NOAA's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management partners with state programs to protect and responsibly develop our coastal areas, and promote stewardship, research and education at estuarine reserves.
Join us as state Coastal Zone Program and National Estuarine Research Reserve managers share their perspectives on the value of and challenges facing our nation’s coasts.
More and more people are flocking to coastal areas each year. Over half of all Americans live in coastal counties and millions of us head to beaches each year for recreation. With more people comes more development. This development puts increased stress on the environment.
Additionally, coastal areas are susceptible to hazards such as storms, erosion, and sea-level rise. With more buildings, infrastructure, and people located in harm’s way, the potential for damage and loss of life increases.
As we look to the future, finding ways to balance our use and enjoyment of coastal areas with increasing vulnerabilities will become an increasingly important, and difficult, challenge for coastal managers.
Approaches such as smart growth, which allows communities to grow in ways that expand economic opportunity, protect public health and the environment, and enhance places that people care about, can help coastal areas accommodate development while protecting their traditional sense of place.