Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Should we consider beaches and inlets critical infrastructure?

The N.C. Coastal Resources Coastal Resources Commission (CRC) recommends that beaches and inlets be treated as critical infrastructure (see Wilmington Star article). This raises some important research questions such as how to raise funds as well as methods for choosing optimal management strategies.

From the article:

"The N.C. Division of Water Resources currently funds the work on a project-by-project basis. But the money, roughly $22 million a year, wouldn't be enough if the state begins taking on a larger share of the cost of maintaining beaches, inlets and the Intracoastal Waterway."

These are areas of research that are gaining attention. One important point of emphasis should focus on the level of change a specific policy allows. These are highly dynamic environments where inlets and beaches sometimes exhibit considerable natural migration. What costs, if any, should be acceptable for keep these locations relatively static? By what criteria should we make determinations?

Many different people live, work, and recreate at these locations. There is no doubt that they are valuable. A good policy should incorporate the needs of multiple users, not just one type of user.

Here are a few papers related to this topic:

Kriesel, W.A., A. Randall, and F. Lichtkoppler. 1993. “Estimating the Benefits of Shore Erosion Protection in Ohio’s Lake Erie Housing Market,” Water Resources Research 29(4):795-801.

Landry, Craig E. 2006. “Optimal Management of Coastal Erosion on Developed Barrier Island Beaches,” Working Paper, Department of Economics, East Carolina University.

Landry, Craig E., Andrew G. Keeler, and Warren Kriesel. 2003. “An Economic Evaluation of Beach Erosion Management Alternatives,” Marine Resource Economics 18:105-127.

Parsons, George R. and Michael Powell. 2001. “Measuring the Cost of Beach Retreat,” Coastal Management. 29: 91-103.

Pompe, J.J. and J.R. Rinehart. 1995. “The Value of Beach Nourishment to Property Owners: Storm Damage Reduction Benefits,” Journal of Regional Studies 25(3) 271-86.

Smith, Martin D., Jordan M. Slott, and A. Brad Murray. 2007. "Beach Nourishment as a Dynamic Capital Accumulation Problem." Working Paper, Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, Duke University.

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