State of the Beach/Beach Indicators

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Indicators are measures of environmental quality used to assess the status and trends of environmental conditions. They summarize complex information in an easily understood format, and allow states with similar problems to compare issues. Indicators also enable managers to measure progress toward achieving their goals.

For this report, Surfrider investigated the amount of available information and the status for the following beach health indicators: beach access, surf zone water quality, beach erosion, beach fill, shoreline structures, erosion response, beach ecology and surfing areas for 31 U.S. states and territories, plus the Canadian province of British Columbia. These categories are important indicators of coastal environmental health and coastal recreational opportunities. We also included a review of the coastal zone management program websites to evaluate the effectiveness of this tool for providing information.