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Guy Billout, “Civil Engineering” 
Atlantic Monthly (2001) 
Shoreline Change in Urban Massachusetts: 
Erosion as Pollution?...
Acknowledgements 
Funding: 
•Northeast Sea Grant Consortium 
•NSF/Coastal SEES 
•NSF/CNH 
•WHOI Coastal Ocean Institute 
•...
Outline 
•Two analytical approaches 
•Yohe et al.’s market-based adaptation to SLR 
•Kriesel et al.’s empirical studies of...
“The ocean is huge, powerful, and eternal. Puny man can scarcely expect to win by overwhelming it, and anyone who counters...
Some Relevant Socio-economic Studies 
Sea-level rise (Yohe et al.): Normative 
Erosion risk (Kriesel et al.): Positive 
...
Adaptation in the Face of Sea-Level Rise (Yohe et al.) 
•Socially optimal timing: 
•Delay 
•Protect 
•Abandon 
Sea Ranch, ...
t0* T*(t0*) 
“Yohe Rule” 
Delay Protect Abandon 
0 
( ) 
* 
0 b A VC 
rFC 
t 
 
 
b is the rate of sea-level rise 
Inund...
“Market-Based” Adaptation to Sea-Level Rise (Yohe et al.) 
•≤ 1m rise over the next century 
•Decisions: delay (no action)...
Optimal abandonment assumptions: 
• good estimate of SLR rate 
• assume society won’t step in to rescue 
Woods Hole, MA 20...
Some Problems with Market-Based-Adaptation 
•Subsidies (NFIP, ACoE) 
•Incomplete information 
•External effects of individ...
Shoreline Erosion Costs (Kriesel et al.) 
•Analysis of the market for coastal housing 
•Models the risk associated with sh...
Model of Housing Prices: PH = f (S,N,Q,ε) 
•S = structural characteristics 
•Land area 
•Living area 
•Number of bedrooms,...
Estimating Erosion Costs 
(Kriesel et al.) 
• Data on the geographic position 
of shorelines over time => 
shoreline chang...
Urban Areas 
•Urban areas comprise urbanized areas (UAs) and urban clusters (UCs) 
•An “urbanized area” is an urban area o...
Massachusetts South Shore 
•Combination of urbanized areas and urban clusters 
•Hingham 22,157 
•Hull 10,293 
•Cohasset 7,...
Massachusetts Coastal Structures (n=3,767) 
•Seawalls 
•Revetments 
•Groynes, Jetties 
•Bulkheads 
•Gabions 
•Dune reconst...
“If the [coastal engineer] builds any new shoreline facilities that stop the flow of sand, there will be trouble both at t...
Problems with Massachusetts Hard Structures 
www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/02/09/lose-power-storm-expected-continue-into-...
•MCZM now compiling data on vintages, conditions, repair costs 
•Many gaps in the data 
•Ownership (=> responsibility for ...
The Gurnet Plymouth, MA
A Negotiated Solution? (Kriesel et al. 2000) 
•Inland property owners observe significant premiums in home values due to t...
A Negotiated Solution in Massachusetts? 
•But in Massachusetts, private property rights extend to mean low water (i.e., th...
Harlow’s Landing Plymouth, MA
Harlow’s Landing Plymouth, MA 
•Structure(s): 172’ Revetment (with some seawall sections), built circa 1959(?); another st...
EROSION AS POLLUTION 
•When a seawall is constructed, the homes behind the seawall gain more years prior to inundation 
•T...
Economic Effects 
•The net effect depends upon: 
•Erosion rates 
•Property positions and values 
•Construction costs 
•Cha...
Impacts on Natural Areas?
Potential Policy Solutions 
•Uncertainty makes negotiated solutions problematic 
•Retreat from the coast likely now optima...
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Erosion As Pollution: The net economic and shoreline effects of coastal structures

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This is an update to the presentation, "Shoreline Change in Urban Massachusetts, Time for Retreat?"

Inland property owners observe significant premiums in home values due to the existence of beaches for recreation in front of proximate waterfront properties. As erosion occurs, waterfront property owners seek to protect their properties with hard structures (seawalls, revetments) often waterfront property owners have the legal right to do this.

A negotiated solution? “In theory,” to protect their own home values, inland property owners could pay waterfront property owners to forego hard structural protections or to replenish sand on the beach.

- from slide 21, Hoagland, Granquist, 2014, Shoreline Change in Urban Massachusetts: Erosion as Pollution?

