State of the Beach/State Reports/MS/Erosion Response

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Mississippi Ratings
Indicator Type Information Status
Beach Access65
Water Quality83
Beach Erosion9-
Erosion Response-3
Beach Fill2-
Shoreline Structures2 5
Beach Ecology1-
Surfing Areas1NA
Coastal Development{{{19}}}{{{20}}}
Sea Level Rise{{{21}}}{{{22}}}


Erosion response is a measure of how well a state's policies and procedures limit the extent of shoreline armoring, unsafe coastal development, and costly beach nourishment projects, and conduct preemptive planning for sea level rise. Evaluation of this indicator brings attention to the states that are taking proactive roles in natural beach preservation and hazard avoidance. Through the formulation (if not already in place), implementation, and strict adherence of the specific criteria within the indicator, states can overcome two fundamental obstacles to alternative erosion response practices outlined by the Oceans Studies Board (2007):

  1. A lack of knowledge and experience among decision-makers regarding alternative options for shoreline erosion response, the relative level of erosion mitigation afforded by the alternative approaches and their expected life time, and the nature of the associated impacts and benefits.
  2. The current legal and regulatory framework itself, which discriminates against innovative solutions because of the complex and lengthy permitting process that almost always considers these options on a case-by-case basis.

For example, are statewide oceanfront construction setbacks used to site new development, and are these based on the latest erosion rates? When existing development is damaged during a storm, does a state prohibit reconstruction or provide incentives for relocation? Before permitting shoreline stabilization does a state require: that there is demonstrated need via geo-technical reports with content standards; that alternatives to armoring including managed retreat/relocation are fully explored; and that potential adverse impacts and cumulative effects are taken into account? Does the state conduct sea level rise vulnerability assessments and develop adaptation plans to mitigate impacts? If a state can answer 'yes' to most of these questions, then its rank is high. If the answers are mostly 'no' then its rank is low.

Also see the "Policies" discussion of the Shoreline Structures section of this report for more information on Mississippi's erosion response.

Possible quantitative measures for this indicator include the number of new structures located within setback areas, number of damaged structures reconstructed in identified erosion zones, number of instances where alternatives to 'hard' shore protection were employed, the number of shoreline structures permitted under 'emergency' provisions, and the number of permits for shoreline structures reviewed, approved or denied. We have found that such information is rarely available.

Policies and Guidance

From Mississippi's 2006-2010 Assessment and Strategy:

