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Coastal Pressures. Coastal Development Coastal development is increasingly important to the economic development of many countries However coastal development.

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Presentation on theme: "Coastal Pressures. Coastal Development Coastal development is increasingly important to the economic development of many countries However coastal development."— Presentation transcript:

1 Coastal Pressures

2 Coastal Development Coastal development is increasingly important to the economic development of many countries However coastal development often interferes with natural processes resulting in enhanced erosion Engineering solutions to coastal erosion are often very costly and marginally successful

3 One in every three people on the planet now live within 100 kilometers of the sea Two thirds of all the cities with over 2.5 million inhabitants are on the coast In the US more than one-half the nation's population lives within 50 miles of the coastline, but coastal areas account for only 11 percent of the nation's land area. In recent years, 40 percent of new commercial development and 46 percent of new residential development happened near the coast.

4 Coastal Storms Tropical cyclones (hurricanes) and Nor’easters can devastate coastal areas Damage from coastal storms costs billions of dollars a year in damages to the coasts of the US The frequency of large storms in coastal areas makes them among the most risky places for human habitation, in spite of this the coastal counties in the USA are the fastest growing

5 Coastal Erosion


7 North Carolina Coast After Hurricane Impact



10 A nor'easter tore through barrier-island housing Westhampton Beach, New York, 1992 Since 1982, federal subsidies, including federal flood insurance and grants for infrastructure, have been prohibited by law on designated barrier islands and beaches

11 Senate Environment Committee: Strengthening coastal zone protection laws August 4, 2006 Bill Wolfe, Director, NJ Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). PEER is a national alliance of state and federal agency resource professionals working to ensure environmental ethics and government accountability.

12 DEP’s 2006 federal Coastal Zone Management Act Section 309 Assessment longstanding threats to the coast are well known, yet much needed reforms are being blocked by “the lobbying of special interest groups”

13 DEP’s 2006 federal Coastal Zone Management Act Section 309 Assessment "Many parts of New Jersey's densely populated coastal area are highly susceptible to the effects of the following coastal hazards: flooding, storm surge, episodic erosion, chronic erosion, sea level rise, and extra-tropical storms. Reconstruction of residential development and the conversion of single family dwellings into multi-unit dwellings continues in hazardous areas… the value of property at risk is increasing significantly. With anticipated accelerating sea level rise and increasing storm frequency and intensity, vulnerability to the risks of coastal hazards will not abate; it will only become more costly. … “

14 Examples Current law provides a right to rebuild storm/flood damaged structures and does not adequately limit new development in high hazard areas and delineated flood zones. The rebuild provisions perpetuate unacceptable risks by allowing people and property to remain in harms way. Federal flood insurance program data reveal that NJ is one of the nation's worst states in terms of multiple filings of claims for the same property. These unnecessary risks not only adversely impact the environment, they impact the insurance rates of all NJ residents, especially those seeking flood insurance.

15 Coastal Area Facilities Review Act (CAFRA). Section 10 of CAFRA mandates that DEP make affirmative factual findings, prior to issuing any permit. A series of standards have to be met. Specifically, CAFRA provides: Conforming with all applicable air, water and radiation emission and effluent standards and all applicable water quality criteria and air quality standards. Preventing air emissions and water effluents in excess of the existing dilution, assimilative, and recovery capacities of the air and water environments at the site and within the surrounding region.

16 CAFRA Would result in minimal feasible impairment of the regenerative capacity of water aquifers or other ground or surface water supplies. Would cause minimal feasible interference with the natural functioning of plant, animal, fish, and human life processes at the site and within the surrounding region. Is located or constructed so as to neither endanger human life or property nor otherwise impair the public health, safety, and welfare. Would result in minimal practicable degradation of unique or irreplaceable land types, historical or archeological areas, and existing public scenic attributes at the site and within the surrounding region.

17 Numerous surface and ground waters, and DEP regulated pollutant discharges exceed the receiving waters’ assimilative pollutant capacity, violate water quality standards, and/or are classified by DEP as legally “water quality impaired”. For example, Barnegat Bay is showing signs of severe ecological distress, and potential collapse, due to high pollutant loadings from over development and loss of freshwater replenishment. More than 30% of natural freshwater flows to the Bay are now used by development and then discharged to the ocean by massive regional sewage treatment plants up and down the shore. Toxic algal blooms that have occurred in places like North Carolina are plausible, and would have devastating impacts on the tourism and recreational based shore economy. Ecologically rich estuarine waters are threatened by pollutant loads and increasingly listed by DEP as "impaired" under the Clean Water Act. VIOLATIONS OF CAFRA

18 In many localized towns and entire regions, the shore lacks sustainable water supply. Few shore residents are aware of the fact that to meet growing summer peak demand, private water purveyors blend polluted groundwater with cleaner water to attain drinking water standards. Salt water intrusion. The Legislature already established a moratorium on new water allocation permits in Cape May peninsula where saltwater intrusion forced a costly $5 million desalination plant. Lack of fresh water has placed shore towns under emergency development moratoria and mandatory water conservation Loss of habitat of various threatened or endangered species and/or rare ecological communities mapped by DEP’s “Landscape Project” and “Natural Heritage Priority” databases.

