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Coastal U.S. Gets Failing Report Card on Extreme Weather Prep

November 16, 2017 Leave a comment DRI Admin

U.S. states and territories most impacted by extreme weather are still severely underprepared when it comes to protecting the nation’s beaches from coastal erosion, sea level rise, and other serious issues, according to a recent report.

About 40% of the country residing along coastlines, but beaches are disappearing at an alarming rate – coastal erosion causes about $500 million in damage to structures and property loss. The 2017 State of the Beach Report Card, which evaluates U.S. states and territories on their protective policies, rated 22 out of 30 states, as well as Puerto Rico, as performing at adequate to poor levels – with the lowest grades in areas most heavily hit by extreme weather events.

The eight states graded at an A or B level for beach protection (sediment management, coastal armoring, development, and sea level rise):

  • California – A
  • Washington – B
  • Maine – B
  • Massachusetts – B
  • New Hampshire – B
  • Maryland – B
  • New York – B
  • Hawaii – B

The report’s conclusion: there’s a critical need for improved coastal management practices to mitigate and reduce the impacts of erosion and sea level rise. The report offers some examples of effective policies and programs, including:

  • “Going it alone” – With some states lacking codified policies, some resourceful municipalities are taking matters into their own hands to protect their coastlines and joining with other local communities
  • Specific legislation – California’s Coastal Act, passed in 1976, is regarded as one of the strongest, most comprehensive environmental laws in the country, and
  • Federal involvement – consistent policies, financial support (particularly for NOAA’s Coastal Management Program), and protection of established policies are all essential.

Click here to read the complete report.