consequent loss of public trust resources such as beaches, wetlands, navigable waters, and submerged tidelands. Erosion mitigation measures have been developed that protect upland property and provide habitat and could be employed in a regional context to avoid undesirable cumulative impacts. A regional approach would help to account for the scale of erosion processes and facilitate exchange of information, technology, and experience gathered at the local level. More proactive planning for shoreline management will require the participation of local decision-makers in addition to state and federal agency partners. This chapter presents the components of a new regional framework for managing shore erosion, with recommendations based on the findings from this study.
The term “regional” is used in this report to reflect an area of shoreline that is defined by some functional physical or ecological parameters such as littoral cells. Several examples of regional proactive planning already exist for shorelines: the USACE Regional Sediment Management approach, the USEPA National Estuary Program, and some special area management plans approved by state coastal management programs. Some aspects of all these experiences offer guidance for proactive regional planning for shoreline erosion control.
The U.S Army Corps of Engineers Regional Sediment Management (RSM) approach provides a model and framework that could be adapted to address sheltered shoreline erosion problems within a regional context. The RSM approach originated as a method for optimizing both economic and ecological resources. For decades, state and local managers of beach shorelines have been at odds with the U.S Army Corps of Engineers over navigation projects and the management of sediment. A demonstration program in 1999 in the northern Gulf of Mexico began a shift towards collaboration among federal, state, and local officials (Box 6-1). The RSM approach of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers has been essential to the agency’s consideration of shoreline management at the regional scale. There are many factors in addition to sediment budgets to consider in the development of regional shoreline management plans. These factors include socioeconomic considerations as well as a broad range of habitat and other ecological issues. Regional plans facilitate the assessment of cumulative impacts and could be informed by credible monitoring of project performance and experience within and without the region of interest.
Environmental planning involves several coordinated steps. The initial phase requires coordination and involvement of all affected decision-makers at the