Ensure preservation and sustainable use of oceans and coastal areas to support human well-being
Oceans and natural coastal areas are incredibly beneficial to humans. Fisheries provide food and marine ecosystems support livelihoods – the recreation industry along coastlines brings in revenue, and ports are a huge economic driver beyond food security. Oceans are also enormously valuable in terms of their contributions to climate stability as they sequester and store carbon. Natural coastal areas provide critical buffers for communities, reducing disaster risk through natural barrier islands and nearshore wetlands.
Risks to oceans and coastal areas are growing. Ocean acidification and nutrient pollution has significant impacts on shellfish populations. Coral reefs are becoming damaged or are even dying out. Without them, recreation and tourism industries falter. Population growth is driving heavy development pressure along shorelines as people seek beautiful places to live and recreate. There is an ongoing battle being waged between preserving nature’s protections and maintaining people’s property values.
Our marine work focuses on identifying the full value of oceans and coastal areas so that we can inform effective policy and planning for these precious resources.
We focus on:
Supporting Coastal Restoration
Coastal areas are incredibly important as a key interface between people and the environment. Intact coastal areas are remarkably effective at protecting land from hurricanes, storm surge, and other hazards – dunes, wetlands, mangrove, and other natural features all provide protection. Restoring coasts to their natural state can help communities combat the effects of climate change and sea level rise. We work to build an understanding of these critical areas and provide communities with options for funding coastal restoration.
Informing Management Policy for Oceans and Coastal Areas
We use systems analysis of policies and projects to determine how natural marine environments can be protected and preserved while balancing economic and social outcomes. From informing shoreline master planning processes to helping communities justify Marine Protected Area designations, we provide critical information that helps communities make the best decisions regarding their marine assets. As we build more sustainable outcomes for local communities, we also leverage these examples to help inform regional and national policy that will effect change at scale.