19 Miami, FL Developed Barrier Island

20 A 2002 NRDC Study The Atlantic coastlines of New York and New Jersey, much healthier than they were 30 years ago, are nonetheless imperiled today by widespread pollution and unchecked coastal development. According to the NRDC (2002) residential and commercial development that the authors say is causing serious and irreparable harm to highly valued sites such as Jamaica Bay, West Hampton Dunes, Cheesequake State Park, and the Meadowlands Wetlands.

21 A 2002 NRDC Study More than 35 million pounds of toxins, including zinc, cyanide, chloroform, toluene, and chromium were dumped into the waters stretching along the New Jersey coast and east along Long Island -- including New York Harbor. The report also cites the "Dirty Dozen," a list of the 12 biggest polluters in New York and New Jersey between the years 1995- 1999.

22 Among the Dirtiest –Jamaica Water Pollution Control Plant, Queens, N.Y. 144 violations for dumping raw sewage solids, fecal coliform, nitrogen, zinc, and lead into Jamaica Bay; –Plum Island Animal Disease Center, Suffolk County, N.Y. -- 130 violations for excessive effluent releases, high fecal coliform levels, high chlorine and ph levels, and the release of oil and grease; –Suffolk County Sd# 3 - Southwest Plant, Babylon, N.Y. -- 100 violations for high chlorine, fecal coliform, cyanide, copper, and zinc releases; –LaGuardia Airport Petroleum Bulk Stations, Queens, N.Y. -- 98 violations for releases of benzene, toluene, xylene, grease, oil and solids and; –Standard Chlorine Chemical Co., Kearney Town, N.J. -- 84 violations for high e-coli levels and dyes.



25 Climate Change & Sea Level Rise Anticipated climate changes will greatly amplify risks to coastal populations. By the end of the century, a 2 to 5-fold increase in rates of global sea level rise could lead to inundation of low-lying coastal regions, including wetlands, more frequent flooding due to storm surges, and worsening beach erosion (IPCC, 1996). Saltwater could penetrate further up rivers and estuaries, and infiltrate coastal aquifers, thereby contaminating urban water supplies.


27 Geologists are aware that the level of the ocean surface is not fixed, but instead a dynamic feature of our planet. Sea-level during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, 20,000 years ago) was 125 - 130 m lower than it is at the present time.

28 Using digital elevation data, geologists can develop maps showing the continental margins during episodes of lowered sea-level. The margin of the Gulf of Mexico and other parts of the western Atlantic as they would have appeared 20,000 years ago during the sea-level lowstand. Note that large areas of the continental shelf are exposed well above sea-level

29 Geologists can also model sea-level rise. Sea-level is 15 m higher than at present. Note the dramatic change in the outline of the Gulf of Mexico as much of south Florida is inundated. Also note that the Bahamas are completely submerged, and a narrow strip of land is all that remains of Cuba.


31 Louisiana alone has been losing land at rates between 24 and 40 square miles per year during the last 40 years, accounting for as much as 80% of the total US coastal wetland loss.

32 NY-NJ Changes In the metropolitan New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey region the coastal zone is squeezed between the hazards of flooding, beach erosion, and sea level rise and development pressures In this area, ongoing sea level rise and land subsidence have historically contributed to beach erosion, narrowing of barrier islands, and storm-related damages.


34 Global Sea Level Trends Mean global sea level has been increasing by 0.04 to 0.1 in/yr (1-2.5 mm/yr), for the last 150 years, with 0.07 in/yr (1.8 mm/yr) considered the "best estimate" (Warrick et al.,1996; Gornitz, 1995). This is the most rapid rate within the last few thousand years (Varekamp and Thomas, 1998; Gornitz,1995) and is probably linked to the 20th century global warming of nearly 1°F (0.5°C) (IPCC, 1996). Additional evidence of warming comes from the world's oceans, where temperatures have risen an average of 0.1°F (0.06°C) between 1955 and 1995, down to a depth of around 10,000 ft (3000 m; Levitus et al., 2000).