"All municipalities within the three coastal counties now have building codes and permitting requirements. Within those municipalities, all construction and reconstruction activities are required to comply with current restrictions. In addition, all three counties currently have building codes, construction permitting requirements and enforcement provisions. In addition to building codes, the three coastal counties and their municipalities have land use controls that include zoning. In response to the impacts of Hurricane Katrina, many coastal communities are considering significant changes to their land development codes that would both expedite the rebuilding process and protect public and private resources from future storm events. These regulations are typically supported by a comprehensive plan that includes a land use plan. Both the codes and the plans are nominally updated on five-year cycles.
Each county and municipality bordering the Gulf Coast participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP requires additional permitting and allows for building restrictions in areas that are either prone to flooding or that are located within a Special Flood Hazard Area. Through participation in the NFIP, coastal city and county residents are able to purchase federally subsidized flood insurance. Within two months following Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a set of Advisory Base Flood Elevation Maps (ABFE) designed to provide communities with recommendations on building elevations for use in reconstruction processes until final updated Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) can be developed. While the ABFE maps are strictly advisory, most coastal communities have adopted the new elevation requirements. However, once these maps and base flood elevations are converted to FIRM maps the new elevations will no longer be advisory but will become a requirement through the National Flood Insurance program.
In addition to the National Flood Insurance Program, one coastal county and eight coastal municipalities participate in the Community Rating System (CRS). CRS is a program in which local communities may receive credit for engaging in activities that extend beyond the normal requirements of an NFIP community. These activities are designed to provide an additional level of mitigation and protection against flooding. Through the CRS program a community may lower the insurance premiums that property owners must pay through the NFIP. At the present time, Harrison County and the cities of Bay St. Louis, Biloxi, Gautier, Gulfport, Long Beach, Ocean Springs, Pass Christian, and Waveland participate in the CRS Program. Hancock County, Jackson County, D’Iberville, Moss Point, and Pascagoula do not participate. The CRS rating classes range from a Class 9 to a Class 1 with a Class 1 being the most desirable rating by affording communities a 45% reduction in NFIP insurance premiums.
Several coastal jurisdictions continue to participate in FEMA’s hazard mitigation planning program. Each of the three coastal counties and each of the eleven municipalities are either in the process of developing a local multi-hazard mitigation plan or have recently completed a plan (since 2000). However, because of the widespread and devastating impacts of Hurricane Katrina, each jurisdiction is in the process of reevaluating and updating their plans. In 2004 the Mississippi Legislature authorized $1 million in bond money to develop the state's clearinghouse for remote sensing and GIS data, sending a clear policy statement in support of developing updated Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs) in Mississippi. The issuance of post-Katrina advisory flood maps and the pending establishment of new base flood elevations will further direct future developments within the areas immediately adjacent to the coast and will significantly impact future land use decisions within the context of a post-Katrina coast.
Much attention has been given to varying theories and ideas on how the Mississippi Coast should rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. In September 2005, the Governor’s Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal sponsored the Mississippi Renewal forum, which brought together over 200 local community leaders, design professionals, and agency representatives to create redevelopment plans addressing all aspects of redevelopment with the goal of developing a plan for the rebuilding of homes, neighborhoods, and communities significantly impacted by Hurricane Katrina. On January 6, 2006, the Commission released the final report containing over 200 separate recommendations for rebuilding. These plans included provisions and principals of smart growth from a New Urbanist perspective. From this point, the local jurisdictions will evaluate the report and jurisdiction-specific recommendations and will determine how to best proceed with redevelopment. By combining information contained in the report with recommendations and guidance obtained through the Land Development Suitability Model, local jurisdictions will have the tools necessary to make sound land use and redevelopment decisions that will result in rebuilt and redeveloped communities that have an increased resistance to the impacts of future devastating storms.
Through the Land Development Suitability Model, local jurisdictions, developers and the general public have a tool at their disposal that can assist with local land use and land development decisions. The model includes coastal floodplains, environmentally sensitive areas and other land characteristics that can assist with sound decision making within the context of developing storm resistant neighborhoods and communities. CRMP continues to make improvements to the model and continues to make the data available to those who are in decision making capacities.
DMR lacks direct jurisdictional authority for hazard mitigation and related land use restrictions. Multiple jurisdictional authorities including three counties and eleven cities, each having its own civil defense plans and policies are a challenging reality. However, through the use of the Statewide Mutual Aid Compact and through local mutual aid agreements, the three coastal counties and eleven municipalities have a forum not only to share information and resources but to also assist one another during times of crisis and emergency."

From the website of Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium:

"Mississippi and Alabama experienced devastating losses due to natural hazard events in 2004 and 2005. Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina caused the loss of more than 1,800 lives and damages that that exceeded $96 billion. In 2005, more than 275,000 housing units were damaged or destroyed in Mississippi and Alabama from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. The loses included 90 percent of housing units in Hancock County, 68 percent in Harrison County, 64 percent in Jackson County, 30 percent in Mobile County and 7 percent in Baldwin County.
Coastal communities must balance population and ecological change while adopting resilience strategies for acute events such as hurricanes and oil spills, and chronic events, such as sea-level change. This involves long-term planning to prepare for and quickly recover from hazards. It is also essential that residents of coastal communities understand coastal risks and learn what they can do to reduce their vulnerability and respond quickly and effectively when events occur. Increasing community resilience has direct impact on the coastal residences behavior, health and finances."

