State of the Beach/Methodology/Shoreline Structures

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Americans have built thousands of shoreline structures in efforts to stave off coastal erosion. While these structures may protect coastal property, they also have a negative impact on our beaches.

State Policies

As part of the requirements of Section 306 of the federal Coastal Zone Management Act to study and assess ways to "control and lessen" the effects of erosion, state coastal management programs made shoreline structures policy a part of their coastal management plan. This report describes each state's policy on the construction, placement, and maintenance of shoreline structures.

Extent of Shoreline Armoring

This report presents information that is available on the location and types of shoreline structures. This information is used as a means to determine the extent of shoreline armoring, and in turn measure the effectiveness of state policies intended to limit the proliferation of shoreline structures. By tallying the extent of the armored shoreline (i.e. miles of armored shoreline and the rate of shoreline armoring), Surfrider illustrates the cumulative effects of coastal structures and educates local and state coastal managers on the magnitude of this problem. In addition, local citizens are able to see the how many of their beaches are impacted by armoring.

Threshold criteria for the shoreline structures indicator are:


7 to 10 -­ An accurate, up to date, comprehensive statewide inventory of shoreline structure location and type, as well as the long term monitoring of effectiveness and for potential adverse impacts and cumulative effects
4 to 6 ­- An inventory of shoreline structures, but limited in geographic extent or lacking in detail about structure types
1 to 3 -­ Little to no information about shoreline structures


7 to 10 ­- A low number or a significant decrease in the number of shoreline structures
4 to 6 ­- Moderate coastal armoring; little to no change in the number of shoreline structures
1 to 3 -­ A high number or a significant increase in the number of shoreline structures