EPA Climate Ready Estuaries - Synthesis of Adaptation Options for Coastal Areas

This 2009 report by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides an overview of climate change impacts on coastal areas and presents adaptation options relevant to various estuarine management goals, including: maintaining/restoring wetlands, maintaining sediment transport, preserving coastal land and development (including infrastructure, maintaining shorelines (hard and soft measures), managing invasive species, preserving habitat for vulnerable species, maintaining water quality, and maintaining water availability. In support of these goals, several policy options are discussed, including rolling easements, land acquisition programs, integrating sea-level rise into coastal planning, beach nourishment, new land use regulations, and modifying "hard" shoreline protection structures. A table of adaptation options, with benefits and case studies, is presented for each of the goals.

For example, Management Goal D describes maintaining coastlines using soft measures. Soft measures are described as non-structural solutions that can be used to maintain the integrity of coasts in the face of sea level rise. "Soft" measures aim to develop living shorelines through beach nourishment, planting dune grasses, marsh creation, and planting submerged aquatic vegetation. In a chart format, these adaptation policy options are listed with management goals, costs and benefits, and an existing locality of that policy's implementation.

Publication Date: January 2009

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  • Best practice
  • Policy analysis/recommendations


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