35 Global Sea Level Trends Most of the observed sea level rise can be attributed to thermal expansion of the upper ocean layers and melting of mountain glaciers, with nearly zero contributions from polar ice sheets at present The future of the Antarctic ice sheet introduces a major uncertainty into sea level projections.

36 Global Sea Level Trends A large part of the West Antarctic ice sheet is potentially unstable because it rests on land now below sea level or forms floating ice shelves, which are locally "pinned" or stabilized by submarine ridges. These prevent rapid discharge of ice from fast-moving ice streams. Ocean warming could eventually thin and "unpin" these shelves, which would accelerate the calving of icebergs into the ocean. The melting of this additional ice over several centuries could raise sea level by some 16.4-19.7 feet (5-6 meters).

37 Regional Sea Level Trends Sea level has been rising along the U.S. East Coast since the end of the last glaciation. Although most deglaciation ended over 6000 years ago, sea level has continued to change due to the time lag with which the earth's crust has responded to the redistribution of mass on its surface following the removal of the ice (i.e., glacial isostatic changes). These sea level changes are spatially non- uniform over time scales of thousands of years to the present.

38 Regional Sea Level Trends At present, the rate of relative sea level rise in the NY-NJ region varies between 0.09 in/yr (2.20 mm/yr; Port Jefferson, Long Island) and 0.15 in/yr (3.85 mm/yr; Sandy Hook, New Jersey In New York City, the rate is 0.11 in/yr (2.73 mm/yr, These values lie above the estimated global mean SLR, because of the ongoing regional subsidence, but vary slightly from place to place due to various local factors.


40 The projections are for New York City's Battery. The curve labeled CCGG reflects data from the Canadian Climate Centre for Modeling and Analysis, for greenhouse gases only; CCGS also refers to Canadian Climate Centre data, but including sulfate aerosols as well. Similarly, the curve labeled HCGG reflects data from the Hadley Centre, again for greenhouse gases only; HHGS also refers to Hadley data, but including sulfate aerosols. Last, GISS GG data are from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), with greenhouse gases only; GISS GS data, also from GISS, include sulfate aerosols


42 Flood risk zone, New York City metropolitan area.

43 Sea-level rise projections based on a model of projected CO 2 increases of 2x and 4x present levels. These projections only include thermal expansion of ocean waters and do not take into consideration melting continental ice sheets.

44 View of the Statue of Liberty if the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets were to completely melt (from K. Miller, Rutgers University).

45 Correlation between global temperature and sea-level rise during the last century (from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 1990).



48 Estimated coastal land area susceptible to permanent inundation applying sea level rise projections of 0.61 m and 1.22 m in New Jersey.

49 Historic shoreline positions at Cape May Point, New Jersey, 1879-1977.

50 Coastal Stressors Independent of Climate The coastal zone in the NY-NJ region is subjected to a number of natural and human-induced pressures. Beaches are continually changing as sand is shifted by waves, tides, and currents. In the region, beaches are eroding and barrier islands narrowed or driven landward, in part due to ongoing sea level rise and land subsidence.

51 Coastal Stressors Independent of Climate The relative vulnerability of different coastal environments to sea level rise has been quantified at regional to national scales using information on coastal geomorphology, rates of relative sea level rise, past shoreline movement, topography, and other factors (Gornitz and White, 1992; Gornitz et al., 1994). These physical variables are then combined into a Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI), which ranks the relative vulnerability of the coast into one of four risk categories (from high to low)




55 Rates of shoreline erosion (in meters/yr).

56 Coastal Stressors Independent of Climate Most of the south shore of Long Island and the New Jersey coast, which consist predominantly of barrier islands, lie in the High to Very High risk categories. Some of the highest population growth rates in the United States occur in coastal counties. In the Tri-State area, coastal populations have grown by around 17% between 1960 and 1995, with 7 coastal counties displaying growth rates exceeding 100%

57 Coastal Stressors Independent of Climate High-rise residential complexes are sprouting at water's edge in Jersey City, Hoboken, Edgewater, New Jersey and Battery Park City, lower Manhattan New houses are being built on the dunes of the Hamptons, in eastern Long Island, where many expensive homes were lost during severe nor'easters in the winter of 1992-1993 Beaches and other open coastal areas represent a prime recreational resource, which offers the urban population relief from the summer heat, swimming, fishing, boating, and other leisure activities. As population continues to grow and additional land is converted to higher density urban uses, less opportunity remains to expand existing public parks and beaches.

58 Aerial view of Little Pikes inlet, Westhampton Beach, after the December 1992 nor’easter.



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