The following is from the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant publication Living Shorelines: State Regulations in Alabama, Mississippi and Florida:

"Most shoreline stabilization activities in Mississippi will fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Marine Resources (DMR) and/or the Commission on Marine Resources (CMR), depending on the location and nature of the activity.
Activities on public trust tidelands and submerged lands are regulated by CMR under the Public Trust Tidelands Act, Miss. Code tit. 29, ch. 15. “Tidelands” are defined as “those lands which are daily covered and uncovered by water by the action of the tides, up to the mean line of the ordinary high tides.”[1] “Submerged lands” are defined as “lands which remain covered by waters, where the tides ebb and flow, at ordinary low tides.”[2] These lands may be leased.[3] Lease fees are waived for “public projects of any federal, state or local governmental entity which serve a higher public purpose of promoting the conservation, reclamation, preservation of the tidelands and submerged lands, public use for fishing, recreation or navigation, or the enhancement of public access to such lands.”[4]
Activities on coastal wetlands are regulated by CMR under the Coastal Wetlands Protection Act, Miss. Code tit. 49, ch. 27. “Coastal wetlands” are defined as “all publicly owned lands subject to the ebb and flow of the tide; which are below the watermark of ordinary high tide; all publicly owned accretions above the watermark of ordinary high tide and all publicly owned submerged water-bottoms below the watermark of ordinary high tide” including flora and fauna.[5] Regulated activities under the Act include dredging, filling, killing or injuring plants or animals, and the erection of structures that materially affect the ebb and flow of the tide.[6] Permits from CMR are required for these activities.[7] However, the routine maintenance of bulkheads that existed at the time the Act was passed is not subject to the Act.[8]
Permit application requirements are described in Miss. Code §§ 49-27-11 through –19. When deciding whether to grant a permit, CMR is to consider the policy described in Miss. Code § 49-27-3, which is “to favor the preservation of the natural state of the coastal wetlands and their ecosystems and to prevent the despoliation and destruction of them, except where a specific alteration of specific coastal wetlands would serve a higher public interest in compliance with the public purposes of the public trust in which coastal wetlands are held.”[9]
CMR may include permit conditions to further this policy.[10] Performing unpermitted activities in coastal wetlands may incur financial and criminal penalties and liability to restore affected wetlands.[11]
The DMR serves as the lead agency for the Mississippi Coastal Program, which, among other things, provides for a “one-stop permitting” process for coastal activities.[12] The permit application and supporting documents are available on DMR’s website."

As part of the Mississippi Coastal Improvements Program, NPR reported in 2007 that "The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proposing a federal buyout of 17,000 properties along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Many homes and businesses on the land were destroyed when Hurricane Katrina came ashore in 2005. The proposal would be the largest federal buyout ever in the United States."

On a regional level, funding from the RESTORE Act, led to the creation of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council and preparation of a report Restoring the Gulf Coast's Ecosystem and Economy (August 2013). A update of this plan was being prepared in late 2016.

Mississippi is a member of the StormSmart Coasts Network, which is a place for coastal decision makers to find and share the latest information on protecting communities from storms, floods, sea level rise, and climate change. The Mississippi Homeowners Handbook was created by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Coastal Community Resilience Team to help homeowners prepare for natural hazards to reduce risks to family and property.

NOAA's Digital Coast website has many resources to aid in planning for erosion response and coastal hazards. These resources include a Coastal Inundation Toolkit and a Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer.

A goal of the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium regarding Hazard Resilience in Coastal Communities is that "Sea Grant will use its integrated research, training and technical assistance capabilities and its presence in coastal communities to play a major role in helping local citizens, decision makers and industries plan for hazardous events and optimize the ability of their communities to respond, rebuild and recover."

Coastal Barrier Resources Act

The federal Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA), passed in 1982, was designed to "minimize the loss of human life, wasteful expenditure of federal revenues, and the damage to fish, wildlife and other natural resources" by denying federal support for everything from sewer construction to flood insurance in undeveloped or little-developed coastal areas such as barrier islands. CBRA does not restrict development in these areas, but it indirectly discourages development by denying the use of federal funds for development projects or redevelopment after storm or flood damage. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers this program, which identified 1.3 million acres of coastal land to be covered by the act. Unfortunately, pressure by property owners and developers in these areas has lead Congress to pass dozens of exemption bills which exclude certain areas from CBRA, thus thwarting the intent of the Act.

