Coastal management planning is usually standardized for an entire coastal entity (e.g., the island of Puerto Rico) in a legalistic, one-size-fits-all approach. In contrast, a Coastal Compartment Management Plan (CCMP) approach fosters attention on local variability of the natural setting (i.e., geology, hydrodynamics, oceanography) as the guiding principle for management, vulnerability assessment, and hazard mitigation. CCMPs can be either an alternative to or complement of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM). The coast of Puerto Rico provides an excellent example of natural compartmentalization in which individual compartments operate independently of adjacent compartments; often in sharp contrast to each other in terms of vulnerability to hazards, and corresponding best management practices. Adjacent compartments are also highly variable in terms of types of onshore/offshore economic resources and development. CCMPs involve a five-step approach in which coastal compartments are defined; evaluated utilizing geoindicators; prioritized in terms of potential risks, sensitive environments, and economic uses; potential mitigation options developed; and final plans for each compartment developed in which allocation of resources reflects compartment prioritization. Extensive past studies of the eastern one-third of Puerto Rico, including shoreline mapping, post-hurricane assessments, hazards analyses, and risk assessment, provide a basis for delineating five coastal compartments in the San Juan area. One of these compartments is presented as an example of the CCMP approach in which its characteristics are utilized to make specific recommendations for their individual management. This approach to coastal management is appropriate to most Caribbean Islands, as well as any variable shoreline composed of numerous headlands, embayments, and patchy distribution of shore materials.
- Coastal compartment management plan,
- Puerto Rico
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