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Thinking Ahead: The Impacts of Sea Level Rise on Coastal Landscape Protections
Natural Resources & Environment (2013)
  • Chad J McGuire
  • Devon Lynch

The purpose of this article is to highlight the impact of sea level rise on coastal landscape protections. To begin, a summary is provided of how coastal land is both utilized and protected. The utilization of coastal land includes a discussion of the values associated with coastal zones, including the development value of coastal land and the intrinsic ecological values that exist within coastal landscapes. From this summary, the issue of coastal landscape protection is discussed in relationship to sea level rise. This discussion focuses on two main choices relative to sea level rise response: staying at the coastline or, alternatively, retreating from the coastline. The factors impacting a stay or retreat deci- sion are identified and explored. Next, the legal considerations associated with the two choices—staying or retreating—are summarized. The relative benefits and costs of each choice are reviewed in relation to maintaining coastal landscape fea- tures, as are the potential legal impacts of government policies that affect private property rights in coastal land. Finally this article concludes with some recommendations on planning for the impacts of sea level rise from a programmatic stand- point, including the need to prioritize a response to sea level rise, understand the implications of choosing between staying at the shore and retreating from the shore, and understanding how these choices help to define and impact both the physical makeup and use of the coastal landscape in the future.

Publication Date
Spring June, 2013
Citation Information
Chad J McGuire and Devon Lynch. "Thinking Ahead: The Impacts of Sea Level Rise on Coastal Landscape Protections" Natural Resources & Environment Vol. 24 Iss. 4 (2013)
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