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Can Coastal Management Programs Protect and Promote Water-Dependent Uses?

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Anecdotal evidence indicates that commercial and recreational water-dependent uses have been under development pressure in recent years, and in some cases have been converted to other uses. The conversion of water-dependent uses, which range from commercial shipyards to recreational marinas, may have many public costs, including the loss of access to public trust waters, the loss of jobs and associated economic activity, and the loss of traditional working waterfronts. This two-part study investigated the role of five coastal management programs in the northeastern United States in managing, monitoring, and protecting water-dependent uses. First, coastal managers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey were interviewed to assess the conversion problem. Second, in collaboration with New York City-based Regional Plan Association, follow-up interviews were conducted with coastal managers and local planners in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey to gain greater insight into the role of coastal management programs and local governments in managing and promoting water-dependent uses. This article presents select findings from this study and discusses recommendations for improving the capacity of coastal management programs and local governments to manage water-dependent uses for the benefit of the public.

Keywords: Coastal Zone Management Act; coastal management; land use planning; water-dependent uses; waterfronts; working waterfronts

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Marine Affairs, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2010

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