State of the Beach/Bad and Rad

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The Bad and The Rad

The Surfrider Foundation State of the Beach 'The Bad and The Rad' are:

  • a collection of startling facts representative of threats to our nation's beaches and
  • programs that are working to protect our shores.

The Bad

  1. In March 2017 the Trump administration proposed severe cuts to NOAA's research funding and satellite programs. The proposed cuts would also eliminate funding for a variety of other programs, including external research, coastal management, estuary reserves and “coastal resilience,” which seeks to bolster the ability of coastal areas to withstand major storms and rising seas.
  2. In March 2017 the Trump administration proposed severe cuts to the EPA budget, including withdrawing the Clean Water Rule and eliminating funding for the BEACH Act which supports beach water quality monitoring programs in all coastal states.
  3. In March 2017 the Trump administration proposed a 97% cut in funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
  4. In March 2017 the Trump administration proposed reducing funding for the Puget Sound cleanup program by 93%.
  5. The town of Topsail Beach, North Carolina formerly had a dune ordinance which prohibited protective dunes from being materially altered. Protective dunes reinforce frontal dunes immediately landward of the beach. Under the ordinance, oceanfront property owners were not allowed to remove more than 1 cubic yard of sand from protective dunes per month. Under pressure from beachfront property owners, the town Commissioners in December 2016 voted 4-1 to repeal the ordinance. More.
  6. Michigan is the only state in the U.S. without a uniform statewide code regulating septic tanks. More on this.
  7. In July 2016 the Dare County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution that calls for terminal groins and jetties along the entire North Carolina coastline.
  8. Florida's efforts to plan for and adapt to the effects of climate change took a giant step backwards under the administration of Governor Rick Scott. Reportedly, Governor Scott put out an unwritten rule ordering that no one at the Department of Environmental Protection even use the phrases global warming or climate change in any of their communications. More on this.
  9. A study published in 2015 indicated that 2,842 km of continental US shoreline – approximately 14% of the total US coastline – has been armored.
  10. On the island of Oahu in Hawaii, a wealthy South Korean businessman who bought two Kahala beachfront properties was required to tear out an illegal seawall that was encroaching on the public beach. But the city of Honolulu then gave Lee Kun-hee, the billionaire chairman of South Korea’s Samsung Group, permission to erect a new wall just mauka of the state’s certified shoreline, which scientists say will exacerbate beach erosion. More on this.
  11. A wastewater treatment plant on Peirce Island in Portsmouth is one of only 16 sewer plants nationwide that still operate under a "301(h) waiver" from the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act that stipulate all sewage to be treated by both primary and secondary levels of treatment. The Peirce Island plant discharges 4.8 million gallons of wastewater into the Piscataqua River each day, using only primary treatment (gravity separation of solids from liquid). In December 2014 the N.H. Department of Environmental Services and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released their 2012 Hydrographic Dye Study for the Peirce Island facility. The study injected dye into the facility’s Piscataqua River discharge and then tracked the dye over three days to determine where shellfish harvest safety zones must be established to protect the public from consuming tainted oysters and clams, in the event of a disinfectant failure at Peirce Island. The results of the study show a far-ranging reach of Pierce Island’s pollution — both in the form of bacteria and viruses. Regarding the latter, the Peirce Island facility’s outdated level of treatment results in extremely high levels of viruses which can end up in shellfish.
  12. In October 2014 it was disclosed that a seawall had been illegally installed at the Wild Dunes condominium complex in South Carolina and hidden under the sandbags that have been present there (also illegally) for several years. DHEC has fined Wild Dunes $750,000 for this violation.
  13. A King County, Washington study of the shoreline of Water Resources Inventory Area 9 (WRIA 9) — an area that stretches from Federal Way to Seattle and includes the Green-Duwamish Watershed and Vashon and Maury islands — found that since 2005, the area has had 1,500 feet of shoreline armoring removed. However, the 92 miles of shoreline in WRIA 9 — about half of which is on the island of Vashon — had more shoreline than that armored and saw a net loss of 70 feet of natural shoreline. Most of the new armoring consisted of installation of bulkheads on private property — as well as retaining walls, docks and stairs, much of it unpermitted. More on this.
  14. A beach fill project at Folly Beach, South Carolina in 2014 experienced major problems. For more on that, see Chris Dixon's article on The Post and Courier.
  15. In December 2013 U.S. EPA and NOAA issued a proposed determination that the State of Oregon had failed to submit an approvable Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program as required by Section 6217(a) of the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments of 1990 (CZARA), 16U.S.C. 1455b. NOAA and EPA arrived at this proposed decision because the federal agencies found that the State has not fully satisfied all conditions placed on the State’s Coastal Nonpoint Program. Specifically, the federal agencies maintained that Oregon had not fully satisfied several conditions related to new development, onsite sewage disposal systems (OSDS), and additional management measures for forestry.
  16. Every year, the City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii passes on an opportunity to get more than a quarter of a million dollars in federal funding to promote sustainable coastal development. The funds, which the other three counties in Hawaii receive, is mostly used to hire staff to implement the Coastal Zone Management Act. Honolulu county was receiving about $280,000 a year from the program until 2007, when Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting concluded that increased federal oversight and stricter reporting requirements were too onerous.
  17. When major rains overwhelmed Florida's Lake Okeechobee during summer 2013, the Army Corps of Engineers released billions of gallons of polluted water into surrounding estuaries rather than risk a breach of the fragile dike. The deluge of water carried contaminates from area farms and septic tanks, and skewed the salinity at waterways like the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon, reports the New York Times. The disruption caused a burst of dangerous algae to grow causing a perfect storm of environmental dangers. Indian River Lagoon specifically was called a "killing zone" and a "mass murder mystery" after the sudden death of 46 dolphins, 111 manatees, 300 pelicans, and 47,000 acres of sea grass beds. Read more.
  18. North Carolina's Coastal Resources Commission (CRC) was decimated in 2013 when the commission was trimmed from 15 to 13 members and all but four of its existing members were fired under a provision in that year’s budget bill. The dormancy of the CRC is a growing concern for those who care about the coast, especially given the commission’s agenda before the legislative actions. A major update of the commission’s work on sea-level rise, new rules on bulkheads and development of criteria for inlet management plans are all slated for review by the commission in the coming year.
  19. Washington’s Department of Health closed some shellfish beds in South Puget Sound in late July 2013 for the first time because of elevated levels of diarrhetic shellfish toxin. The biotoxin, which can cause diarrhea and vomiting, appears to be spreading in Puget Sound. It made three people sick after eating mussels harvested in Sequim Bay in 2011. That was the first time anyone had been officially diagnosed with diarrhetic shellfish poisoning in the United States.
  20. A bill passed by the Florida state legislature in December 2012 that would have mandated septic evaluations for 19 counties and three cities in the state outlined an option somewhat odd for legislation seeking a policy change: the option not to comply. "House Bill 1263 changes the law related to when to have your septic system evaluated," according to a Florida Department of Health release. "The law gives local governments the choice on whether or not to adopt an evaluation program for their area." And as of January 2013, all 19 counties and three cities that were required to take action on septic tank inspections under the bill, passed by the 2012 Legislature, voted to opt out of that requirement, according to the DOH.
  21. All ocean coastal states and territories except Hawaii, California, U.S. Virgin Islands and Florida protect less than one percent of their state marine waters as no-take reserves. 15 ocean coastal states do not have any no-take reserves. SeaStates 2013 report.
  22. Recommendation 1 of the February 2013 report Recommendations for improved beachfront management in South Carolina reads: "Replace language regarding the policy of retreat with the following: The policy of the state of South Carolina is the preservation of its coastal beachfront and beach/dune system." Although this may not sound bad, it represents significant backsliding from the policies of the Beachfront Management Act in 1988.
  23. In April 2013 came word that the famous Ruggles surf spot in Newport was threatened by a proposed project to re-armor and repair the city’s popular 3.5-mile Cliff Walk. A public notice filed on March 5th by Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Management Council outlines the “proposed emergency repairs,” which consist of “restoration of damage to the Cliff Walk resulting from the impact of Post Tropical Storm Sandy.” The proposed project begins at The Breakers at Ruggles Avenue and continues to Bailey’s Beach at Bellevue Avenue and includes slope protection measures; repairs to structural walls and drainage; walkway and safety improvements; and installation of new decorative railings and landscaping. Most concerning for surfers, however, is the CRMC’s desire to install permanent armor stone fill below the mean high water elevation at three different spots along the Cliff Walk. Due to significant public outcry, the plans were changed and the threat to Ruggles has evidently been been averted.
  24. 2012 Public Act 297 Amending Part 353, Sand Dunes Protection & Management weakened rules protecting critical sand dunes in Michigan by potentially allowing permits for structures lakeward of a dune crest and issuing permits for driveways on steep slopes.
  25. In February 2013 the Alaska Legislature moved towards rolling back pollution standards voted into law by the 2006 cruise-ship initiative, allowing cruise vessels to dump ammonia, copper and other contaminants into Alaska waters. In a related note, the Environmental Protection Agency levied a $20,000 fine on Princess Cruises for releasing wastewater into Glacier Bay.
  26. In April 2011, North Carolina State Representative and real estate broker Pat McElraft and others filed House Bill 819 with the North Carolina legislature. Although initially concerned only with beachfront construction setback laws, the bill morphed into a direct attack against the Coastal Resources Commission's Science Panel on Coastal Hazards recommendations to the CRC. By mid-2012, the bill stipulated that only “historic rates of sea-level rise may be extrapolated to estimate future rates of rise but shall not include scenarios of accelerated rates of sea-level rise unless such rates are from statistically significant, peer-reviewed data and are consistent with historic trends.” In other words, the realistic nonlinear sea-level projections provided by the latest scientific understanding of climate change would not be used for policymaking purposes and instead would be replaced with a simple linear projection (roughly equaling a rise of 20 centimeters by 2100). This draft language was widely ridiculed by several commentators 1, 2. The final version of House Bill 819, which became law in August 2012, doesn’t make sea-level rise illegal, nor does it limit sea-level rise to linear projections based on only historical data. Instead, the ratified version of the bill completely ignores the suggestions of the Science Panel altogether, showing that little to nothing in the report was actually considered. The new law requires no consideration of sea-level rise in any planning, and merely asks the Science Panel to prepare a new sea-level rise report and present it to the legislature by 2015. Furthermore, it essentially mandates which conclusions about sea-level rise must be included in the revised report, specifically requiring a “summary of peer-reviewed scientific literature that address[es] the full range of global, regional and North Carolina-specific sea-level change data and hypotheses, including sea-level fall, no movement in sea level, deceleration of sea-level rise, and acceleration of sea-level rise.”
