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Sustainability 2013, 5(11), 4688-4705; doi:10.3390/su5114688

Governance and the Gulf of Mexico Coast: How Are Current Policies Contributing to Sustainability?

*  and
National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Office of Research and Development, USA Environmental Protection Agency, 1 Sabine Island Drive, Gulf Breeze, FK 32541, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 August 2013 / Revised: 23 October 2013 / Accepted: 30 October 2013 / Published: 7 November 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Government Policy and Sustainability)
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The quality of life and economies of coastal communities depend, to a great degree, on the ecological integrity of coastal ecosystems. Paradoxically, as more people are drawn to the coasts, these ecosystems and the services they provide are increasingly stressed by development and human use. Employing the coastal Gulf of Mexico as an example, we explore through three case studies how government policies contribute to preventing, mitigating, or exacerbating the degradation of coastal ecosystems. We consider the effectiveness of the current systems, what alternate or additional policy solutions might be needed to ensure the sustainability of the region and its quality of life, and what this example can tell us about the sustainability of coastal systems globally. In our examples, among other aspects, policies that are proactive and networked governance structures are observed to favor sustainable outcomes, in contrast to reactive policies and hierarchical models of governance.
Keywords: Tampa Bay; Coastal Louisiana; marine fisheries; governance networks Tampa Bay; Coastal Louisiana; marine fisheries; governance networks
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Jordan, S.; Benson, W. Governance and the Gulf of Mexico Coast: How Are Current Policies Contributing to Sustainability? Sustainability 2013, 5, 4688-4705.

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