Managing Threats to Beaches From Storms and Rising Seas

May 2023
ELR 10355
Jeff Peterson, Sean Vitousek, Charles Lester, Lauren Blickley, and Travis Brandon

More severe storms and rising sea levels resulting from the changing climate pose a threat to ecosystems along the U.S. coast. These include beaches, dunes, wetlands, and marshes, which provide significant environmental, recreational, and economic benefits. Practices to sustain these ecosystems are available, but are not well understood, face legal and financial obstacles, and have not been widely implemented. On January 25, 2023, the Environmental Law Institute hosted a panel of experts who explored measures and practices for sustaining beaches and dunes in the face of a changing climate. This Dialogue presents a transcript of that discussion, which has been edited for style, clarity, and space considerations.

Jeff Peterson (moderator) is a Visiting Scholar at the Environmental Law Institute, Co-Facilitator of the Coastal Flood Resilience Project, and author of A New Coast: Strategies for Responding to Devastating Storms and Rising Seas. Sean Vitousek is a Research Oceanographer at the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center of the U.S. Geological Survey. Charles Lester is Director of the Ocean and Coastal Policy Center in the Marine Science Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Lauren Blickley is Hawaii Regional Manager at Surfrider Foundation. Travis Brandon is an Associate Professor of Law at Belmont College of Law.

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Managing Threats to Beaches From Storms and Rising Seas

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