  27. In Michigan, a bill repealing state restrictions on beach grooming, which moved through the House and Senate in May-June 2012, would allow home owners to mow vegetation on their lake front property in an area below the normal high water mark. More info.
  28. In Maine, the work of former Gov. John Baldacci’s administration to develop specific ways for the state to help cities and towns cope with climate change has been halted, and results of the initial work removed from the state’s website by the administration of Gov. Paul LePage. “We made a conscious decision that [climate change] would take a back seat,” said Darryl Brown, LePage’s first Department of Environmental Protection commissioner, in an interview in spring 2011. The agency, its staff reduced by attrition, halted work on the climate change report in early 2011.
  29. A beach dredge-and-fill project at Isla Blanca County Park in Texas conducted in March 2011 resulted in about 2/10ths of a mile of beach filled with clay balls and clay heavy silt and mud. See the photos.
  30. An agreement to continue the Alaska Coastal Zone Management Program could not be reached during a Special Session in 2011 as the measure failed by one vote in the House before adjournment. As a result, the program terminated June 30, 2011, and the state lost the ability to have local input to the Federal government in important decisions on coastal development projects. This very unfortunate development was solidified when a second special session in late June failed to reach an agreement on continuing the program.
  31. The City of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware is planning to construct an ocean outfall pipe for discharge of treated sewage about one mile offshore from the city. More info. UPDATE: In January 2015 Rehoboth Beach Mayor Sam Cooper announced that the city's controversial ocean outfall project had been approved. A completion date of June 1, 2018, has been set. Cooper said a long-delayed approval of the city's environmental impact statement, sitting for about two years on the desk of the secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, has now been approved.
  32. Many of New York's sewage and wastewater facilities are past their design lives; 30 percent of the sewer pipes across the state were installed just after World War II and a quarter of wastewater treatment plants are more than 30 years old. The Department of Environmental Conservation estimates that repairs for municipal wastewater treatment systems statewide will be $36.2 billion over the next 20 years. Two wastewater treatment facilities in Nassau County, the Cedar Creek Water Pollution Control Plant in Wantagh and the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant have experienced significant problems due to delayed maintenance and needed upgrades.
  33. Due to lack of funding and staff reductions, Hawaii only tested 25 percent of its 460 beaches in 2011. By comparison, Massachusetts tested 94 percent of its 630 beaches, California tested about 70 percent of its 700 beaches and Florida tested about half of its 630 beaches.
  34. The City of Gloucester, Massachusetts receives a waiver each year allowing them to discharge partially treated sewage into the ocean.
  35. 29% of beachwater samples in Louisiana exceeded national standards in 2011, giving Louisiana the dubious distinction of having the highest percentage of failing samples of all the coastal states.
  36. In July 2011 Florida's Department of Health announced that they would be making significant changes to their beach monitoring program due to the loss of about $500,000 in state funding due to budget cuts. The Department of Health will submit a new monitoring plan to the federal Environmental Protection Agency that will include no monitoring in the northern half of the state from Nov. 1 through Feb. 28. In the rest of the year, workers will test water at the beaches only twice a month, instead of weekly. Officials also have proposed cutting back on the number of sites being tested. Gulf Islands National Seashore in Okaloosa County would no longer be tested by state officials because it is federal land. In Bay County, officials would no longer test the west county line and the east county line. Seawater testing in Flagler County would be scrapped in the wintertime along with two of 15 Volusia County testing sites year-round, according to preliminary plans. Plans are for testing at the North Jetty and South Jetty in Ponce Inlet to be stopped.
  37. In late June 2011 a bill allowing up to four "terminal groins" to be built along the North Carolina coast was approved. This represents a serious backsliding from the state's long-held policy of not allowing hardened structures along the ocean shoreline. In February 2012 it was announced that four beach towns (Ocean Isle Beach, Holden Beach, Bald Head Island and Figure Eight Island) had begun the steps necessary to receive a permit to construct a terminal groin, a process that includes – among other things – preparing an environmental impact statement proving that other methods of erosion prevention aren't feasible as long-term solutions. North Topsail Beach considered a terminal groin but then decided against it.
  38. The Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve in Washington houses a robust ecosystem and one of the largest herring spawning grounds in Puget Sound. Currently, DNR is going through the final steps to incorporate a management plan for this area in order to implement stewardship. Unbelievably, this is where SSA Marine wants to put in a new terminal that Peabody Energy could utilize to export 24 million tons of coal per year. This project would fill in 141 acres of wetlands and impact 11 threatened and endangered species.
  39. NOAA's evaluation of the Mississippi Coastal Management Program noted: "...many public access facilities along the coast of Mississippi were destroyed or severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina. New development patterns including the emergence of casinos and condominiums on the coast have restricted public access. In addition, although many locals know where public access points are located, visitors don’t always know the location of the nearest public access points."
  40. Saying it would bring unnecessary regulation to eastern North Carolina, the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously in February 2011 to oppose a policy proposed by the state Division of Coastal Management intended to guard coastal communities against future sea-level rise. This was followed in July 2012 by the Republican-led state General Assembly passing a law requiring that projected rates of sea level rise be calculated on historical trends and not include accelerated rates of increase predicted by a panel of scientists that advises North Carolina's Coastal Resources Commission.
  41. In February 2011 New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie conditionally vetoed a bill that would have required the state to adopt stricter pollution standards in two years to protect the Barnegat Bay. Christie said adopting the bill’s standard to measure pollution — a system called Total Maximum Daily Loads — was unrealistic in such a short time. But the bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman John McKeon, said the governor’s version is watered down and offers little promise for restoring the bay.
  42. In early January 2011, following an extended period of heavy rain, waters accumulating at a reservoir above Oahu, Hawaii's only municipal landfill poured into a "cell" of waste, causing it to overflow and send a torrent of debris-laden storm water down a concrete spillway and into waters just off the Ko Olina Resort. Medical waste, including syringes and vials that appeared to contain blood, were among the debris that washed ashore along beaches at Ko Olina's four lagoons and other western shores, including the area around Kalaeloa Harbor. More info.
  43. On January 31, 2011 CBS reported that over the preceding three years, the Gary Sanitary District had discharged at least 6.8 billion gallons of raw and partially treated sewage to the Grand Calumet River, the Little Calumet River, and then into Lake Michigan.
  44. In response to the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, there was a panicky and ill-conceived effort to protect Dauphin Island off the coast of Alabama. Large quantities of sand were excavated from a series of pits on the Mississippi Sound side of the island to build a berm along the Gulf side, a move designed to keep oil from washing up over the beach in case of a storm. The berm was never needed. 22 pits were dug into the Sound side of the island to excavate the necessary sand. These pits quickly became ponds of standing water. The ponds are steadily eroding and growing to the point where some are now (April 2012) open to the sea, and subject to further erosion by waves and tide. More info and photos.
  45. The Texas Open Beaches Act, which protects public beach access in Texas received quite a blow in November 2010 with the issuance of a conservative and pro-private property rights judgment from the Texas Supreme Court. A detailed analysis and links to the opinion and dissent can be found here. A Houston Chronicle article on this decision can be found here. As a direct result of this ruling, Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson canceled a scheduled $40 million beach fill project in Galveston because state law prohibits the spending of public money to benefit private property. Another opinion piece from a Surfrider member in Texas. The Texas Open Beaches Act was dealt a further blow in March 2012 when the Texas Supreme Court essentially reaffirmed their earlier ruling. Read what one of our Texas activists had to say about this. Read more Surfrider perspective.
  46. Twenty-six sewage spills leaked more than 8 million gallons into San Diego County, California waterways from Dec. 21 through Dec. 28, 2010, according to numbers released by the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board. The spills were linked to the late-December storms that deluged the region, causing mudslides, traffic accidents and sewage-system upsets. Oceanside had the biggest problem — 5.5 million gallons of wastewater that fouled Buena Vista Creek, Buena Vista Lagoon and the nearby ocean. Similar-sized spills in the same area occurred in April 2007 and in 1994.
  47. In June 2010 a 72-inch sewer line in Miami, Florida at Northwest 18th Avenue and 157th Street ruptured, spewing sewage for more than 12 hours. About 20 million gallons of sewage flowed into the Biscayne Canal before crews were able to shut off the valve and reroute the flow. There were several complaints that there was inadequate public notification of the spill and the need to stay out of Bay areas from Oleta River State Park to Bal Harbour and Haulover Park.
  48. In May 2009 the giant Upper Rouge Tunnel combined sewer overflow control project was canceled by Detroit, Michigan officials worried about residents' ability to pay increased sewer fees to build the $1.2 billion project.
  49. In late September 2008 Governor Schwarzenegger effectively terminated California's landmark AB 411 beach water quality monitoring program by using his line-item veto power to cut all state funding for the program. Since then, the state has been able to continue the monitoring program by utilizing state bond funding and other one-time-only sources, but no sustainable funding source has yet been identified to carry the program beyond 2011.
  50. As of October 2007, 11 communities in Maine and at least one in Massachusetts still had a "301 (h) waiver" allowing them to discharge primary treated wastewater into rivers or the ocean. The federal Clean Water Act (written in 1972) required all wastewater treatment facilities to upgrade to secondary treatment by the late 1980s.
  51. Counting payments for the reconstruction of homes and infrastructure, and adjusting for inflation, the total of Federal funds spent since 1978 on Dauphin Island, Alabama approaches $200 million – for an island with a resident population of 1,300 people. The Dauphin Islanders want even more help than that – as much as $60 million for a “beach nourishment” project in which sand would be dredged from seven miles offshore and pumped onto their beaches.
