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Articles on Coastal development

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Eelgrasses covered with small snails, which keep the leaves clean by feeding on algae that live on them. Jonathan Lefcheck

Restoring seagrasses can bring coastal bays back to life

Healthy seagrasses form underwater meadows teeming with fish and shellfish. A successful large-scale restoration project in Virginia could become a model for reseeding damaged seagrass beds worldwide.
Punta Ventana, a popular tourist attraction near Guayanilla, Puerto Rico, before and after the Jan. 6 earthquake. AFP/Getty/Wikipedia

Puerto Rico earthquakes imperil island’s indigenous heritage

Puerto Rico was once home to about 110,000 Taínos, an indigenous people decimated by the Spanish conquest. Their ancient homeland was located in the area hit hard by recent earthquakes.
Surf threatens beach houses on Dauphin Island, Alabama, September 4, 2011 during Tropical Storm Lee. AP Photo/Dave Martin

Why are Atlantic and Gulf coast property owners building back bigger after hurricanes?

'Building back better' refers to making communities more disaster-proof and resilient after they take a hit. But instead, some US owners are building back bigger homes in vulnerable places.
Underwater view of waves breaking over a healthy coral reef, reducing wave energy at the shoreline that can cause flooding. Curt Storlazzi, USGS

Coral reefs provide flood protection worth $1.8 billion every year – it’s time to protect them

A new report shows that coral reefs reduce damage from floods across the United States and its trust territories by more than $1.8 billion every year – and pinpoints that value state by state.
Wetlands are feeding, nesting and breeding sites for migratory birds, such as these sandhill cranes in Minnesota. USFWS/Kris Spaeth

What good are wetlands? 5 essential reads

The Trump administration is sharply reducing environmental protection for wetlands and streams across the US. This roundup of stories spotlights the many benefits that such water bodies provide.
Protecting coastal wetlands, like this slough in Florida’s Everglades National Park, is a cost-effective way to reduce flooding and storm damage. NPS/C. Rivas

Protecting wetlands helps communities reduce damage from hurricanes and storms

Coastal development is destroying marshes, mangroves and other wetlands that provide valuable protection from hurricanes and storms. Research shows these benefits can be worth millions of dollars.
The original conflict between development and preservation of natural assets is broadening as the risks of climate change become ever more obvious. Crystal Ja/AAP

Contested spaces: conflict behind the sand dunes takes a new turn

Conflicts over coastal areas have largely been between development and preserving what makes these attractive places to live. Rising sea levels are now complicating our relationship with the coast.
While some councils wish to take a long-term view of what can reasonably be done in the face of sea-level rises, private property owners just want their homes protected. AAP/Dan Peled

Coastal law shift from property rights to climate adaptation is a landmark reform

Many properties are at risk from rising sea levels, with owners and councils at odds over the costs of defending these. NSW law reform may lead to more forward-looking climate change adaptation.
In the aftermath of 2012’s deadly Hurricane Sandy, New York launched a US$20 billion plan to defend the city against future storms as well as rising sea levels. David Shankbone/Flickr

Sea level rise is real – which is why we need to retreat from unrealistic advice

Managing the impacts of rising seas for some communities is being made more difficult by the actions of governments, homeowners – and even some well-intentioned climate adaptation experts.

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