Published in: Environment
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Erosion As Pollution: The net economic and shoreline effects of coastal structures

  1. 1. Guy Billout, “Civil Engineering” Atlantic Monthly (2001) Shoreline Change in Urban Massachusetts: Erosion as Pollution? Porter Hoagland Marine Policy Center Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Lisa Granquist Ph.D. Candidate Law & Public Policy Northeastern University VIMS October 24, 2014
  2. 2. Acknowledgements Funding: •Northeast Sea Grant Consortium •NSF/Coastal SEES •NSF/CNH •WHOI Coastal Ocean Institute •WHOI Marine Policy Center •Data and Analysis: •Andy Beet •Andy Fallon •Jim O’Connell •Rob Thieler •Other colleagues: •Andrew Ashton •Ilya Buynevich •Jeff Donnelly •Steve Eberbach •Rob Evans •Di Jin •Hauke Kite-Powell •Jorge Lorenzo-Trueba
  3. 3. Outline •Two analytical approaches •Yohe et al.’s market-based adaptation to SLR •Kriesel et al.’s empirical studies of erosion risk •Massachusetts case: extensive coastal armoring •Implications of armoring •Erosion as pollution •Future policies
  4. 4. “The ocean is huge, powerful, and eternal. Puny man can scarcely expect to win by overwhelming it, and anyone who counters its attack with brute-force solutions is doomed to expensive disappointment.” Willard Bascom Waves and Beaches (1961) http://www.panoramio.com/photo/34182602 Minot Beach Community Scituate, MA 2010
  5. 5. Some Relevant Socio-economic Studies Sea-level rise (Yohe et al.): Normative Erosion risk (Kriesel et al.): Positive Also: •Barrier alterations and vulnerability (McNamara, Werner) •Beach nourishment between linked communities (Slott, Smith, Murray) •Coordinated management of curved beaches (Jin, Ashton, Hoagland) •Beaches and coastal property values (Landry, Pompe, Edwards) •Optimal nourishment of beaches (Smith, Murray, Gopalakrishnan) •Non-market values (Landry, Parsons, Whitehead)
  6. 6. Adaptation in the Face of Sea-Level Rise (Yohe et al.) •Socially optimal timing: •Delay •Protect •Abandon Sea Ranch, CA 2009 Chatham, MA 2009 Springhill Beach Sandwich, MA 2008 Springhill Beach Sandwich, MA 2008 Massachusetts coastal urban areas
  7. 7. t0* T*(t0*) “Yohe Rule” Delay Protect Abandon 0 ( ) * 0 b A VC rFC t   b is the rate of sea-level rise Inundation $ Appreciation Depreciation
  8. 8. “Market-Based” Adaptation to Sea-Level Rise (Yohe et al.) •≤ 1m rise over the next century •Decisions: delay (no action), protect, abandon •Two main types of costs •Protection (construction and maintenance) •Abandoned land •Market-based adaptation •Economically rational “adaptation” •Structures could depreciate with inundation “foresight” •Society: waterfront “premium” is not lost •US “true economic cost” of SLR: ~$300m per year
  9. 9. Optimal abandonment assumptions: • good estimate of SLR rate • assume society won’t step in to rescue Woods Hole, MA 2008
  10. 10. Some Problems with Market-Based-Adaptation •Subsidies (NFIP, ACoE) •Incomplete information •External effects of individual protection decisions •Storms •Public infrastructure (Plum Island) →Remove subsidies? →Science, insurance →Regulation (but variances often granted) →Pilings, setbacks, others
  11. 11. Shoreline Erosion Costs (Kriesel et al.) •Analysis of the market for coastal housing •Models the risk associated with shoreline change, while attempting to control for other factors affecting market price •Asks: does the market incorporate information about the risk of coastal hazards—including SLR? •Test of whether properties actually “depreciate” as the threat of shoreline change grows
  12. 12. Model of Housing Prices: PH = f (S,N,Q,ε) •S = structural characteristics •Land area •Living area •Number of bedrooms, bathrooms •Type of construction •Age of house •Age of sale (market trends) •N = neighborhood characteristics •Quality of Schools •Crime Rate •Distance to Town Center •Public transportation •Roads •Q = environmental characteristics •Waterfront property •Beach width •Distance to the coastline •Erosion risk •Flood risk •Wind damage risk •Beach nourishment •Armoring
  13. 13. Estimating Erosion Costs (Kriesel et al.) • Data on the geographic position of shorelines over time => shoreline change rates • Measure the distances from coastal properties to the shorelines • Calculate the “time to inundation” for coastal properties • Estimate the costs of erosion risks using hedonic pricing approaches 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 expected years away from the shoreline % of 200 yr value Kriesel Atlantic 1978-1994 Linear Model 1952-2005 Linear Model
  14. 14. Urban Areas •Urban areas comprise urbanized areas (UAs) and urban clusters (UCs) •An “urbanized area” is an urban area of 50,000 or more people •An “urban cluster” is an urban area of between 2,500 to 50,000 people •Dark blue indicates 80-100% of the coastal Massachusetts population resides in urban areas (with the exceptions of Dukes and Nantucket counties) http://www.census.gov/geo/www/maps/2010_census_UA_maps/imgs/UA2010_Urban_Pop_Map.pdf
