Assessing the Benefits of Clean, Healthy Beaches

by Howard Marlowe,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Sand Rights '99: Bringing Back the Beaches


Today, there is a need for a national economic benefits study that will enable policy makers to understand what return they can expect from an investment of taxpayer dollars in a coastal infrastructure investment. This paper assesses what is currently known about the economic benefits which are related to beach recreation, tourism, storm protection, and environmental habitat. It outlines recommendations for the development of a comprehensive set of data on all of the benefits derived from America's coastal regions. Although coastal areas comprise one-fifth of the land area of the contiguous 48 states of America, they account for more than a half of the nation's population and housing supply. Each year, more and more new homes are constructed in coastal areas. This growth is posing challenges to the environment. Addressing such challenges, the American Coastal Coalition is initiating the establishment of a Coastal Trust Fund and creation of a Presidential Commission on Coastal and Beach Management.

Subject Headings: Coastal management | Economic factors | Beaches | Investments | Infrastructure | Ecological restoration | Water-based recreation

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