Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Smart growth solutions can help coastal, waterfront communities address climate change, other challenges

Environmental Protection Agency (US): The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies have released a first-of-its-kind smart growth guide that will help coastal and waterfront communities tackle threats from sea level rise, stronger hurricanes, flooding and other challenges.

More than half the U.S. population lives in coastal counties, 180 million people visit coastal areas every year, and many others visit lake and riverfront communities. Smart growth approaches can help waterfront communities accommodate their unique growth and development challenges and be more resilient to weather- and climate-related hazards, while protecting their traditional values.

"We're working to protect the extraordinary natural resources at the heart of recreational and economic opportunities in waterfront and coastal communities," said EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water Michael H. Shapiro. "This new guide -- the first of its kind -- will help coastal and waterfront communities implement Smart Growth and sustainable development strategies, protect beneficial natural resources, and ensure that we are prepared for the environmental and economic challenges of the years ahead."

…The new interagency guide, aimed at planners, local government officials, developers, non-profit groups, and coastal and waterfront residents, includes a description of tools and techniques for applying smart growth guidelines, with case studies illustrating the guidelines in action. For example, communities can (1) protect and restore natural buffers between the community and water; (2) align natural hazard planning with development plans; (3) promote waterfront revitalization, including retrofitting historic properties for new uses; and (4) provide a variety of land and water-based options that accommodate seasonal fluctuations in transportation needs…

Cape Hatteras Light is a lighthouse located on Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina near the community of Buxton. The Outer Banks are a group of islands on the North Carolina coast that separate the Atlantic Ocean from the coastal sounds and inlets. Atlantic currents in this area made for excellent travel for ships, except in the area of Diamond Shoals, just offshore at Cape Hatteras. Shot by Jim Gordon from Biloxi, MS, USA, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.