  15. 15. Massachusetts South Shore •Combination of urbanized areas and urban clusters •Hingham 22,157 •Hull 10,293 •Cohasset 7,542 •Scituate 18,133 •Marshfield 25,132 •Duxbury 15,059 •Kingston 12,629 •Plymouth 56,468 •Bourne 19,754 •Sandwich 20,675 •TOTAL 207,842 people http://www2.census.gov/geo/maps/dc10map/UAUC_RefMap/ua/ua09271_boston_ma--nh--ri/DC10UA09271.pdf
  16. 16. Massachusetts Coastal Structures (n=3,767) •Seawalls •Revetments •Groynes, Jetties •Bulkheads •Gabions •Dune reconstructions •Beach nourishments Source: MCZM
  17. 17. “If the [coastal engineer] builds any new shoreline facilities that stop the flow of sand, there will be trouble both at the place where the sand stops and the place where it would have gone.” Willard Bascom (1961) http://www.marineinsight.com/misc/marine-safety/a-barrier-with-a-difference-sea-walls/ “Sea walls are extremely utilitarian … it becomes important to build such preventive structures in order to lessen the menace of … natural calamities and to assure the people of their safety through a very visible, physically demonstrative and effective barrier.” MarineInsight.com (2010)
  18. 18. Problems with Massachusetts Hard Structures www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/02/09/lose-power-storm-expected-continue-into-midday/1I0rzzSPGsdJ58jf0LfFIK/picture.html http://www.boston.com/yourtown/scituate/articles/2011/05/29/scituate_sea_wall_repairs_to_be_done_in_several_cycles/ “Attempting to halt the natural process of erosion with seawalls and other hard structures … simply shifts the problem, subjecting downdrift property owners to similar losses.” “…the undermining of sea walls, some of which are many decades old, can result in significant economic and emotional loss in a system of fixed property lines and ownership. “ Both quotes are from the “Draft Old Colony Hazard Mitigation Plan” (2012) Scituate, MA “Winter Storm Nemo” (February 2013)
  19. 19. •MCZM now compiling data on vintages, conditions, repair costs •Many gaps in the data •Ownership (=> responsibility for maintenance) sometimes unclear •Est. ~$700 million to repair
  20. 20. The Gurnet Plymouth, MA
  21. 21. A Negotiated Solution? (Kriesel et al. 2000) •Inland property owners observe significant premiums in home values due to the existence of beaches for recreation in front of proximate waterfront properties •As erosion occurs, waterfront property owners seek to protect their properties with hard structures (seawalls, revetments) •often waterfront property owners have the legal right to do this … •“In theory,” to protect their own home values, inland property owners could pay waterfront property owners to forego hard structural protections or to replenish sand on the beach
  22. 22. A Negotiated Solution in Massachusetts? •But in Massachusetts, private property rights extend to mean low water (i.e., there is only very limited access by inland property owners—navigation, fishing, fowling) •Hard structural responses are already widespread •Wetlands Protection Act attempts to control hard structuring (but pre-existing structures, grandfathering, variances, illicit activity) •Nevertheless, there may still be an externality due to the increased risks of erosion to properties adjacent to structures •Consequently, there may be an opportunity for a negotiated solution among waterfront property owners
  23. 23. Harlow’s Landing Plymouth, MA
  24. 24. Harlow’s Landing Plymouth, MA •Structure(s): 172’ Revetment (with some seawall sections), built circa 1959(?); another structure attached and extending to the north •Shorelines: •Before: 1909, 1952 •After: 1978, 1994 •Challenges: •Accuracies of shoreline measurements •Accelerated SLR?
  25. 25. EROSION AS POLLUTION •When a seawall is constructed, the homes behind the seawall gain more years prior to inundation •This results in a benefit •The unprotected homes downdrift from the seawall approach lose years prior to inundation •This results in a cost •A private decision relates to the benefits of delayed inundation relative to the cost of constructing the seawall •A social decision would include the costs of increased erosion downdrift
  26. 26. Economic Effects •The net effect depends upon: •Erosion rates •Property positions and values •Construction costs •Challenges: •Data limitations (Shorelines, Structures, Vintages) •Statewide problem? •Public areas (beaches, wetlands, estuaries) •Context: •Environmental Bond •Delayed Biggert-Waters
  27. 27. Impacts on Natural Areas?
  28. 28. Potential Policy Solutions •Uncertainty makes negotiated solutions problematic •Retreat from the coast likely now optimal in many places 1.FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program •Purchase coastal properties and prohibit development •State/Local Hazard Mitigation Plans •Presidential declared disaster area •Cost of repair > 50% of home value •Must have “willing” sellers •FEMA (75%); State/local (25%) •Open space, recreation, or wetlands management 2.NPS’s “reservations of use and occupancy” Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Orgsanization “All Hazards Planning” http://www.town.scituate.ma.us/flood/Scituate_Hazard_Mitigation_Plan.pdf

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