  52. On January 24, 2008, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Lisa Jackson rescinded an Administrative Order that she issued on January 2, 2007 that protected streams by mandating a 300-foot buffer. The DEP reversal makes it much easier for developers to reduce the buffer to 150 feet, requiring just a local government "equivalence" finding.
  53. Despite existing regulations, coastal development projects in Puerto Rico do not always include a public access component. Additionally, some development projects that retain actual physical access to the coast incorporate perceived barriers to access, such as gates or guards. The relative ease with which developers are able to ignore public access requirements points to the need for improved enforcement.
  54. Lake Erie surpasses all the other Great Lakes in the amount of effluent received from sewage treatment plants.
  55. Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia proposed in late 2007 to eliminate $400,000 of monitoring and assessment projects conducted by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Geological Survey and Old Dominion University for Chesapeake Bay. The cuts contrast with increases in funding in Maryland, where legislators authorized $50 million to clean up pollution in the bay.
  56. Marine life appears to be disappearing rapidly in Washington's Puget Sound. Populations of seabirds, fish (pacific cod, whiting, walleye pollock, salmon), crabs, eelgrass, and tidepool life (sea anemones, sea urchins, sea stars) have plummeted in the last few years. Puget Sound herring contain higher levels of contamination that those in Europe's highly polluted Black Sea. "Dead zones" and extensive fish kills are common in Hood Canal.
  57. Approximately 85% of the land bordering Lake Erie in Ohio is developed and held in private ownership and only 13% of the Lake Erie shoreline is open to public access.
  58. Approximately 441,448 acres of North Carolina’s coastal waters are closed to the harvest of shellfish due to high bacteria levels or adjacent potential pollution sources. Approximately 43,188 additional acres are classified as Conditionally Approved and are temporarily closed after periods of heavy rainfall. The percentage of Hewlett’s Creek closed to shellfishing has increased from 54 percent in 1988 to 100 percent today. Pages Creek showed a similar increase, rising from 66 percent to 89 percent closed.
  59. More than 27 billion gallons of combined sewer overflows from 460 sewers around New York City impact the city's waterways every year. The estimated combined sewer overflow volume for 2006 was 35 billion gallons.
  60. Alabama’s coastal construction rules were written so long ago that much of the land they were designed to protect disappeared underwater years ago due to chronic erosion. And, the way the rules were written, officials now have little if any authority over construction on the existing shoreline.
  61. In 2005, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers pumped $156 million of sand onto Florida beaches to replace what was washed away by rising sea levels and more intense storms, 20 percent more than the accumulated spending of the seven previous years combined. In nearly the same period, the federal EPA spent less than $300,000 to map how sea-level rise will affect coastal communities in Florida.
  62. Holly Beach, Louisiana has 91 breakwaters and Grande Isle has 36 breakwaters.
  63. Inflexibility by the Wisconsin Department of Commerce Plumbing Program made it very difficult for the Milwaukee Urban Ecology Center to implement a sensible program to use collected rainwater in toilets and will likely discourage others from installing similar systems.
  64. North Carolina's hog farms dump 13 million pounds of hog waste a day into open-air lagoons that are later sprayed on fields as fertilizer.
  65. About 32 percent of the nation's 3,771 monitored beaches reported advisories or beach closings in 2006. There were more than 25,000 closing and advisory days at ocean, bay and Great Lakes beaches during the year. EPA report and NRDC Report
  66. Major sewer spills occurred on Oahu in early 2006. A sewer spill in Honolulu due to a line break released an estimated 48 million gallons of raw sewage into the Ala Wai Canal and closed beaches in Waikiki.
  67. Long Island Sound has few public access points for the 20 million people living within 50 miles of it. The Regional Plan Association estimates that only 20 percent of the shoreline is accessible to the public.
  68. Wastewater treatment plants in Bay City and Saginaw, Michigan dumped more than 333 million gallons of sewage into the Saginaw River in March 2006. Perhaps because of the season, no health advisories were issued by the Bay County Health Department.
  69. In June 2006 the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) entered into an agreement to plead guilty to an indictment charging 15 felony counts of violating the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) through the illegal discharge of pollutants from nine sanitary wastewater treatment plants and five drinking water treatment plants. PRASA will pay $10 million in criminal and civil fines—the largest fine ever paid by a utility for violating the CWA. In addition, a comprehensive civil settlement was reached between PRASA and the USA resolving repeated environmental violations at 61 wastewater treatment plants throughout the Commonwealth. PRASA will spend $1.7 billion for capital improvement projects and other remedial measures at all of its 61 wastewater treatment plants and related collection systems over the next 15 years.
  70. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) gave the bay a "D" in their annual report released in November 2005, citing a large oxygen-deprived "dead zone", high levels of nutrients, poor water clarity, and stressed oyster and shad populations. The 2006 and 2007 reports also gave the Bay "D" grades, with "health indexes" of 29 and 28, respectively, as compared to CBF's goal of 40 by 2010.
  71. Today, six of the seven species of marine turtle - hawksbill, Olive ridley, Kemp's ridley, leatherback, loggerhead, and green - are classified as listed as Endangered or Threatened under the Endangered Species Act and fall under the jurisdiction of the NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  72. In fiscal years 2001/2002, 2002/2003, and 2003/2004, the California Coastal Commission suffered a loss of $3,669,000 in general funds and 33.7 staff positions. Starting from a general fund allocation of $12,107,000 in fiscal year 2000/2001, this translates into losing 30% of the Commission’s general fund budget in just three years. The Governor also vetoed the State legislature’s proposal to add 5 new staff positions (3 limited-term) to address the backlog of access and conservation offers-to-dedicate, many of which are near expiration, and 3 new staff positions for the Energy program in the 2005-06 budget, worsening the Commission’s already serious staffing problems. These losses have very negatively impacted the Commission’s ability to meet its goals and mandates. Only 11 enforcement officers investigate violations along the 1,100-mile coastline, and they haven't had an officer north of San Francisco since 2001. Due to the continuing (2008 to present) budget crisis, substantial staff cuts have been proposed.
  73. Dutch researchers have used the fulmars to monitor litter in the North Sea, analyzing the stomach contents of hundreds of birds over two decades. In the early 1980s, 92 percent of the fulmars had ingested plastic; on average, 12 pieces. By the late 1990s, 98 percent of bird stomachs contained plastic, an average 31 pieces.
  74. Studies in Southern California have indicated little correlation between the "indicator bacteria" used in beach testing to the pathogens (viruses and protozoa) that actually cause illnesses.
  75. For more than 75 years, shipping companies that haul iron ore, coal, salt and limestone have dumped their cargo sweepings -- residual materials and wash water left on freighters after they are unloaded -- into the Great Lakes. Despite federal laws and an international treaty that prohibits the practice, U.S. and Canadian freighters empty about 2 million pounds of cargo sweepings into the lakes each year.
  76. Australian researchers have found that sea levels rose by 19.5cm between 1870 and 2004, with accelerated rates in the final 50 years of that period. Over the entire period from 1870 the average rate of rise was 1.44mm per year. Over the 20th Century it averaged 1.7mm per year; while the figure for the period since 1950 is 1.75mm per year. Although climate models predict that sea level rise should have accelerated, the scientists behind this study say they are the first to verify the trend using historical data.
  77. About 23 percent of the nation's estuaries do not meet state and federal clean water standards for swimming, fishing or supporting marine species.
  78. In California, more than 500 dams impound rivers and streams, affecting 38 percent of the coastal watershed (some 16,000 square miles). The dams reduce the average annual sand and gravel flow by 2.8 million cubic meters, or 25 percent of normal. The cumulative sediment loss in California from all human activities is estimated at 1.4 billion cubic meters. The cost to mitigate that loss by beach "nourishment" is estimated at $16.4 billion.
  79. More than 20,000 acres of coastal wetlands and estuaries disappear every year.[1]
  80. Every eight months, nearly 11 million gallons of oil run off our streets and driveways into our waters—the equivalent of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.[2]
  81. More than 60% of our coastal rivers and bays are moderately to severely degraded by nutrient runoff. This runoff can create harmful algal blooms and leads to loss of kelp beds, seagrass and coral reefs.[3]
  82. Coastal areas host over 50% of the total U.S. population within only 17% of the nation’s land area. Between 1994 and 2015, coastal population is projected to increase by 28 million people.[4]
  83. New York City and New York State recently backtracked on a 1992 legal agreement to improve the sewer system to ensure water quality standards are achieved. The city now plans only limited improvements and to request that the standards themselves be relaxed.
  84. The states of Maryland and Virginia are on a pace to armor some 4,000 miles of tidal shoreline in the next century.
  85. Every day, 37 ocean outfalls in California discharge over 1.5 billion gallons of sewage containing about 120 million tons of mass solids (sewage sludge).
  86. Massive harmful algal blooms, also commonly referred to as "red tides" appeared in 2005 in the Northeast (Maine to Massachusetts) and in the Southeast (Gulf Coast of Florida). Shellfish beds were closed in the Northeast and dead seabirds, fish and marine mammals were reported in Florida.
  87. As much as 80% of the erosion on Florida's East Coast is attributable to the navigation improvements and historical sediment management practices at inlets, which have disrupted the natural flow of sand, virtually starving downdrift beaches.
  88. "Administrative Erosion" is lessening beach access in Hawaii by allowing private property lines to be placed too close to the ocean.[5]
  89. Over half (52%) of Californians believe the quality of the ocean along the state’s shoreline has deteriorated in the past two decades, and 45% say ocean conditions are likely to worsen over the next 20 years.[6]
  90. In Florida, there is increasing evidence that the practice of wastewater disposal by deep well injection may be affecting inland and coastal surface waters. Additional water quality concerns are discharges from cruise ships, harmful algal blooms, and antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.[7]
  91. Although Galveston, Texas has finally belatedly submitted a required Beach Access Plan, there are still many Open Beaches Act violations in Galveston, causing some people to think the beaches are private.[8]
  92. On Oahu in Hawaii, almost 25% of the sandy shoreline has either significantly narrowed or been lost since the 1940s.[9]
  93. Jupiter Island, Florida, reportedly the nation's wealthiest town, asked taxpayers around the country (via the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA) to pay for 90% of the sand removed from their beaches by recent hurricanes. Jupiter Island officials submitted a request to FEMA for a $9.1 million project to bring in 1.1 million cubic yards of sand.
