Many coastal states performing poorly to protect beaches, coastlines

The most vulnerable regions fare the worst in new study.

December 07, 2017 |

Out of 30 coastal states and U.S. territories, 22 are performing at adequate to poor levels according to the Surfrider Foundation’s 2017 State of the Beach Report Card.

The report suggests that the majority of coastal states need to make improvements and need support at the federal level for the Coastal Zone Management Act and more federal agency funding to protect coastlines. Coastal erosion causes about $500 million in coastal property loss annually in the U.S., including damage to structures and loss of land.

The federal government spends an average of $150 million annually on beach replenishment and other shoreline erosion control measures. With sea levels projected to increase up to six feet by 2100, the problem is likely to worsen.

Eight higher-scoring states had strong policies regarding coastal building setbacks, prohibitions against coastal armoring and rebuilding in coastal hazard areas, and incorporation of projected sea level rise along with adaptation measures into planning documents. Most of the states that experience extreme weather events, however, lack solid coastal preservation and sea level rise policies.

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