The Coastal Barrier Improvement Act (CBIA) was enacted on November 16, 1990. The CBIA resulted in reauthorization of the CBRA of 1982. The CBRA establishes the Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) to protect areas such as undeveloped coastal barrier islands. There is a discussion of CBRA on NOAA's web site that concludes:

"Although the removal of federal funding assistance has discouraged development in some coastal barrier islands, development has continued in other areas despite designation as a unit of the CBRS. CBIA is not intended to prevent or regulate development in high-risk areas; rather the intent is to direct that federal dollars not be spent for development in these areas. Activities conducted in areas adjacent to CBRS units may adversely impact these sensitive areas; these activities are not regulated under CBIA. In addition, CBIA does not restrict the use of private, local, or state funding within CBRS units. Some coastal states have initiated legislation that limits state funding of certain projects."

A report released in March 2007 reviews the extent to which (1) development has occurred in CBRS units since their inclusion in the system and (2) federal financial assistance and permits have been provided to entities in CBRS units. GAO electronically mapped address data for structures within 91 randomly selected CBRS units and collected information on federal financial assistance and permits for eight federal agencies. GAO found multiple federal agencies have provided some financial assistance to property owners in CBRS units that is expressly prohibited by CBRA; some assistance allowed under CBRA; and hundreds of permits for federally regulated development activities within the unit. GAO recommended, among other things, the four agencies that provided prohibited loan guarantees or insurance policies to CBRS units first verify and then cancel those that are in violation of CBRA.

On April 7, 2009, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released to the public its Report to Congress: John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System Digital Mapping Pilot Project. The report, which was directed by the Coastal Barrier Resources Reauthorization Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-514), highlights the benefits of updating Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) maps with more accurate and precise digital maps to better protect people, coastal areas and natural resources. A 2016 report is now available.

FEMA has now developed a fact sheet on CBRA. The fact sheet outlines the responsibilities and restrictions that various programs within FEMA have under CBRA.

Climate Change Mitigation

Funded via the Coastal Impact Assistance Program, the Powering Renewal Project focuses on providing tangible solar demonstration projects on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The purpose of the project is to raise awareness of renewable energy technology currently available, as well as provide a backdrop upon which education and outreach regarding renewable energy and proactive energy efficiency strategies can be employed. View real-time energy production data from the three demonstration projects on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Climate Change Adaptation

Assessment of Sea Level Rise in Coastal Mississippi (July 2011) has the following Conclusions and Recommendations:

Current research and historical data indicate sea level rise is occurring on a global scale and on a regional scale specific to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Specific geographical areas in Mississippi potentially impacted by rising sea levels include Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson Counties and the eleven municipalities that exist within these three counties. The three Mississippi coastal counties and eleven municipalities include a population of approximately 370,702 people, representing approximately 12% of the State’s total population. In addition, the coast’s population is expected to increase by approximately 27% in the next twenty years. Within the context of sea level rise, an existing high population density combined with anticipated population increases along the Mississippi Gulf Coast equates to potential impacts in the future.

An analysis of the risks associated with sea level rise on the Mississippi coast indicates future sea level increases ranging from .1 inch per year on a local scale to .84 inches per year on a global scale. These predictions are best and worst-case scenarios. Data providing sea level rise projections were taken from global and regional research and provide a range of possible impacts. An assessment of the coast’s overall vulnerability to sea level rise indicates the coast is at moderate risk to impacts related to sea level rise.

Anticipated sea level increases have the potential to impact both natural and man-made systems including wetlands, essential fish habitat, a National Estuarine Research Reserve, the Gulf Islands National Seashore, designated coastal preserves, National Wildlife Refuges, commercial and residential land uses, and critical infrastructure. The long-term vulnerability of these systems is partially dependent on choices made in the short-term, both on the local and regional levels.