  94. New York City has an antiquated law that prohibits ocean recreation at NYC beaches from Labor Day to Memorial Day.[10]
  95. Neither Duval nor St. Johns Counties in Florida have any formal plan to deal with beach access in the wake of unprecedented growth. Access in Ponte Vedra is made very difficult by lack of parking near access points.[11]
  96. The US EPA has granted several 301(h) waivers to sewage treatment plants in Puerto Rico, allowing discharge to the ocean of partially-treated sewage.[12]
  97. The "preferred alternative" to deal with erosion problems in Westport, Washington consists of the placement of 40,000 tons of 12-inch minus gravel and cobble material along approximately 1,000 linear feet of beach in the southwest corner of Half Moon Bay.[13]
  98. There were 4,644 beach closing/advisory days during 2006 in California. Water testing has detected human adenoviruses, fecal coliform, and other disease-causing bacteria, pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals.[14]
  99. In California, shoreline armoring increased from about 26 miles to 110 miles from 1971 to 1992, a 400 percent increase in beach destroying seawalls. Two strong El Nino winters have occurred since 1990, undoubtedly adding to this total. In addition, approximately 950 miles of California's 1,120 miles of coastline are actively eroding.[15]
  100. Despite a presidential policy of "no net loss" of wetlands, Florida has lost 84,000 acres of wetlands in the past 15 years.
  101. Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine and Virginia are the only ocean coastal states covered by Surfrider’s report that do not own the intertidal zone. This fact tends to restrict public beach access in these states.[16]
  102. Many Texas beaches are eroding at rates of 5 to 10 feet per year--one of the highest coastal erosion rates in the country. Up to 600 feet of additional erosion is possible in the next 25 years.[17]
  103. Sewage treatment or septic systems are installed in fewer than half the homes of Puerto Rico's 4 million residents.[18]
  104. Most dry beach areas of Maine’s 4,500-mile coastline are privately owned.[19]
  105. The amount of shoreline armoring in Maine is estimated to be about 50%. In 1995, 1999 and again in 2004, Maine weakened its retreat policies by allowing seawalls and other shoreline stabilization to be fortified, and by making it easier to rebuild in ocean flood areas after storms.[20]
  106. On average there is only one public access site for every 10 miles of shoreline in Maine.[21]
  107. None of the counties participating in the Beach Watch Program in Texas issue closures and the state does not have the authority to do so.[22]

The Rad

  1. "This collection of reports, databases, and data layers offers a birds-eye view of sandy beach and tidal inlet habitats within the U.S. Atlantic Coast breeding range of the endangered piping plover based on imagery from Google Earth, Google Maps, state agencies, municipalities, and private organizations. By comparing the location, status, and condition of potential plover breeding grounds from Maine to North Carolina during three distinct time periods -- before Hurricane Sandy, immediately after the storm, and three years after post-storm recovery efforts -- these inventories provide a habitat baseline that can help resource managers plan for future change." - excerpt from Beach and Tidal Habitat Inventories from North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative.
  2. The Florida Marine Debris Reduction Guidance Plan is a compilation of recommended strategies and actions toward reducing the impacts and amount of marine debris in Florida. It is the result of multiple years of collaboration between stakeholders including federal and state agencies, local governments, non-governmental organizations, universities, and industry. Moving into the future, the Plan will act as a guide to measure progress toward addressing the marine debris problem in Florida.
  3. Washington’s Coastal Management Program and Washington Sea Grant took initiative through a NOAA CRest Grant to develop the Coastal Hazards Resilience Network (Network). The Washington Coastal Program and Washington Sea Grant have worked in partnership since 2013, developing the Network to focus on Washington’s critical need for multi-hazard planning, preparedness, response, and recovery.
  4. Owned and managed by Lake Metroparks, the Lake Erie Bluffs provides approximately 600 acres of lakefront property that permanently protects valuable coastal wetlands, meadow and 9,000 feet of undeveloped Lake Erie shoreline. The beach area hosts trees, shrubs and small plants including the majority of the preserve’s rare plants while the wetlands area is home to dozens more rare plant and animal species documented by biologists from Lake Metroparks and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. The project entailed a partnership among federal, state, and local agencies to acquire and preserve natural beach and coastal wetlands habitat in Lake County, Ohio approximately 30 miles east of Cleveland.
  5. For summer 2017, swimmers at all Chicago beaches will be able to find out more quickly if the lake water is safe for swimming. The Chicago Park District, which oversees the city's beaches, plans to expand real-time water testing for bacteria to all city beaches, thanks to a $500,000 contract with the University of Illinois at Chicago that was approved by the Park District board. Previously, the district monitored levels of E. coli bacteria in the water near most beaches using a test that took 24 to 48 hours to produce results. For the 2017 summer, the Park District will send water samples from all 27 city beaches — up from nine in 2016 — to a UIC lab for a real-time test for enterococcus. The newer method reveals results in two to three hours. Faster results mean the public can be notified more quickly. The Park District alerts people if the water quality or weather conditions are dangerous — and whether swimming is permitted — on its beach website, through a beach hotline, 312-742-3224, and via color-coded flags at beaches.
  6. In November 2016 an article in the Seattle Times reported that the state Department of Ecology had proposed a No Discharge Zone in Puget Sound. The new rule would require any vessel with a permanent toilet aboard to store waste until it could be pumped out ashore, instead of dumping it overboard. In addition to the San Juan Islands, and portions of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the no-discharge zone would include all marine waters in and around Seattle, as well as the fresh waters of Lake Washington, Union Bay, Montlake Cut, Portage Bay, Lake Union, Fremont Cut and the Lake Washington Ship Canal.
  7. Ahead of the Tide is an independent movement that launched a 10-part video series in February 2016 highlighting the effects of sea level rise and climate change through the stories and voices of local Floridians. Each short video (5 to 7 minutes) showcases various aspects concerning sea level rise and includes interviews with scientists, engineers, politicians, conservation directors, educators, authors and activists.
  8. In July 2015 the California Coastal Commission unveiled a beach access website and app YourCoast.
  9. In mid-2015 North Carolina's DENR announced the availability of an interactive public beach and waterfront access map that can be accessed directly from your mobile device. Developed by division staff, the new mobile version of the agency’s popular online access site map provides information for more than 400 access sites along the North Carolina coast. The interactive map includes the location of each site, a site photo, number of parking spots and any applicable parking fees, restroom and shower facilities, and other amenities. To view the new mobile beach access map, visit
  10. In 2014, the Legislature and Governor gave the California Coastal Commission the authority to fine property owners who intentionally block public access to the coast. That authority was included in the 2015-2016 state budget. More.
  11. In June 2015 Michigan's Office of the Great Lakes released a draft report Sustaining Michigan's Water Heritage. The report includes dozens of recommendations for protecting and improving the state's water health paired with timelines and performance measurements. The recommendations include reducing phosphorus in the western Lake Erie basin by 40 percent, reaffirming the state's role in enforcing the Clean Water Act, creating public access points every 5 miles on the Great Lakes, expanding real-time beach monitoring, and passing uniform statewide sanitary code and inspection requirements.
  12. In May 2015 Stanford Law School, Environment and Natural Resources Law & Policy Program released 2015 California Coastal Armoring Report: Managing Coastal Armoring and Climate Change Adaptation in the 21st Century. The report's findings address how coastal decision-makers might better analyze, prevent, and mitigate shoreline armoring impacts and eliminate institutional incentives that have led to intense coastal development and maladaptive responses to coastal changes.
  13. In 2015 the South Carolina Dept. of Health and Environmental Control, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, released a new public beach access web and mobile application. The app can be accessed on your desktop, smart phone, or tablet. Users are able to easily search over 600 public beach access locations along the coast, including specific amenities. The amenities highlighted include parking, restrooms, showers, seasonal lifeguards, handicap access/parking, public transit, and beach parks. Every site listed has been field-verified by DHEC staff and data within the application will be updated on a regular basis.
  14. In January 2015 New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Department of State (DOS) released for public comment a draft comprehensive ten-year New York Ocean Action Plan (OAP) which seeks to promote the restoration, conservation, resiliency and sustainable use of the state’s ocean ecosystem. More info.
  15. The website Re-Think the Coast was created by Surfrider Foundation to educate and inform the public and our government about the importance of strategic thinking and planning when it comes to rebuilding the Jersey Shore, the New York City/Long Island coastline, and other coastal areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
  16. In December 2014 the South Carolina Supreme Court voted 3-2 against granting a permit for a seawall and revetment on Sam's Spit - the wildlife-rich, 150-acre spit that is a prized piece of disappearing natural coast. The vote reversed and remanded an earlier Supreme Court decision that allowed the walls, and is the third divided vote by the court on the issue. "As recognized by the General Assembly, there is often great value in allowing nature to take its course, rather than having our coast become an armored, artificial landscape," said Justice Kaye Hearn.
  17. New Jersey's Blue Acres program aims to buy and raze 1,300 properties, replacing pockets of suburbia with open public spaces in some of the state’s most flood-vulnerable regions.
  18. New Hampshire's Environmental Dashboard evaluates trends in New Hampshire's environment to try to answer the questions "What's the state of New Hampshire's environment? Is it good? Is it bad? Getting better or worse?" As a way to answer these questions, a table provides a snapshot of trends for some key environmental issues important to the quality of life in New Hampshire. The "indicators" chosen have specific scientific data tracked over a period of time, which helps to show a trend in that topic area.
  19. On Oct. 15, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency joined state and local dignitaries formally launching the Southeast New England Coastal Watershed Restoration Program, which serves as a framework to promote a broad ecosystem approach to protect and restore the coastal watersheds of Southeast New England (coastal areas from Westerly, R.I., to Chatham, Mass., including all waters of Rhode Island, southern Cape Cod, Narragansett Bay, and Buzzards Bay). The program, consisting of government and non-government organizations, is currently working collaboratively and innovatively to maintain and improve water quality and habitat conditions within these coastal watersheds. In collaboration with a diverse array of stakeholders, the program will focus on developing and promoting innovations in restoration and protection practices, development of new, more efficient technologies, and application of new policies to these new approaches. A critical element of this program will be to prepare for climate change impacts and highlight the need to build resilience into all decision-making. More info.
