This week, the Surfrider Foundation released its sixth annual State of the Beach Report, which grades 30 states and the territory of Puerto Rico on comprehensive laws and policies to protect our nation’s beaches from coastal erosion, sea level rise, and poorly planned development. For the second year in a row, the report reveals that 67 percent of coastal areas assessed are performing at ‘adequate’ to ‘poor’ levels, with some of the lowest grades earned by states that are most often affected by extreme weather and worsening climate events.
“Rising seas and more powerful storms are already damaging community infrastructure, shrinking coastlines, and diminishing the public’s ability to enjoy our favorite beaches across the country,” said the Surfrider Foundation’s Senior Manager of the Coast and Climate Initiative, Stefanie Sekich-Quinn. “It is imperative that local, state, and federal governments work together to protect our coastal communities from the growing impacts of climate change. Long-term climate planning not only safeguards our coastal communities, but it also makes economic sense. A recent report found that if the U.S. fails to take significant climate change action, it could cost $14.5 trillion (in present value terms) to our economy over the next 50 years. Surfrider’s report provides a road map for states to improve coastal management and proactively plan for climate change impacts.”