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🗣️ "State Of The Beach"


Photo by Marek Piwnicki / Unsplash

Host: Travis Loop
Guest: Stefanie Sekich-Quinn | Coastal Preservation Manager | Surfrider Foundation
Category: 🗣️ Opinion

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[7:01] “This year, nine states improved a letter grade [in terms of their beaches] which is very significant. […] Georgia had the biggest increase. It went from an F to a C-, [because] they basically have upped their sea level rise planning tremendously. […] The reason why there's some changes is twofold. Climate change is so in our face that I think states have finally been forced to plan for sea level rise. […] I feel like coastal managers are forced into a reckoning right now. […] And then a second reason is that these states go to the federal government through NOAA and every five years, they put together like a packet that says look at all these great things we're doing. And then they show if they've passed a new law or policy, or if they're doing something administratively, meaning that an agency can change rulemaking without having to go to the legislature. And so they say, look how great we're doing, they'll give us money.”

[10:02] “The flip side is that 67% of [coastal] states […] are not prepared [for sea level rise].

[10:48] “There's four buckets that we grade. […] We grade on development standards. […] Are they building straight to the coastline? What development standards do they have in place? How do they deal with sea walls, which is coastal armoring, [which] exacerbates erosion? […] How are they dealing with sea level rise planning? And then how do they manage their beaches? […] So in those four categories, we really want to have each category have their own points. And oftentimes poor development standards are the number one thing holding all these states back.

[15:41] “California was the only A for the whole time we've been doing this specific version of the report. And then this year, Maine and Maryland got As. And what they did is they upped protecting environmentally sensitive habitat, and habitat that will help buffer sea level rise. So they're really again, not only just having great development standards, but they improved protecting open spaces, environmentally sensitive habitat, they doubled down again on sea level rise planning.”

[21:26] “I feel like there's not enough political will in [coastal] areas to really push the climate change and sea level rise planning that needs to take place. And if you lack a political will in your community it's like pushing a boulder uphill. […] Another thing that's really important is finances. Some of these states just don't have the finances to hire planners or do vulnerability studies or whatever. […] The previous administration really, really hamstrung all of our coastal states. And unfortunately, when you have that lack of leadership and foresight in places that already lacked political will, they almost slide back a little bit. So and then finally, the most important reason is because they lack good laws and policies.”

Rating: 💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 32 min | 🗓️ 12/15/2021
✅ Time saved: 30 min

Additional Links:
Surfrider Foundation: “State of the Beach Report 2021”