State of the Beach

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A Surfrider Foundation Archived Resource

The Surfrider Foundation State of the Beach report was our continually-updated assessment of the health of our nation’s beaches. It was intended to empower concerned citizens and coastal managers by giving them the information needed to take action. For over ten years we collected information on beach access, surf zone water quality, beach erosion, erosion response, beach fill, shoreline structures, beach ecology and surfing areas to get an understanding of the condition of our nation’s beaches. While this resource provides substantial information on the various indicators for each state, the State of the Beach Report is no longer being continually updated. Instead, we are releasing annual reports on specific indicators.

The 1-10 grading scheme on this website provides useful insights, but we upgraded this methodology for now annual report cards, to be even more robust. For the coastal preservation-oriented indicators please see our annually-released State of the Beach Report Cards (2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020). The State of the Beach Report Card builds off information collected in Beachapedia's State of the Beach website, but takes a deeper dive into four specific indicators related to erosion, which include coastal armoring (shoreline structures), sea level rise, beach fill, and coastal development. The grading scale is a more holistic attempt to quantify those four indicators into one overall grade indicating the state's ability to appropriately protect their beaches. This is different from the grading scale used for each indicator on the State of the Beach website.

Click on the links below or along the top border for historical state reports and more information about our previous beach health indicators.

Featured Indicator: Erosion Response

Surfers' Point Managed Retreat Plan

Erosion response is a measure of how well coastal management decision makers work to limit the extent of shoreline armoring and unsustainable coastal development, and encourage alternatives to armoring. For example, are new development projects set back from the coast far enough to avoid coastal erosion problems? Are setback standards based on the latest erosion rates? When existing development is damaged during a storm is reconstruction prohibited or are there incentives provided for relocation? Are there statewide policies to implement relocation (“managed retreat”) or policies that consider relocation a viable option? Are states employing regional policies that take into account cumulative effects of non-natural shoreline alterations? An evaluation of these factors for each state serves to bring attention to the states that are taking a proactive role in minimizing beach destruction and protecting beach health for future generations.

One of our summer interns in 2007, John Bain, wrote his Master's thesis at Duke University on An Assessment of the Effectiveness and Usage of the Surfrider Foundation Annual State of the Beach Report