Strategies divided into three primary response “pathways” including Armoring, Retreating, and Adapting have been discussed in this assessment. Within each of these primary pathways are numerous strategies designed to prepare the coastal region for rising sea levels. In addition, each of the proposed strategies identifies secondary management goals that can be realized through implementation

Strategic planning by local planners and decision makers within the overall context of a comprehensive approach to sea level rise management, natural resource and ecosystem management, land use planning, and capital facilities planning should be conducted. The preferred approach in determining which strategies to utilize is a “treatment train” approach that seeks to incorporate a series of strategies designed to comprehensively address issues related to sea level rise, as well as other cumulative impacts and planning considerations.

Planning for sea level rise on the Mississippi coast is complicated by an apparent shortage of historical data specific to the Mississippi Sound as well as limited available technologies capable of modeling sea level increases beyond simple “bathtub” models. It is recommended that additional research be conducted specific to the Mississippi coastal region as new data becomes available and modeling technologies improve.

Sea level rise is a phenomenon that is expected to continue and potentially increase over time. The most important recommendation is to begin planning for impacts now. Considerations for sea level rise should be incorporated into local and regional plans addressing land use, hazard mitigation, natural resource management, and capital facilities planning. By effectively planning now for future impacts, the coastal region can become more resilient to sea level rise impacts and will be better positioned to respond to and address related issues as they arise.

The next action steps in addressing sea level rise issues in coastal Mississippi are dependent in part on the will of state and local leaders. The fact remains, sea level is rising along our coast and impacts will need to be addressed in a proactive manner. The following recommendations should be considered as research or specific actions moving forward and are included as supplementary actions designed to mitigate data gaps and other research deficiencies specific to Mississippi:

1. Establish a climate change commission/task force to consider and plan for the potential effects of sea level rise and other climate change effects.
2. Development of a statewide research and monitoring effort to measure the affected environment including:
a. Shoreline erosion;
b. Storm frequency, intensity, rainfall, coastal flooding;
c. Changes in coastal waters (i.e. pH, temperature, salinity, depth);
d. Hydrological changes;
e. Saltwater intrusion;
f. Habitat loss/change; and
g. Changes in population dynamics of coastal and marine species.
3. Utilization of standardized monitoring techniques.
4. Designation and maintenance of a central repository for statewide climate/sea level rise data, including mapping, models, and monitoring products.
5. Assessments of sea level rise vulnerability requiring the following information:
a. Accurate LIDAR topographic data;
b. Continuous water level data;
c. Wave height and frequency;
d. Inundation maps/storm surge data;
e. Historical and current marsh surface elevation change data;
f. Inventory of public and private infrastructure at risk;
g. Public perceptions of climate change/sea level rise; and
h. Assessments of public support for strategic response options.
6. Conduct detailed vulnerability assessments of public infrastructure to include:
a. Drinking water;
b. Transportation systems;
c. Wastewater treatment facilities and infrastructure;
d. Public utilities; and
e. Industrial facilities.
7. Development of specific adaptation strategies for affected sectors including:
a. Forestry resources;
b. Marine resources;
c. Water resources;
d. Terrestrial ecosystems; and
e. Human health.
8. Development of location-specific vulnerability assessments and adaptation plans for coastal communities.
9. Development of a state climate/sea level rise planning guidance to assist local adaptation and response efforts.
10. Reauthorization of the Coastal Zone Management Act to include climate/sea level rise planning and implementation of adaptation strategies.
11. Research on the potential impacts of sea level rise on property ownership.
12. Research on the potential impacts to insurance coverage and costs related to sea level rise.
13. Identification of high priority areas for habitat protection and restoration related to habitat migrations.
14. Promotion of development of sustainable shorelines.
15. Development and implementation of a communications strategy to engage local stakeholders, local support, and funding.
16. Coordination of management across agencies for human health and safety.
17. Development and implementation of long-range plans to minimize economic impacts of sea level rise to the natural resource based industries (i.e. commercial fishing, oystering, shrimping, etc.).

