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A Waterfront View of Coastal Hazards: Contextualizing Relationships among Geographic Exposure, Shoreline Type, and Hazard Concerns among Coastal Residents

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Department of Marine & Environmental Sciences, Northeastern University, Coastal Sustainability Institute, Nahant, MA 01908, USA
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Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA
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The Nature Conservancy, Alabama Coastal Program, Mobile, AL 36602, USA
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Department of Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Sciences, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881, USA
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Department of Coastal Studies, East Carolina University, Wanchese, NC 27981, USA
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Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
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Department of Marine Sciences, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL 36688, USA
8
Department of Civil Engineering, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL 36688, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6687; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236687
Received: 1 October 2019 / Revised: 11 November 2019 / Accepted: 12 November 2019 / Published: 26 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change Risks and Adaptation in Coastal Areas)
Coastal communities exist on the front lines of diverse natural hazards and the growing impacts of climate change. While traditional strategies for dealing with coastal hazards have often involved the hardening or armoring of shorelines, more recent research and practice have demonstrated the value and cost-effectiveness of “living shorelines” and other ecosystem-based strategies for coastal protection. To explore potential relationships among geographic exposure (waterfront vs. inland), shoreline condition (armored vs. natural), and hazard concerns, we surveyed 583 waterfront and inland residents in the northern Gulf of Mexico. We found that overall concern for coastal hazards was similar across waterfront and inland residents, as well as among residents with both armored and natural shorelines. However, concern for specific hazards differed across these groups. Waterfront residents were significantly more concerned about major hurricanes and erosion than inland residents. Conversely, inland residents were more concerned with drought and flooding than waterfront residents. Among waterfront residents, specific hazard concerns were similar between residents with natural and armored shorelines with two key exceptions. Residents with armored shorelines reported higher concern for erosion and sea level rise than residents with natural shorelines. Our results suggest that armored shorelines do not necessarily alleviate concerns about coastal hazards. In the context of balancing social and ecological objectives in addressing coastal hazards or adapting to climate change, understanding the perceptions and behaviors of coastal residents is essential for conserving and protecting coastal ecosystems along residential shorelines. View Full-Text
Keywords: coastal hazards; stakeholder decision-making; coastal management; hurricanes; climate adaptation coastal hazards; stakeholder decision-making; coastal management; hurricanes; climate adaptation
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Scyphers, S.B.; Beck, M.W.; Furman, K.L.; Haner, J.; Josephs, L.I.; Lynskey, R.; Keeler, A.G.; Landry, C.E.; Powers, S.P.; Webb, B.M.; Grabowski, J.H. A Waterfront View of Coastal Hazards: Contextualizing Relationships among Geographic Exposure, Shoreline Type, and Hazard Concerns among Coastal Residents. Sustainability 2019, 11, 6687.

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