by Rachel Christopherson

surfer walking on beach next to seawall
Seawall in southern California (Credit: Pixabay public domain images )

California’s coast is one of the premier locations to live in the world. Home to millions of people, as well as a great diversity of natural features and habitats, it is also a place that is disappearing from beneath our feet. Over 30 percent of southern California’s coast is now a fortress against nature. But the fortress undermines itself. Sea walls and armoring protect properties for a time, but result in accelerated erosion in other parts of the shore, which eventually threatens even larger stretches of shore. In a study published in 2016, the Center for the Blue Economy and the Nature Conservancy put forward the concept of a market-based tradable permit system for shoreline protection. The incentive for land owners is a simpler system to navigate with less time for permitting (currently it can take years to get any kind of permit). The incentive from the environmental policy side is a more holistic, nature based management approach that will look at the entire coastline and the effects of each individual action on the entire system. Initial outcomes of this study show that indeed this marketplace approach is less hassle for homeowners while improving ecological impacts. The Nature Conservancy is pursuing funding for a more in-depth study that could be used to approach lawmakers for policy creation. 

For More Information

Read the Research Paper:  Tradeable Permits for Shoreline Protection