An Assessment of the Soft Approach to CZM

by Stephen M. Born, Univ of Wisconsin-Madison, USA,
Allen H. Miller, Univ of Wisconsin-Madison, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '87


During the early development of the national coastal zone management program there was no federal prescription with regard to how coastal states should proceed in establishing their programs institutionally. At one end of the spectrum was the California model--a new coastal 'super-agency' with power not only to plan, but to regulate development. At the other end of the spectrum was an approach which relied on existing agencies and authorities and improved policy development and coordination; this approach--perceived as a 'soft' approach by some observers--was described as 'networking. ' Several states, including Wisconsin, were leading examples of this approach. Many coastal advocacy groups, academics, and bureaucrats viewed the 'softer' model with skepticism. With more than a decade of experience, we here review and critique the efficacy of this approach to coastal management. Given that the establishment of regional institutions with broad new regulatory powers tends to be a political 'rare event' in the United States, lessons learned from experimentation with 'soft' coastal management programs may provide important lessons for other comparable land and water resources management efforts.

Subject Headings: Coastal environment | Hydro power | Sea water | Water resources | Resource management | Federal government | Colleges and universities | Coastal management | United States | California | Wisconsin

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