Report finds that nearly 70% of coastal states must advance shoreline management and improve responses to rising sea levels.
SAN CLEMENTE, Calif., Jan. 30, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the Surfrider Foundation released its seventh annual State of the Beach Report, which grades 30 states and the territory of Puerto Rico on comprehensive laws and policies to protect our nation’s beaches from coastal erosion, sea level rise, and poorly planned development.
Data shows that nearly 70% of coastal states are doing a poor job of managing their coastlines and planning for climate change impacts. This is particularly concerning as climate change impacts are being felt more intensely along our nation’s coastal communities. Of the 31 states and territories assessed, 21 earned a grade of C or less and are doing an ‘adequate to poor’ job. These states tend to have less stringent policies regarding development in hazardous coastal zones, ineffective/nonexistent prohibitions on coastal armoring, poor sediment management, and lack sea level rise policies.
«Given the increase in extreme weather events and climate change impacts, progressive laws and policies must be passed and effectively implemented at the local, state, and federal levels to safeguard our precious coastlines and communities,» said the Surfrider Foundation’s Senior Manager of the Coast and Climate Initiative, Stefanie Sekich. «Our report finds that states who score poorly often lack effective implementation of existing laws and policies. Over the years, there has been a trend of states passing strong climate change impact laws, but never actually implementing the laws and policies on the books. That is precisely why we publish this report every year — to ensure states are not only passing important legislation to protect our coastlines, especially in light of climate change, but are also properly implementing laws.»
In contrast, the highest-scoring states had strong policies and enforcement regarding coastal building setbacks, restrictions on coastal armoring, limiting development/redevelopment in harm’s way, and are advancing progressive sea level rise policies that encourage local governments to incorporate climate adaptation measures into their land use plans.
The State of the Beach Report doesn’t just assess risk — it also provides a pathway for improved climate resilience. Over the past year, Surfrider advocated that funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) go specifically toward coastal restoration and climate-resilience planning. In a significant victory for our ocean and coasts, Surfrider helped to secure an unprecedented $6 billion in funding for coastal resilience.
Surfrider published a guide to help better educate the public about these BIL and IRA funds, which enables tribes, states, and cities to identify and use these funds to update municipal land use planning and advance nature-based solutions to make our coastal communities more climate resilient.
About the Surfrider Foundation
The Surfrider Foundation is a nonprofit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s ocean, waves, and beaches for all people through a powerful activist network. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over one million supporters, activists, and members, with more than 200 volunteer-led chapters and student clubs in the U.S., and more than 800 victories protecting our coasts. Learn more at surfrider.org.
SOURCE Surfrider Foundation