associated storm surge projections. The results suggest that coastal homes, roads, and bridges are in the most danger, and I make a variety of future planning recommendations for Phippsburg to appropriately adapt to the changing planet. The town of Phippsburg is in moderate to severe inundation danger as the century progresses, and the town’s comprehensive plan, as well as the citizens of Phippsburg, will benefit greatly from further data collection and analysis.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

First Advisor

Francis Eanes

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Community Engagement



Available to Bates community via local IP address or Bates login.