Many of the environmental challenges along our nation’s coasts begin with the decisions we make about how to use our land, yet many communities lack access to effective land use planning tools or the capacity to use them. CICEET’s Living Coasts Program was created to address this critical need by providing coastal communities with more effective tools to grow in a way that preserves water quality, protects natural areas, and improves quality of life.
Living Coasts was launched in fall of 2007. Currently, thirteen teams working in 20 coastal states have received grants under this program. These projects are powered by scientists and outreach specialists from academia, the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and federal, state, and local government agencies. Each team is working with a committed community partner. Collectively, they address priority land use issues such as comprehensive planning, natural resource protection, the need to balance economic and ecological health, and stormwater management.
Development pressure, combined with rising sea levels and more frequent extreme storms have made this a critical time for all organizations with a hand in managing coastal resources to find ways to work together to plan for the future. CICEET will expand the Living Coasts Program in the near future to provide tools that communities living along sheltered coasts can use to help stabilize the shoreline, protect property, and promote healthy habitats.