Sea Grant Extension helps address beach erosion on coast

beachfront property sits on an eroding cliff
Higher rates of beach erosion in recent decades are a threat to beachfront property. (Courtesy Oregon Sea Grant Communications.)

OSU convenes community planning on coastal erosion, flooding and landslides

OSU scientists have recorded more erosion along Oregon's 360-mile coast in recent decades because of higher waves crashing into beaches and more frequent storms. Such erosion threatens highly valuable beachfront property, public infrastructure, and local tourism, which is a major component of the Oregon coastal economy. Visitors spent $1.66 billion on the Oregon coast in 2013, resulting in the employment of 20,000 people and the generation of $64 million in state and local tax receipts.

So OSU's Sea Grant Extension is helping coastal communities develop strategies to address coastal erosion, flooding and associated hazards. Additionally, it's connecting local elected leaders and citizens with university researchers and agency personnel so they can exchange information, hear concerns and make plans to protect human life and property—all of which aim to preserve and promote economic vitality on the coast.

Sea Grant Extension also leads a creative project to “envision” alternative scenarios of development on the coastal strip. Driven in response to uncertainty associated with climate change, these sophisticated “what-if scenarios” use research and physical, social and economic data to see how policy options affect the environment.

Sources: Oregon Coast Visitors Association; "Oregon Travel Impacts, 1991-2013" report by Dean Runyan Associates; Pat Corcoran, a coastal hazards outreach specialist with Oregon Sea Grant Extension.

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