Who We Are
Jane McKee Smith

Jane McKee Smith

Emeritus Senior Scientist, US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory

Coastal Resilience and Sea Level Change


Coastal hazards are linked to climate change through sea level rise and extreme local sea levels that result in increased flooding, erosion, salinity intrusion, ecosystem loss/change, and impeded drainage. The direct impacts include loss of life and injury, damage to the built environment, loss of ecosystem services, and loss of land. Coastal engineering strategies to respond to sea level rise include to do nothing, build protective structures (e.g., sea walls and levees), accommodate flooding by raising infrastructure, advance the shoreline, or retreat from the coast. Hybrid coastal protection approaches that include natural and natured-based features (NNBF) provide both coastal engineering and ecosystem benefits. NNBF are landscape features that are developed to provide engineering functions relevant to flood risk management while producing additional economic, environmental, and social benefits. The concept is to intentionally align natural and engineering processes to deliver benefits efficiently and sustainably. Examples of coastal NNBF are dunes and beaches, vegetated features, reefs, barrier islands, and maritime forests. NNBF approaches to coastal protection are gaining attention, but design guidance and quantitative assessment of engineering performance are lacking. Challenges to implementation of NNBF include development of guidance for designing and maintaining features, quantifying the performance of hybrid structures, uncertainty quantification, and understanding the long-term evolution of NNBF in a changing climate. This presentation will discuss rigorous risk-based coastal system hazard assessment, mainstreaming use of NNBF, building adaptive capacity into designs, and collaborating across disciplines and stakeholders to achieve coastal resilience.


Smith is an Emeritus Senior Research Scientist at the US Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory in Vicksburg, MS. She earned a PhD from University of Delaware in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Coastal Engineering. Her research focus is on coastal hydrodynamics, including nearshore waves and currents, shallow-water wave processes, and storm surge. Her projects include theoretical and numerical studies as well laboratory and field experimentation. Smith is an Adjunct Professor at Mississippi State University, and she has served on Masters and PhD Committees at the University of Florida, Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University, and Texas A&M University and serves on editorial boards for Coastal Engineering and Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal and Ocean Engineering. Smith is a Professional Engineer and Coastal Engineering Diplomate (Academy of Coastal, Ocean, Port and Navigation Engineers). Smith is a Distinguished Member of American Society of Civil Engineers and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. She has 200 professional publications.