Initiatives | Shoreline Management | Planning, Policy and Regulatory

Planning, Policy and Regulatory Approaches to Shoreline Management


Planning, policy and regulatory approaches to shoreline management are intended to influence human use and development near the shoreline. These approaches can be preventative measures to avoid the need for physical shoreline stabilization. They can also be implemented in response to shoreline erosion when physical shoreline stabilization would be too costly, ineffective or undesirable. While each planning, policy or regulatory approach discussed in more detail below has merit by itself, coastal managers often find a combination of these methods are the most effective way to guard against erosion threats and to manage the shoreline.

Developing strong shoreline management policies, regulations and planning approaches is very important as they are the only way to effectively reduce, or avoid altogether, the need for costly erosion control measures. Effective shoreline management policies can also help maintain the natural shoreline dynamics and preserve important coastal environments. Therefore, planning, policy and regulatory approaches should be employed as the first line of defense against erosion. Despite the numerous benefits these tools offer, implementing these approaches can be technically and politically difficult, especially when good scientific data is lacking or where significant shoreline development has already occurred.