Mississippi is a member of the StormSmart Coasts Network, sponsored by NOAA's Coastal Services Center. StormSmart Coasts "is a Web resource dedicated to helping decision makers in coastal communities address the challenges of storms, flooding, sea level rise, and climate change. More than just a website, this network of state and local sites gives coastal decision makers a definitive place to find and share the best resilience-related resources available, and provides tools for collaboration."

"Climate change, energy and resiliency" (includes air quality, climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, land use) was a session topic at the 12th annual Coastal Development Strategies Conference that was held May 11-12, 2011, in Biloxi, Mississippi. The conference is an annual event.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has a Climate Change in Mississippi website that examines "future climate projections for Mississippi and how these changes may impact Mississippi's agriculture, forestry, recreation and tourism, fisheries and aquaculture, freshwater resources, coastal development, and human health."

Erosion Response Contacts

Tracie Sempier
(228) 818-8829

Tina Shumate
(228) 216-4201

Rhonda Price
(228) 374-5000

General Reference Documents

EPA's Risk-Based Adaptation website (under the heading of Climate-Ready Estuaries) provides several resources and tools to help users identify, analyze, prioritize and reduce their climate change risks.

An informative publication is Ten Principles for Coastal Development (2007) by the Urban Land Institute.

The Coastal States Organization (CSO) has published two reports relating to climate change adaptation. The first is Coastal Community Resilience: An Evaluation of Resilience as a Potential Performance Measure of the Coastal Zone Management Act (July 2008). (No link to this could be found.) Developed by CSO staff and CSO’s Coastal Resilience Steering Committee, the document demonstrates the value of resilience to coastal management and offers concrete recommendations for enhancing resilience at the state and local level. The second document is The Role of Coastal Zone Management Programs in Adaptation to Climate Change (September 2008)(PDF, 732KB). The report includes detailed results of a 2008 adaptation survey designed to obtain up to date information on the status of adaptation planning, priority information needs, and the anticipated resource needs of the coastal states, commonwealths, and territories.

In April 2009, the Heinz Center and Ceres announced the release of their Resilient Coasts - A Blueprint for Action, to outline steps to reduce risks and losses in the face of growing threats. The Heinz Center and Ceres produced the blueprint with a coalition of leading insurers, public officials, risk experts, builders, and conservation groups. The blueprint is endorsed by many groups, including The Travelers Institute, The Nature Conservancy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Wharton School, and the Mayor of Charleston, South Carolina. The blueprint includes policy changes and common sense actions that could reduce economic losses from future storms and rising sea levels by as much as half along U.S. coastlines. The blueprint outlines specific recommendations, including: enabling planning for climate impacts by providing the necessary science and decision-making tools; requiring risk-based land use planning; designing adaptable infrastructure and building code standards to meet future risk; strengthening ecosystems as part of a risk mitigation strategy; developing flexible adaptation plans; maintaining a viable private property and casualty insurance market; and integrating climate change impacts into due diligence for investment and lending. The coalition urges the Obama administration, Congress, local leaders and the private sector to see that blueprint actions are implemented through regulation, investment, education, and other means.

In January 2010 the National Association of Counties released Building Resilient Coastal Communities: Counties and the Digital Coast which highlights many of the Digital Coast resources that counties use to address coastal flooding, habitat conservation and land use. More resources, tools and data are available through NOAA's Digital Coast website.

More recently, NOAA Coastal Management has developed a Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer as part of its Digital Coast website. Being able to visualize potential impacts from sea level rise is a powerful teaching and planning tool, and the Sea Level Rise Viewer brings this capability to coastal communities. A slider bar is used to show how various levels of sea level rise will impact coastal communities. Completed areas include Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, Florida, and Georgia, with additional coastal counties to be added in the near future. Visuals and the accompanying data and information cover sea level rise inundation, uncertainty, flood frequency, marsh impacts, and socioeconomics.

StormSmart Coasts is a resource for coastal decision makers looking for the latest and best information on how to protect their communities from weather and climate hazards. StormSmart Legal is a new addition to the StormSmart Coasts Network that provides information about property rights, regulatory takings, and permissible government regulation in coastal areas.

