Sunday, June 26, 2022 |
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SPECIAL TO TGI –
This summer, close to 150 million Americans are expected to visit the nation’s ocean beaches. The question is, what will they find there?
Will the water be clean? Will the beach be accessible to the public? And in some cases, will there even be sand on the beach?
Answer can be found in Surfrider Foundation’s 2001 State of the Beach Report, which identifies the good, the bad and the ugly of how America is managing its coastal resources. The report’s goal is to help local citizens and governments monitor their beaches.
Surfrider officials said they approached the report from the perspective of a recreational user group that spends more time in the ocean than any other. For that reason, the report engages the general public as well as politicians and coastal management experts, according to the foundation.
Orrin Pilkey, professor of geology and director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Duke University, said the State of the Beach Report communicates “complex coastal issues in a manner that is easily digestible to the general public.”
Surfer magazine called last year’s report “the most important surf magazine released in America” in 2000.
The 2001 report focuses on information availability and the current status of six beach health indicators for the 20 coastal states where the Surfrider Foundation has chapters.
Beach health indicators include beach access, surf zone water quality, shoreline structures, beach erosion, beach nourishment and surfing areas. The report tracks the changes in the public availability of state-level coastal information and the status of indicators of beach health since last year’s report.
Sixty-three percent of the time, the information from the states was either not available or it was difficult to obtain or understand, Surfrider reported. Overall, the results of the study reiterate the need for more accessible and easy-to-understand information so the public can make more informed decisions, Surfrider officials said.
“While we did see some improvement in the states’ ability to provide information on beaches, there is still a dire need for improvement,” said Chad Nelsen, Surfrider’s environmental director and the author of the report. “It is imperative for all coastal states to engage their citizenry in the protection of the aesthetic and economic value of their beaches by providing them with understandable information on the state of their beaches. As it stands, the vast majority of the states are failing in this regard.”
Consequently, the long-term prospects of a healthy coastal zone are an unknown, he said.
Surfrider recommends that the B.E.A.C.H. Bill be implemented quickly and funded fully by Congress to finally ensure that all states have the same water-quality testing standards. The report also recommends that states create a policy against hardening of shorelines and improve the public dissemination of coastal erosion information.
The 2001 State of the Beach Report is available on-line at www.surfrider.org/stateofthebeach . Beach.com International, an Internet beach content company supplying beach-related travel, shopping and information services, donated the Web design of the report.
The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit environmental organization with 50 grassroots chapters and 27,000 members in the U.S.
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