Sea Level Rise: Article on Impacts of Shore Protection and the Issues At Stake in “Stop the Beach Renourishment v. FDEP”

A recent study by 12 authors from governmental, academic and non-governmental organizations highlights what may be at stake in cases such as Stop the Beach Renourishment v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection  (being argued before the US Supreme Court on Wednesday, Dec. 2) and Severance v. Patterson

In addition to the article reporting the study, the researchers have complied planning maps and statewide summaries.

Here is the abstract for the article (“State and local governments plan for development of most land vulnerable to rising sea level along the US Atlantic coast,” Environ. Res. Lett. 4 (2009) ):

“Rising sea level threatens existing coastal wetlands. Overall ecosystems could often survive by migrating inland, if adjacent lands remained vacant. On the basis of 131 state and local land use plans, we estimate that almost 60% of the land below 1 m along the US Atlantic coast is expected to be developed and thus unavailable for the inland migration of wetlands. Less than 10% of the land below 1 m has been set aside for conservation. Environmental regulators routinely grant permits for shore protection structures (which block wetland migration) on the basis of a federal finding that these structures have no cumulative environmental impact. Our results suggest that shore protection does have a cumulative impact. If sea level rise is taken into account, wetland policies that previously seemed to comply with federal law probably violate the Clean Water Act.”

Thanks to Jim Titus for passing along this information, as well as the following list of relevant press coverage of the issues:

Editorials

http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/story/166622.html

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/story/1032197.html

News

Pennsylvania

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/health_science/daily/20091028_Wave_of_protection_or_peril_.html

Delaware

http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20091105/NEWS08/911050348

Maryland

http://www.delmarvanow.com/article/20091029/NEWS01/910290358/-1/newsfront2/Worcester-s-soggy-fate

http://www.baltimoresun.com/features/green/bal-md.gr.sealevel28oct28,0,2629786.story

Washington, DC

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/27/AR2009102703915.html

North Carolina

http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/story/166622.html

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local_state/story/161334.html

South Carolina

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2009/nov/14/study-expect-fortifications-in-future-against/

Georgia

http://savannahnow.com/news/2009-11-09/seas-rise-planning-starts

Florida

http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2009-10-27/story/rising_seas_could_soak_taxpayers_study_says

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/southflorida/story/1303473.html

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