In December 2012 NOAA's Climate Program Office released a report Global Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the United States National Climate Assessment. The report was produced in response to a request from the U.S. National Climate Assessment Development and Advisory Committee. It provides a synthesis of the scientific literature on global sea level rise, and a set of four scenarios of future global sea level rise. The report includes input from national experts in climate science, physical coastal processes, and coastal management.

NOAA's Coastal and Waterfront Smart Growth website is organized into 10 chapters describing different elements essential for communities interested in implementing coastal and waterfront smart growth. By clicking on the individual chapters, you can get a description of each Coastal and Waterfront Smart Growth Element, how this relates to the Coastal and Waterfront Issues, Tools and Techniques you can use in your community, and Case Studies of successes. Each chapter contains a navigation box allowing quick access to the information and the ability to download the content of each page. A 2012 report by NOAA and EPA on Achieving Hazard-Resilient Coastal & Waterfront Smart Growth presents ideas shared by smart growth and hazard mitigation experts related to building hazard-resilient coastal communities.

EPA has a website devoted to preparing for rising sea level and other consequences of changing climate. The premise of the Greenhouse Effect and Sea Level Rise website is that society should take measures to make our coastal development and ecosystems less vulnerable to a rise in sea level. The papers on this site demonstrate that numerous low-cost measures, if implemented, would make the United States less vulnerable to rising sea level. A more recent EPA website is Adapting to Climate Change, but was removed by the Trump administration.

Coastal Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerabilities (USGS-NOAA, January 2013) emphasizes the need for increased coordination and planning to ensure U.S. coastal communities are resilient against the effects of climate change. The report examines and describes climate change impacts on coastal ecosystems and human economies and communities, as well as the kinds of scientific data, planning tools and resources that coastal communities and resource managers need to help them adapt to these changes. Case studies are presented for Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

In December 2012 the Lincoln Institute released Coastal States’ Climate Adaptation Initiatives: Sea Level Rise and Municipal Engagement (Working Paper). This paper explores how states and municipalities interact to address sea level rise, providing an overview of the state of practice, some reasons for different levels of action, and some of the needs of municipalities. It includes recommendations for ways states can provide adaptation support to municipalities.

Coastal Risk Reduction and Resilience: Using the Full Array of Measures, (pdf, 1.2 MB) published in September 2013, discusses the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' capabilities to help reduce risks to coastal areas and improve resilience to coastal hazards through an integrated planning approach. Federal, state, local, non-governmental organization and private sector interests connected to our coastal communities possess a complementary set of authorities and capabilities for developing more integrated coastal systems. The effective implementation of an integrated approach to flood and coastal flood hazard mitigation relies on a collaborative, shared responsibility framework between Federal, state, and local agencies and the public.

The National Climate Assessment is an extensive report released through the U.S. Global Change Research Program and produced by a large team of experts with the guidance of the Federal Advisory Committee. The report is put out every few years, with the most recent one being the 2014 National Climate Assessment and the next report expected to be released in 2018-2019. It includes numerous studies on the impacts of climate change on different economic sectors and geographic regions in the U.S. An important and applicable portion of the report is the Response Strategies section, which lays out actionable ways that decision-makers ranging from the federal government to private-sector companies can take to mitigate and adapt to climate change.


  1. Miss. Code § 29-15-1(h)
  2. Id. § 29-15-1(g)
  3. Id. § 29-15-9
  4. Id. § 29-15-13
  5. Miss. Code § 49-27-5(a)
  6. Id. § 49-27-5(c)
  7. Id. § 49-27-9
  8. Id. § 49-27-7(f)
  9. Id. § 49-27-23
  10. Id. § 49-27-29
  11. Id. § 49-27-55, 49-27-57
  12. Id. § 57-15-6(4)

State of the Beach Report: Mississippi
Mississippi Home Beach Description Beach Access Water Quality Beach Erosion Erosion Response Beach Fill Shoreline Structures Beach Ecology Surfing Areas Website
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