  20. The report The State of Surfing in Delaware was an attempt by the Delaware Chapter of Surfrider Foundation to objectively quantify the changes in surfing opportunities in Delaware.
  21. In June 2014 Northeast Ocean Data announced the release of easy-to-use interactive maps of water quality data for the northeastern states from New York to Maine. Based on data provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the maps display No Discharge Zones, impaired waters, and wastewater discharges. Also shown on the maps are boundaries of watersheds and subwatersheds in the region. To view the water quality maps, go here.
  22. An practical example of adaptation to sea level rise through managed retreat, removal of structures and paving, and replacement with "green infrastructure" is occurring at five streets that end at the bay along the Warwick coastline in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. The street ends are being pulled back with the removal of asphalt and its replacement with a combination of rock-lined swales, earthen berms and plantings. What is happening in Warwick is part of similar projects in other coastal communities funded by a $1 million 2009 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grant. CRMC director Grover Fugate has described the road end projects as models for what can be adapted on a larger scale to meet the effects of sea level rise. Read more.
  23. On June 27, 2014 Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced the approval of Massachusetts’s statewide No Discharge Area (NDA) designation. With this approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), commercial and recreational vessels are now prohibited from releasing sewage anywhere along the Massachusetts coast. NDAs protect water quality and aquatic life from pathogens, nutrients, and chemical products contained in discharged sewage—even boat waste that has been treated—and also reduce the risk of human illness, making it safer to swim, boat, fish, and eat shellfish from protected waters. NDAs can also help reduce the growth of harmful algae that occurs due to high nutrient levels in sewage discharge and protect shellfishing areas. This designation caps years of extensive work by CZM and coastal communities and their partners to develop NDA applications and ensure the necessary waste pumpout facilities are available for boaters to use. See the Governor Patrick press release; see the CZM No Discharge Areas website for information on the Massachusetts requirements; and see Pumpout Facilities for Boat Sewage Disposal in Coastal Massachusetts for pumpout locations.
  24. Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie signed the Hawaii Climate Adaptation Initiative Act in June 2014 to guide state efforts to adapt to climate change up to 2050. The Act will establish a climate council, active from 1 January 2015, to coordinate climate action across different departments within the state government. It means that Hawaii will have to create plans on how it will adapt to climate change in both the long- and short-term.
  25. In June 2014 New Hampshire launched its Coastal Atlas, which is a new tool to show information on shellfish bed closures, beach advisories, and coastal public access in an easy-to-use format.
  26. California's Sea Grant Extension Program has developed an Explore Sandy Beach Ecosystems of Southern California website which is a great resource that allows you to: "...learn about plants that build dunes, fish that run onto land, and crabs that move incredible distances migrating with the tide. Discover the dynamic process of sand movement and the impacts of beach grooming, coastal armoring, and nourishment on beaches and beach ecosystems. Understand challenges and success stories related to climate change impacts on beaches. Lastly, consider what you can do by reading the best practices information for beach goers, managers and city/county planners."
  27. Navigating Change - Hawai‘i’s Approach to Adaptation, Report for the First Meeting of State, Local and Tribal Leaders, Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience was released on December 10, 2013.
  28. Water quality researchers in California and elsewhere collaborated to produce a comprehensive source investigation manual The California Microbial Source Identification Manual - A Tiered Approach to Identifying Fecal Pollution Sources to Beaches in December 2013. This document provides guidance for cost-effectively identifying sources of fecal contamination within a watershed. The manual is based on a hypothesis-driven and tiered approach, in which the user implements the least expensive options first and more expensive tools only when sufficient uncertainty warrants their use. The guidance manual utilizes current molecular technologies to help identify human and animal sources of fecal indicator bacteria.
  29. The South Carolina Beachfront Jurisdiction web application was developed to enable efficient access to key information by coastal stakeholders and decision-makers. Users of the application can quickly navigate to specific beaches or properties, view state jurisdictional line locations and adopted long-term erosion rates. Technical users of the site may also download beachfront survey information packets, which contain jurisdictional line coordinates, adopted long-term erosion rates and survey monument locations.
  30. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announced in January 2014 that his administration was addressing critical infrastructure throughout the state by doubling the investment in clean water projects through the Illinois Clean Water Initiative (ICWI). Further, he earmarked $2 billion for projects such as replacing ancient water mains, upgrading sewers and building wastewater treatment plants statewide.
  31. In a decision that strongly reaffirms beaches as a public trust resource, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled in January 2014 that the state must consider historical evidence when determining the shoreline. The opinion also reiterates the high court's 2006 ruling that vegetation may not be planted to manipulate the shoreline, which becomes the starting line for a building setback. More on this.
  32. In December 2013, Massachusetts CZM launched the StormSmart Properties website with fact sheets for coastal property owners on shoreline stabilization options that effectively reduce erosion and storm damage while minimizing impacts to shoreline systems. The six techniques covered in this first round of fact sheets are: artificial dunes and dune nourishment, controlling overland runoff to reduce coastal erosion, planting vegetation to reduce erosion and storm damage, bioengineering - coir rolls on coastal banks, bioengineering - natural fiber blankets on coastal banks, and sand fencing. In 2014, CZM will add additional fact sheets on topics such as repair/reconstruction of revetments, seawalls, and groins; beach nourishment; elevating and relocating buildings; sand-filled envelopes; salt marsh creation and restoration on coastal beaches; and design standards for new revetments, seawalls, and groins.
  33. The State of Louisiana adopted and has begun to implement the 2012 Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast, a 50-year, $50 billion plan that lays out a bold, ambitious, and essential vision for the region’s future. Funding for implementation of the plan is enhanced by the bipartisan RESTORE Act, which directs a sizable share of BP oil spill penalties to Gulf restoration. To supplement, refine and help focus these efforts, Changing Course is a design competition to reimagine a more sustainable Lower Mississippi River Delta, bringing teams together from around the world to create innovative visions for one of America’s greatest natural resources. Changing Course will contribute additional innovation, competition, and private sector engagement in time to inform Louisiana’s next coastal Master Plan in 2017. The competition will allow for a fresh look at the lower Mississippi River.
  34. In 2013, for the second straight year, loggerhead sea turtles nested and hatched in record numbers along North Carolina’s ocean beaches, including unusually high numbers at Bald Head Island and Oak Island. Loggerheads laid 1,247 nests along the North Carolina coast in 2013, compared to about 1,100 in 2012.
  35. The Nature Conservancy raised $25.9 million over a period of three years for projects in Georgia including the protection of more than 23,000 acres around the Altamaha and the Georgia coast and the installation of living shorelines on Sapelo and Little St. Simons islands. The latter project looked at new ways to shield Georgia’s coast from storms and erosion while boosting a dwindling oyster population. Collaborating with state and federal government agencies as well as local volunteers, the project evaluated the use of bagged oyster shells and native plants rather than concrete and other hardened structures to protect shorelines. More info.
  36. The Alaska ShoreZone Coastal Inventory and Mapping Project, a unique partnership between government agencies, NGOs, and private industry, has been flying helicopters along the entire Alaska shoreline each summer since 2001, collecting high-resolution imagery and detailed classifications of the coast's geologic features and intertidal biological communities. ShoreZone has surveyed Alaskan coasts at extreme low tide, collecting aerial imagery and environmental data for roughly 80% of Alaska's coastal habitats and continues to move towards full coverage each year. This is a great accomplishment, but ShoreZone, with help from NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service, has done an equally impressive job at making their entire inventory accessible to the public. For the Office of Response and Restoration, ShoreZone is an invaluable tool that serves alongside NOAA's Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) maps and data as a baseline for the coastal habitats of Alaska and is currently being used for environmental planning, preparedness, and Natural Resource Damage Assessment planning in Alaska.
  37. In September 2013 the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) announced the launch of the California Coastal Geoportal. The new Coastal Geoportal provides state agency staff and the public with a user-friendly website for finding high priority coastal and marine datasets, such as aerial photos, marine protected areas, and coastal habitats, with links to the data sources. Users can view the data on a map using the Coastal Viewer, share maps, and overlay multiple data layers to see what is happening on our shoreline and out in our ocean. The Coastal Geoportal also includes a list of tools and resources where one can discover other related data holdings and tools, including the NOAA Sea Level Rise Viewer and California’s ocean observing data. This increased access to datasets will improve the use of scientific information in coastal and ocean resource management decision making.
  38. NOAA’s Digital Coast Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer provides online access to several scenarios of future high tides, uncertainty maps, and information on marsh migration, social vulnerability, and flood frequency. These visualization tools can be used to improve understanding of potential impacts from sea level rise and assist planning efforts in coastal communities.
  39. NOAA’s Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP) features over seven billion pixels—laid end to end that represents more than 250 trips from the earth to the moon and back. C-CAP produces a nationally standardized database of land cover and land change information for the coastal regions of the U.S. C-CAP products provide inventories of coastal intertidal areas, wetlands, and adjacent uplands with the goal of monitoring these habitats by updating the land cover maps every five years.
  40. In Washington, King County's website has a map which shows the current status of combined sewer overflows - discharging, discharged in the last 48 hours, or not discharging.
  41. The Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS) has developed a sewage plume tracking model that uses data from Tijuana River flows and ocean currents to predict where the Tijuana River plume may be impacting the coast. The output from this model is updated hourly.
  42. In Massachusetts, the Inventories of Seawalls and Other Coastal Structures website within StormSmart Coasts provides inventories of both Publically Owned Coastal Structures and Privately Owned Coastal Structures. The Massachusetts Coastal Infrastructure Inventory and Assessment Project reports include condition ratings and estimated repair or reconstruction costs for publically owned coastal structures. In 2013 Applied Science Associates, Inc. prepared a technical report that documents the location and type of coastal structures, such as seawalls and revetments, not included in previous phases of the Massachusetts Coastal Infrastructure Inventory and Assessment Project. These structures are presumed to be privately owned and provide a comprehensive assessment of shoreline armoring coast-wide.
