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Mitigating Shore Erosion Along Sheltered Coasts
of the federal jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and thus avoid the need for federal permits.
Existing biases of many decision-makers in favor of bulkheads and revetments with minimal footprints in public trust areas limit installation of other erosion control options that may provide more ecological benefits.
The regulatory framework affects choices and outcomes. Producing a different outcome requires altering the incentives that emerge from the regulatory framework. Regulatory factors include the length of time required for the permit approval; incentives that the regulatory system creates to favor one technology over another; general knowledge of the options and understanding of the consequences, availability of information on the alternative technologies, planning support, and comparative costs.
Traditional structural erosion control techniques may appear to be the most cost-effective. However, they do not account for the cumulative impacts that result in environmental costs nor the undervaluation of the environmental benefits of the nonstructural approaches.
Nonstructural erosion control techniques provide both shoreline protection and ecosystem services (creation of fish habitat, habitat restoration, recreation benefits of nourished beaches).
There is a general lack of knowledge and experience among decision-makers regarding options for shoreline erosion mitigation on sheltered coasts, especially options that retain more of the shoreline’s natural features.
The regulatory response to shoreline erosion on sheltered coasts is generally reactive rather than proactive. Most states have not developed plans for responding to and managing erosion on sheltered shorelines.
Some states have not mapped the erosion zones on their sheltered shores, hindering informed decision-making by policy-makers and project applicants.