Coastal Hazards & Targeted Acquisitions: A Reasonable Shoreline Management Alternative

Published: Monday, 05 August 2019 Print Email

North Topsail Beach, North Carolina Case Study

NTB July 1 2019 14

This recently published study is the first of several case studies to be released by the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines (PSDS), directed by Prof. Robert Young, one of the CCMS AC members.

In this study, the coastal researchers examining the feasibility and economics of targeted acquisition strategies in oceanfront and resort communities. Buyouts of vulnerable properties have become an increasingly popular tool for reducing future exposure in flood-prone communities across the USA.

PSDS approach is to first examine the exposure of properties on North Topsail beach, North Carolina to coastal hazards using a Vulnerability Assessment Protocol developed for examining infrastructure vulnerability in the National Park Service. The most exposed properties are identified and a coherent, contiguous group is selected for a fiscal analysis regarding a buyout’s costs and impacts. The analysis of costs includes purchasing the properties, removal costs, and lost tax revenues. The quantifiable benefits include reduced expenditures for coastal protection, engineering design/permitting, and maintenance.

PSDS goal for this series of reports is philosophical as much as practical. Invariably, buyout plans in oceanfront communities are viewed as too costly or impractical to be seriously considered. The researchers hope, that coastal communities will give more serious consideration to these buyouts as a beneficial management tool, and we hope that these case studies will spur meaningful discussion.

This proposal represents a first cut at how one might approach a scientific and fiscal analysis of targeted acquisitions for one such community - North Topsail Beach, North Carolina. The analysis shows that, in this case, the quantifiable benefits and costs result in a savings over the next 30 years. There are many unquantifiable benefits to these targeted acquisitions; however, the real benefit will be a chance to ensure the longer-term economic vitality of the more sustainable portions of the community. This is a way to strengthen North Topsail Beach, not diminish it.

Access the full report here!

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