  43. Hawaii protects 22.94% of its state marine waters as no-take reserves; California 8.74%, U.S. Virgin Islands 5.69% and Florida 1.12%. SeaStates 2013 report.
  44. Rhode Island is beginning work on a Beach Special Area Management Plan (SAMP) which will provide coastal communities with practical guidance for adapting to short-term and long-term shoreline change. Here is an 18-minute presentation on the project.
  45. In early 2013 the Minnesota Stormwater Manual went digital in a user-friendly wiki-format website.
  46. In February 2013 New York's Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed to spend as much as $400 million to purchase homes wrecked by Hurricane Sandy, have them demolished and then preserve the flood-prone land permanently, as undeveloped coastline.
  47. In January 2013, following years of data collection, stakeholder engagement, and public process, the State of Oregon adopted an amended Territorial Sea Plan, which accommodates for the new use of renewable energy development within Oregon’s nearshore waters. More info.
  48. Good news for sea turtles in Florida finally emerged in 2012 when leatherbacks, loggerheads and greens emerged from the Atlantic to deposit their eggs on Florida shores, often in record numbers. Overall, the 2012 nesting season was the second-highest statewide since scientists began counting nests in 1989. Surveys on 250 miles of selected Florida beaches — called index beaches — found more than 58,000 loggerhead nests, for example, just below the high of 59,918 in 1998.
  49. On July 9th, 2012, Hawai’i Governor Neil Abercrombie signed Senate Bill 2745 into law, making Hawai’i one of few states in the nation to adopt a statewide climate adaptation policy for dealing with the impacts of climate change. The bill integrates climate change adaptation priority guidelines into the current statewide planning system. Hawaii Office of Planning has created a nice Adapting to Climate Change Web page that summarizes the latest state developments in climate change adaptation.
  50. In May 2012 the Committee on Shoreline Management in South Carolina agreed that the state should allow groins only on the ends of beaches and near inlets that need to remain open for boat traffic. The committee's recommendation will go to the Department of Health and Environmental Control board and the Legislature later in 2012. If legislators approve it, it would effectively stop installation of groins in the surf perpendicular to the shoreline.
  51. The Carl Vinson Institute of Government, Georgia Sea Grant, and the Coastal Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources have teamed up to develop a plan for the city of Tybee Island, Georgia to address rising sea levels. The two-year grant-funded project will prioritize and address the barrier island’s vulnerabilities in order to protect resources and counteract increased flooding — both permanent and as a result of storm surges. Potential solutions include sea walls, elevated infrastructure, beach re-nourishment, property buy-outs and new zoning ordinances that restrict development.
  52. Puerto Rico's Coastal Zone Management Program website provides good information on beach access. The beach access link leads to an inventory of swimming beaches, a Beach Access Guide and a series of links to very nice color brochures for 10 beaches.
  53. A huge amount of water quality information can be found on Wisconsin's WDNR Water Topics website.
  54. Ohio has excellent beach access information, including the Ohio DNR Lake Erie Public Access Guide.
  55. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a federal regulation for stronger water quality protection in California waters by banning all sewage discharges from large cruise ships and other large ocean-going vessels off California's 1,100 mile-long coast. This No Discharge Zone ("NDZ") went into effect in March 2012 and also protects waters surrounding major islands off the California coast. More info.
  56. The Virginia Beach City Council voted in March 2012 to buy most of a 122-acre swath of waterfront property known as Pleasure House Point. The $13 million deal effectively preserves the last major piece of undeveloped land on the Lynnhaven River. The purchase is funded in part through conservation grants, donations and a low-interest loan from the state. Read more.
  57. The first phase of Florida's online Beach Access Guide was launched in February 2012. This phase includes data for the panhandle region, encompassing 13 Gulf Coast counties spanning from Escambia to Citrus. The Online Beach Access Guide now includes public beach access points in coastal counties throughout the state. The guide also provides directions, a list of amenities at each access point and a list of state parks, paddling trails, points of interest and a county overview. Information about Florida’s Atlantic Coast and Southwest Florida was added to the website in May 2012.
  58. A great new resource is a Coastal Access in Hawai'i website created by University of Hawai'i Sea Grant that attempts to address the longstanding need to provide accurate information on coastal access laws and policies in Hawai'i. UH Sea Grant is working on populating this website with maps that show the actual access points.
  59. In South Carolina, the Blue Ribbon Committee on Shoreline Development voted 6-5 in January 2012 to expand building restrictions farther inland along parts of the S.C. oceanfront, a move that would effectively ban new seawalls in some areas where they are now allowed. The group’s recommendation also would make it harder to replace beach houses with more intense development, such as high-rise hotels, in some areas. Tightening the rules would affect 264 additional developed lots along the state’s immediate shore. That would increase to 43 percent the number of developed lots on South Carolina beaches affected by the restrictions. It also would apply to undeveloped lots.
  60. The City of South Padre Island, Texas has a new Beach Access Guide and a brochure on Beach Maintenance Procedures that appropriately recognizes the ecological and erosion protection functions of natural beaches.
  61. It was announced in January 2012 that Washington would receive several federal grants earmarked for wetland conservation. Of the nine wetland projects approved in Washington state, four are in the West Sound region of Kitsap, Mason and Jefferson counties. Read more.
  62. In October 2011 an article in the NY Times New Tactics and Billions to Manage City Sewage stated that the Bloomberg administration in New York City was set to commit $2.4 billion in public and private money over a 20-year period to introduce infrastructure to retain storm water before it reaches the sewer system and overloads it. The approach reflects a shift from traditional sewage-control methods to techniques like green roofs with plantings, porous pavement for parking lots and depressions for collecting water in parks.
  63. A Post-Katrina Inventory and Assessment of Public Access Sites: Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson Counties, Mississippi (Revised September 2011) was prepared for the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Coastal Zone Management Program, by Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District as Phases I and II of a three-year study of public access resources in the three coastal counties of Mississippi. The Mississippi Coastal Public Access Site Map is a companion document that offers a visual depiction of the location of these sites, photographs of the sites, available amenities, and a brief summary of the condition of the site when it was last visited.
  64. In June 2011 the Environmental Quality Commission adopted what may be the strictest standards for toxic water pollution in the United States. News release.
  65. In 2011, The Maine Supreme Judicial Court found that scuba diving should be included in the common law right of the public to walk across another person’s intertidal land. The court decided that it is irrelevant whether the activity fell under one of the traditional categories of “fishing,” “fowling,” or “navigation.” Instead, the court balanced the reasonable interests of private ownership of the intertidal lands and the public’s use of those lands. While the decision was narrow, the court opened the door for possible further expansion of the public trust doctrine in Maine. See article on this in the publication The SandBar.
  66. In March 2011 the City of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina published a detailed 91-page Beach Access Inventory consisting of a series of aerial photographs of beach access locations.
  67. In March 2011 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency named Hermosa Beach's Strand Infiltration Project in California as the winner of the 2010 Performance and Innovation in the State Revolving Fund Creating Environmental Success (PISCES) Award. Previously, the project received an award from the American Public Works Association. Also see presentation on this project.
  68. In early 2011 the American Littoral Society was awarded a $1 million grant by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to help solve water pollution problems damaging Barnegat Bay. The grant will support the society’s efforts to clean up polluted storm water runoff, one of the major sources of water quality problems affecting the Bay. The society will work with the Ocean County Department of Planning, the Ocean County Soil Conservation District and the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve to reconstruct identified malfunctioning basins with innovative techniques to remove nutrients, sediments and pathogens.
  69. The Florida Coastal Management Program (FCMP) has completed the Florida Assessment of Coastal Trends (FACT) 2010 report with the help of its coastal partners. An important part of planning for the future of these resources is maintaining a clear perspective on how they are changing. FACT 2010 tracks the most recent changes in 65 indicators in order to help illustrate how resources have responded to policies and activities implemented by coastal resource managers. One of the primary goals of the FACT is to provide decision makers across the state with another tool to help them effectively plan for the future of Florida's coastal zone.
  70. Maine Sea Grant has developed an Accessing the Maine Coast website. This site is an information resource for coastal property owners, beach and waterfront users, public and environmental interest groups, and municipal, state, and federal governments. The site offers legal tools to address the specific coastal access questions and needs of these stakeholder groups.
  71. In July 2010 it was reported that state and federal scientists were embarking on a new project to construct the most detailed map of the California coast ever assembled. The $3.3 million effort ($2.75 million funding came from California's Ocean Protection Council) will begin with researchers in an airplane flying back and forth along the coast shooting thousands of laser pulses (Light Detection and Ranging or "LIDAR") per second at the rocks, beaches and cliffs along the 1,100-mile shoreline from Mexico to Oregon, generating ultra-detailed 3-D images of the contours of the land in huge computer files. The mapping work, supervised by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will start in August 2010 and is expected to conclude by December 2010, with the images posted to the Internet by summer 2011. Also see California Coastal LiDAR Project Report.
  72. Accessing the Mississippi Coast, from Auburn University Marine Extension & Research Center, provides extensive information regarding coastal access for private waterfront landowners, government and public entities, and waterfront users. Also included are frequently-asked questions, a coastal access toolkit and common law and statutes.
  73. Proposition 9, supported by 77% of the voters in November 2009, elevates the level of protection of the right to beach access to the Texas Constitution.
  74. A new resource unveiled in 2009 is, a website that allows you to see the line that defines the public beach along the Bolivar Peninsula, on Galveston Island, and in Brazoria County, find the closest access point to your local beach, and Know your rights regarding beach access in Texas.
  75. In October 2009 officials announced a plan to borrow $135 million to fund water infrastructure projects across Rhode Island, the bulk of which – $92.15 million – will be used by the Narragansett Bay Commission and 10 municipalities to replace old and failing sewage systems.
  76. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded nearly $72 million to Puerto Rico through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This infusion of money will help the commonwealth and local governments finance overdue improvements to wastewater and drinking water systems and conduct water quality planning.
