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A Call for Resiliency

The National Shoreline Management Study results show that the shorelines of the U.S. are eroding, with enormous implications for the health, economics, and welfare of our citizens and the environment. Climate change and sea level rise significantly compound the regional and local issues on what management steps are needed to establish resilient shorelines. A series of fact sheets are available to provide information at the national, regional and state levels:

Eroding U.S. Shorelines - A Call for Resiliency

Ocean City Beach looking north and the Everglades

National Shoreline Management Study

The Congressionally authorized National Shoreline Management Study (NSMS) to document the physical, economic, environmental, and social impacts of shoreline change across every coastal region of the United States. Under the leadership of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), NSMS is providing government policymakers, coastal scientists and engineers, stakeholders and tribes with updated information about regional coastal processes using existing and available information, providing Congress and other decision makers recommendations regarding potential shoreline resilience management, planning and climate adaptation needs, and use of a systems approach to sediment management. The primary focus areas of NSMS include:

  • Description of the current state of U.S. shores
  • Erosion and accretion, including their causes
  • Environmental and economic implications of shoreline change
  • Anticipated future climate risks
  • Agency roles in restoring and renourishing shores
  • Systematic movement of sand

NSMS has several ongoing initiatives applying a systems approach to address shoreline change on a regional and national landscape scale.  These actions view past events, present conditions, and future needs of the shoreline. 

Regional Assessments

The national shoreline has been divided into eight separate NSMS regions for development of regional assessment reports: Hawaii, Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, California, the Gulf of Mexico, the South Atlantic, North Atlantic and the Great Lakes.  Each regional assessment report provides an assessment of the causes and effects of erosion and accretion, social, cultural, economic, and environmental importance of our shorelines, and current and future risks.  The reports summarize key findings, management actions being taken, and those recommended to restore and maintain resilient shorelines. Report content was developed using existing, available data and information gathered in virtual meetings and other communication between USACE, tribes, and regional stakeholders representing other federal, state, and local organizations.

National Assessment

A NSMS National Assessment report will be available in 2023 and is being prepared with participation from other Federal agency representatives, tribes, academia, and other coastal-related constituents.  The report will include a high-level synthesis of information from the regional assessments to assist in informing, refining and affirming the priority issues and recommendations that the USACE provides to the Army, the Administration, Congress and other interested parties. Elements include:

  • A national overview of shoreline change and sediment movement with regional highlights
  • Capturing shoreline needs on a national scale
  • Identifying and providing support for the importance of:
    • Economic, social and environmental aspects of shorelines
    • Current and future shoreline management activities
    • The need for action
    • A systems approach to sediment management
  • Recommendations for actions at the national scale

Review Plan

The NSMS Review Plan can be found here.

Coastal Storm Damages Prevented Tool

Coastal Storm Damages Prevented LogoUSACE is developing a coastal storm damages prevented tool to assess changes in the shoreline and document the damages prevented by exiting USACE and USACE sponsor-led projects.  The tool will assess how projects performed in past storm events in order to report a return on investment of projects and understand how existing projects aid in coastal resilience to further resiliency planning under future storm events. 

Future Storm Risk

Building from ongoing activities, USACE is assessing the current response to shoreline changes and is working to analyze future needs to support coastal storm risk management and coastal resiliency planning while accounting for uncertain future conditions. 

Coastal Systems Portfolio Initiative (CSPI) database

Authorized by Congress to study, plan, design, construct, and renourish coastal risk reduction projects, the USACE is tasked with providing technical input on current and future needs for coastal projects. Accurate, up-to-date, and accessible technical information serves as a valuable resource for decision makers responsible for making balanced, information-based decisions for managing coastal programs. 

This web database presents the “big picture” about current and future needs for coastal projects within USACE. As the nation’s engineer, the USACE collects and presents technical data and estimated costs, with consideration of project reliability and risk. The process used by the USACE to examine federal projects as a total system instead of as individual projects will continue to be refined over time. This technical review is an initial systems-based tool that decision makers at any level can use to make more informed judgments as they manage coastal risk reduction projects in the United States, both now and in the near future.

NSMS Summary

National Shoreline Management Study map

NSMS Regional Assessment Areas overview map

Download these images here.