Surfrider Foundation releases their 2017 State of the Beach Report Card

How does your beach stack up?

Since the year 2000, the Surfrider Foundation has compiled research and data from all the coastal states in the U.S. to produce their State of the Beach Report Card.

Created as a coastal management resource, it grades each coastal state on a range of issues like beach access, surfing, water quality, beach erosion and more.

The 2017 State of the Beach Report Card was recently released, and this year Surfrider decided to focus on how 30 U.S. coastal states are dealing with coastal erosion, haphazard development and sea level rise.

Do you know how your beach grades out? Photo: Courtesy of Surfrider

“The results reveal that 22 out of 30 states, and the territory of Puerto Rico, are performing at adequate to poor levels, with the lowest grades located in regions that are most heavily impacted by extreme weather events,” Surfrider states in their release.

Graded on an “A to F” scale, 13 states scored a D or F. With 40-percent of the nation living in coastal areas, that’s definitely concerning. Especially since “coastal erosion causes approximately $500 million in coastal property loss annually in the U.S,” according to Surfrider’s report.

Surfrider CEO Dr. Chad Nelson said in the press release for the report:

“Our beaches are disappearing at alarming rates, and our report shows that the majority of states do not have strong policies in place to protect our coasts, or worse, have loopholes that actually prevent it. A glaring trend of the report reveals that many of the areas hit hardest from recent extreme weather events, are the least prepared to address coastal erosion, rising sea levels and the increasing impacts of climate change.”

Only eight states were given grades of “fair” or “better” (A or B) at protecting beaches. These include Maine, Washington, California, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

The grades. Graphic: Courtesy of Surfrider

The report is not all doom and gloom, however, as there were many key coastal prevention accomplishments from the past year highlighted in the report.

Instances like the closure of the last coastal sand-mining plant in the U.S., saving 270,000 cubic yards of sand a year from being illegally removed from the Monterey, California coast; the upholding of seawall permit conditions in Encinitas, California; the protection of 200 acres along the Oregon coast saved from golf course development; the designation of 6,200 acres of coastal land in Humboldt, Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo Counties as Coastal National Monuments.

With Surfrider estimating sea levels increasing by up to six feet by 2100, victories like these must be the momentum forward for further progress in protecting our coasts. As the report states in its conclusion:

“The cumulative effects of development and coastal armoring are squeezing our beaches, creating long-term erosion problems that are increasingly compounded by climate change impacts. The results of Surfrider’s State of the Beach Report Card reveal the critical need for improved coastal management practices to mitigate and reduce the impacts of coastal erosion and sea level rise.”

You can read the entire 2017 Surfrider State of the Beach Report Card here.

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