  77. Massachusetts CZM’s new Coastal Landscaping website shows how landscaping with native plants can help coastal property owners prevent storm damage and erosion, provide wildlife habitat, and reduce coastal water pollution—all while improving a property’s visual appeal and natural character. The Website presents: detailed information on the benefits of these landscaping techniques; step-by-step instructions on landscaping a bank, beach, or dune; tips for planting, installation, and maintenance; plant lists and photos; sample landscape plans; information on permitting; suggestions on where to purchase native plants; and links to additional information.
  78. A long-running issue regarding the use of septic tanks near Surfrider Beach and Malibu Creek in Malibu, California was resolved in November 2009 when the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board ordered a phase-out of septic systems in portions of the city. This decision was affirmed by the State Water Resources Control Board in November 2010.
  79. The updated Texas Beach Watch website provides easy access to beach water quality information through both a list of monitored beaches and a clickable, zoom-in map.
  80. U.S. Public Law 111-5 includes over $7 billion for drinking water and wastewater projects. The EPA clean water and drinking water state revolving fund (SRF) programs will receive $6 billion, including $4 billion for the clean water SRF. In addition, the Federal FY 2010 budget included $3.9 billion for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, and $475 million for a new Environmental Protection Agency-led, interagency Great Lakes restoration initiative.
  81. The Ohio Coastal Atlas Project was awarded a 2008 National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP) Environmental Education Award for Education Excellence.
  82. In 2008, two key pieces of sea level rise adaptation policy were adopted in Maryland, including the Living Shorelines Protection Act to address shore erosion issues, and the strengthening of provisions in the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Critical Area Protection Program Act, which among other things amended jurisdictional boundaries due to sea level rise and increased a vegetated buffer requirement from 100 to 200 feet for new development.
  83. Effective July 1, 2008 under New Hampshire's Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act Standards, a state shoreland permit is required for construction, excavation or filling activities not included in the exemptions detailed in the law, within 250 feet of the reference line. For coastal waters the reference line is the highest observable tide line.
  84. In 2008 more than 450 people participated in Delaware’s annual beach grass planting event and planted about 95,000 stems of grass along three miles of coastline between Fenwick Island State Park and Lewes Beach. This is an annual event.
  85. In February 2008 the Massachusetts House passed H4527, the Ocean Act. The House bill modified legislation passed in September 2007 by the Massachusetts Senate. This is a landmark achievement in a four year campaign to pass the nation's first state Ocean Act. Passage of this law was a top recommendation of a 2004 report by the Massachusetts Ocean Management Task Force. More info.
  86. Under new rules adopted by North Carolina's Environmental Management Commission in January 2008, developers in 20 coastal counties will have to create wider vegetative buffers along waterways, expanding them from the current 30 feet to 50 feet for new projects. Developments that alter more than a quarter acre of land, up from the current one-acre threshold, will have to use cisterns or permeable pavement or other devices to keep stormwater from washing off the land.
  87. A tool to help prevent and mitigate coastal hazards, Maryland's Coastal Atlas helps property owners, municipal officials, educators, and marine contractors understand shoreline management processes, assistance opportunities and practices appropriate for maintaining the rich cultural and natural resources associated with Maryland's coastal and shoreline areas.
  88. In December 2007, Kaua‘i County Council passed a science-based shoreline setback ordinance that mandates a 40-foot minimum setback plus 70 times the annual coastal erosion rate as recommended in the Hawai‘i Coastal Hazard Mitigation Guidebook. Previously, the county required a 40-foot setback with an option for land owners to appeal up to 20 feet.
  89. In 2007 the North Carolina General Assembly appropriated $20 million for waterfront access projects in an effort to reduce the loss of public access to coastal waterways due to private development.
  90. An encouraging development regarding shoreline armoring in Washington occurred in 2007 when rip rap was removed from the shore at Belfair State Park in the Lower Hood Canal area. This was part of a $2 million estuary restoration project designed to improve both the habitat and the public's ability to enjoy the park. The project included removal of a tidal swimming pool and creation of a sandy beach in its place. A rocky wall was removed to create a walking beach, Little Mission Creek bridge was relocated and a small culvert was replaced to enhance fish passage. Now, kayakers and wind surfers can launch from the beach, which was impossible when rip rap lined the shore.
  91. The Virginia Resources Authority and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality were recognized in late 2007 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for excellent work in the area of water quality protection with a Performance and Innovation in the SRF (Clean Water States Revolving Fund) Creating Environmental Success, or PISCES, award. The award was granted for Virginia's creation of a fund that will provide $250 million per year over five years aimed specifically at improving water quality in Virginia's portion of the Bay watershed. Recognition was also given to Virginia's efforts to provide low-interest loans to farmers so that they can implement best-management practices on their farms that will directly impact water quality.
  92. Hawaii Sea Grant prepared Natural Hazard Considerations for Purchasing Coastal Real Estate in Hawai'i (May 2006).
  93. Georgia's Green Growth Guidelines help local governments, developers, engineers and land planners, landscape architects and natural resource managers compare the environmental, social and economic benefits of using sustainable development strategies with conventional development approaches.
  94. Pennsylvania's Bluff Recession and Setback Act (BRSA) was passed in 1980 and requires that new residential, commercial, and industrial structures be constructed outside of designated bluff recession hazard areas. Eight municipalities along the Lake Erie coast have designated bluff recession hazard areas and have enacted new or amended existing ordinances to incorporate the setback requirements.
  95. Maryland’s Comprehensive Coastal Inventory Program has mapped shoreline features, including shoreline structures, coastal access, natural features, bank height and condition characterization. There is now a full statewide inventory of the shoreline structures.
  96. The Oregon Coastal Management Program partnered with Oregon Sea Grant to create Living on the Edge, Building and Buying Property on the Oregon Coast. The 25-minute DVD is intended to influence the behavior of prospective coastal property buyers and builders by giving them a "reality check" on the unique risks that come with developing along the ocean shore, and explaining the steps that should be taken to avoid problems.
  97. Eight major environmental organizations, including Surfrider Foundation, authored a report Florida’s Coastal and Ocean Future, A Blueprint for Economic and Environmental Leadership in September 2006 that has now been endorsed by 160 Coastal and Ocean Businesses, Civic, Outdoor, and Conservation Organizations.
  98. North Carolina's NCAC 7H .0312, Technical Standards for Beach Fill Projects, which outlines new sediment criteria rules for beach nourishment projects, went into effect Feb. 1, 2007. It is the most comprehensive set of rules regarding beach nourishment for any coastal state.
  99. A newly updated and expanded edition of Striking a Balance: A Guide to Coastal Dynamics and Beach Management in Delaware, took top honors in the educational brochures category of the 2005 Communicator Awards.
  100. In November 2007 Connecticut received a "blue ribbon" award from the federal Environmental Protection Agency for a pollution credit trading system designed to reduce nitrogen pollution in Long Island Sound from wastewater treatment plants. Around the same time, the state legislature approved $415 million in Clean Water Revenue Bonds, which provide loans to cities and towns to upgrade sewage treatment plants.
  101. Starting with the February 2007 meeting, California Coastal Commission meetings are now being broadcast live via the internet through the Coastal Commission website. This technology significantly increases public access to the Commission's actions and the issues it deals with. The public also now has the ability to review the broadcasts of previous meetings.
  102. North Carolina Beach, Inlet & Waterway Association gave North Carolina beaches a "B" and public access to beaches an "A" on their 2007 Report Card for the NC Coast.
  103. In November 2006 NJDEP proposed new beach access rules that would repeal the existing Public Access to the Waterfront rule and replace it with a new Public trust rights rule. The proposed new rule strengthens the Department's existing public access requirements and sets forth specific requirements for Shore Protection Program and Green Acres funding. More info. However, in August 2010 the Department of Environmental Protection unveiled draft proposed rules for "enhanced public access" to the state's coastal and other tidal waters. These rules would give beach towns more flexibility in complying with state beach access requirements (less prescriptive requirements on parking, number of bathrooms, beach hours), but there is concern that the "flexibility" and reliance on voluntary compliance may lead to reduced public access at some locations.
  104. Maine produced Protecting Maine's Beaches for the Future (2006), A Proposal to Create an Integrated Beach Management Program. This comprehensive and forward thinking document is a must read for beach managers everywhere.
  105. In March 2007 MassDEP revised its Beach Nourishment: Guide to Best Management Practices in Massachusetts, which was developed for those proposing beach fill projects to minimize erosion and potential adverse environmental impacts, to promote the beneficial reuse of clean, compatible, dredge material, and to expedite regulatory review.
  106. Governor Timothy Kaine of Virginia announced in December 2006 that he would introduce legislation authorizing $250 million in bonds to upgrade sewage treatment plants throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The bonds will provide funds to share the costs with localities for installing technologies that will reduce nutrient pollution discharged into Virginia waters. The sewage treatment plant upgrades made possible by these funds will prevent an estimated four million pounds of nitrogen compounds from entering Virginia's rivers that flow into the Bay.
  107. A great new online coastal access resource is University of Wisconsin Sea Grant's Wisconsin Coastal Guide. From this site you can click on "Beaches" and then a particular beach to get a map and for many locations a 360 degree panorama.
  108. New Jersey's Coast 2005 initiative, announced in April 2005, is a comprehensive plan to protect the integrity and economic viability of New Jersey's valuable coastal resources. Under the initiative, the state will strengthen standards and regulations that protect the coastal ecosystem, enhance public access opportunities, expand protection for coastal wildlife and wildlife habitats, and support tourist, seafood and maritime industries.
  109. Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources is administering three wetlands restoration projects funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A 141-acre stretch of wetland, dune and coastal strand will be created at Kaua'i's Mana Plain Coastal Wetlands; 40 acres of degraded wetland will be restored at Pouhala Marsh in Pearl Harbor on Oahu; and the state will buy the 78-acre Nu'u Makai Wetland Reserve on the southeast shore on Maui.
  110. The Coastal and Marine Geology Program of the U.S. Geological Survey announced the completion of a shoreline change project for the U.S. Southeast Atlantic Region. This study marks the second in a series that will eventually address the Northeast Atlantic Coast, Pacific Coast (California Sandy Shorelines and Historic Cliff Retreat assessments are now available) and parts of Hawaii and Alaska. The first volume was for the Gulf of Mexico.
  111. Maine Coast Heritage Trust, a statewide land conservation organization, announced in August 2006 it had raised more than $100 million to accelerate land conservation on Maine’s coast. Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s “Campaign for the Coast” is the largest land conservation capital campaign in Maine’s history.
  112. 70% of Californians say the condition of the coast is important to them personally, 60% of state residents believe the federal government is not doing enough to protect the coast, and 71% of Californians favor establishing more marine reserves along the coast.
  113. EPA announced a proposal based on a draft by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) that will require wastewater facilities to upgrade and repair their leaky sewage systems, and fully treat sewage unless EPA or a state environmental agency determines there is no feasible way to do so. It also will require facility operators to notify the public and environmental agencies any time they discharge inadequately treated sewage.
  114. The North Carolina General Assembly fully funded the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund for the first time in 2005 by providing a $100 million appropriation.
  115. Two important beach access cases were decided in the public's favor in July 2005. In Michigan, the Supreme Court ruled that the public has access between the water's edge and the ordinary high water mark all along Michigan's 3,200 miles of Great Lakes shoreline. In New Jersey, the Supreme Court affirmed an Appeals Court ruling requiring private beach owners to allow reasonably priced public beach access.
  116. Voters in Los Angeles County, California passed a $500 million bond measure in November 2004 to address the problem of non-point source pollution. The money will be used to build filtration plants, install cisterns to recycle storm water, install a system to divert stormwater into groundwater supplies, and install screens and other mechanisms to remove trash from rivers and lakes.
  117. Massachusetts Office of Coast Zone Management in cooperation with retailer IKEA and the Low Impact Development (LID) Working Group developed a green roof plan for a new IKEA furniture store that could capture and filter up to 75% of rooftop runoff. Thus, land area needed for traditional stormwater management devices is significantly reduced, meaning that 30% of the original site plan could remain undisturbed.
  118. The University of South Florida St. Petersburg announced in November 2005 that it had received the first half of a $1.5 million grant to help create a center dedicated to the study, protection and management of coastal environments.
  119. Rhode Islanders passed a $19 million bond in the November 2004 elections that will provide money to upgrade local wastewater treatment facilities and provide municipalities grants to deal with stormwater discharges. As part of the stormwater grant program, beaches have been identified as a top priority.
  120. During 2002, the California Coastal Commission Statewide Coastal Access Program accepted 136 Offers to Dedicate (OTD), providing additional horizontal (along the coast) and vertical (to the coast) access points.[23]
  121. There are 118 designated Environmental Areas along Michigan’s Great Lakes coastline where beach maintenance cannot be carried out.[24]
  122. According to a May 2005 press release from the State of Washington Departments of Ecology and Health, "Various state and county agencies and the Surfrider Foundation are working with Ecology and Health to sample the beaches and notify the public of the results, using funding from the federal Environmental Protection Agency."
  123. Rhode Island completed the Greenwich Bay Special Area Management Plan in 2005. The intent of this plan is to limit development on Greenwich Bay and improve water quality, recreation and fish harvests. The objectives of the plan include increasing the number of homeowners tied to public sewers, reducing the nitrogen discharged from local sewage treatment plants, ending beach closures because of waterborne bacteria by 2010 and opening half the bay to winter or year-round shellfish harvesting by 2020.
  124. The New Jersey Beach Profile Network’s 20-year report contains each volume calculation & shoreline position for 100 sites for every year from 1986 through 2006.[25]
  125. The Michigan legislature has found that Critical Dune areas of the state are unique, irreplaceable, and fragile resources that provide significant recreational, economic, scientific, geological, scenic, botanical, educational, agricultural, and ecological benefits to the people of Michigan.[26]
  126. Massachusetts Water Resources Authority developed at $230 million plan to control sewage and storm water contamination of beaches in North Dorchester and South Boston.[27]
  127. In 2003, water-quality data from about 117 new beach locations in Wisconsin were added to the Beach Health Website. Maps of beaches by county are available along with other information describing the 2003 Wisconsin Great Lake monitoring efforts. As a result, many beaches that have never been tested are now tested, and the data is available in near-real time to the public.[28]
  128. A vast majority (88%) of Californians say the condition of the ocean and beaches is personally important to them, with 60% saying it is very important. Strong majorities of Californians also believe the coastline’s condition is very important to the state’s quality of life (69%) and economy (61%).[29]
  129. Wisconsin DNR staff drove the entire coast of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, identifying 173 public beaches using global positioning system (GPS) and geographic information system (GIS) technologies to geo-locate each beach. County maps show the location of each beach, coastal recreation waters, points of access by the public, length of beach, and possible sources of pollution.[30]
  130. The update of the Massachusetts Historic Shoreline Change Project provides 1:10,000 scale shoreline change maps and accompanying data tables that show the relative positions of four or five historic shorelines and depict the long-term change rates at 40-meter intervals along the shore. The Massachusetts Geographic Information System (MassGIS) incorporated the maps and data tables into the Shoreline Change Browser.[31]
  131. Recognizing the "increasing demand for our State’s beach and the dynamic nature of the public trust doctrine," the New Jersey Supreme Court found that the public must be given both access to and use of privately owned dry sand areas.[32]
  132. Connecticut has completed biodiversity inventories for sandy beaches. An Ecoregions Study of the coast conducted in the 1970s evaluated beaches and dunes. DEP is presently beginning a 2-year survey of beach invertebrates.[33]
  133. 90% of the 362 miles of ocean coastline in Oregon is open to the public. There is one public beach access site for about every half mile of coastline.[34]
  134. The South Carolina Code of Laws includes provisions requiring communities to prepare comprehensive beach management plans. These plans include an inventory of public beach access sites and associated parking, as well as a plan for enhancing public access and parking.[35]
  135. On the dunes of barrier beaches in Rhode Island, residential or non-water dependent structures that are more than 50% destroyed may not be rebuilt regardless of insurance carrier coverage.[36]
  136. North Carolina DCM staff estimates that although only 40% of coastal lands are publicly owned, about 95% of "private" beaches are publicly accessible. They indicate that there are coastal access points about every one-half mile in urban areas and every two miles in rural areas.[37]
  137. Oregon has created a Coastal Atlas website, which is an interactive, searchable, downloadable archive of geospatial data. It includes mapping and decision support tools.
  138. Hawaii boasts more than 1,600 recognized surf spots, all beaches in Hawaii are publicly owned, and public beach access is plentiful.[38]
  139. Beach tourism contributes approximately $15 billion a year to Florida's economy.[39]
  140. Under average conditions, fecal coliform bacteria in New York harbor have decreased by as much as 98 percent since 1974. This is primarily the result of improved sewage treatment and abatement of illegal discharges.[40]
  141. Since 1976, the California Coastal Conservancy has spent over $200 million to support projects that purchase, protect, restore, and enhance coastal resources.
  142. From 1990 to 1999, Florida spent more than $835 million to purchase land that increases the public’s access to the coast.[41]
  143. All beaches in Hawaii (with the exception of some military installations) are publicly owned.[42]
  144. Michigan law requires that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality conduct erosion studies to document the long-term rate of shoreline movement.[43]


  1. America's Living Oceans, Charting a Course for Sea Change, Pew Oceans Commission. May 2003.
  2. America's Living Oceans, Charting a Course for Sea Change, Pew Oceans Commission. May 2003.
  3. America's Living Oceans, Charting a Course for Sea Change, Pew Oceans Commission. May 2003.
  4. NOAA.
  5. Jerry Rothstein, PASH. E-mail correspondence. August 25, 2003.
  6. PPIC Statewide Survey, November 2003.
  7. Warnke, Tom. Surfrider Foundation Palm Beach County Chapter. Personal Communication. March 2004.
  8. Surfrider Foundation, Texas Chapter
  9. Hawaii Beach Monitoring Program, a collaborative effort conducted by USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program and the University of Hawaii Geology program.
  10. Surfrider Foundation, New York City Chapter
  11. Surfrider Foundation, Jacksonville Chapter
  13. "Final Environmental Assessment, Half Moon Bay Transition Gravel and Cobble Placement, Westport, Washington", US Army Corps of Engineers, November 2003.
  14. NRDC, Testing the Waters 2003, A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches.
  15. Griggs, Gary B., James E. Pepper, and Martha E. Jordan. "California's Coastal Hazards: A Critical Assessment of Existing Land-Use Policies and Practices." California Policy Seminar Report. University of California. 1992.
  16. Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management Section 309 Assessments and Strategies, March 14, 2001
  17. May 2000 article in the Texas A&M Aggie Daily reports on the efforts of Texas A&M University at Galveston professor Jim Webb, who is working with Galveston County officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in a $600,000 project to stop coastal erosion.
  18. Surfrider Foundation, Puerto Rico Chapter
  19. Maine Coastal Plan, Maine State Planning Office, April 2001.
  20. Maine Coastal Plan, Maine State Planning Office, April 2001.
  21. Pogue and Lee, Ibid.
  22. Surfrider State of the Beach survey response, January 2003.
  23. Access Program Highlights for 2002. Memo from Linda Locklin to Pete Douglas. January 21, 2003.
  27. Editorial "Sewage Roulette", The Boston Globe. February 22, 2004
  29. PPIC Statewide Survey, November 2003.
  30. USEPA, "Beach Currents", Fall 2003. EPA-823-N-03-001.
  32. New Jersey CZM Section 309 Assessment and Strategy.
  33. Tom Ouellette, CDEP, Surfrider State of the Beach survey response, January 2004.
  34. Pogue and Lee, "Providing Public Access to the Shore: The Role of Coastal Zone Management Programs," Coastal Management 27:219-237. 1999.
  35. 2001 South Carolina Coastal Zone 309 Assessment and Strategy (2001 Assessment).
  37. John Sutherland, Surfrider State of the Beach survey response, January 2003.
  38. Hawaii Division of Boating and Outdoor Recreation Website:
  39. State of the Coast Report, 1996,
  40. NYCDEP:
  41. Florida Assessment of Coastal Trends (FACT) 2000 report.
  42. HCMP web site.