“Healthy Coasts: A Wise Investment”: That’s a thought we all can agree with, and one the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) is bringing to Washington, DC, from Tuesday, Feb. 23, through Thursday, Feb. 25, as the theme for its 2016 Coastal Summit. But what does this slogan really mean and how will we make it come alive during the Summit?
For starters, what’s a “healthy coast” and what are some of its characteristics? One indicator of health, whether the subject is a living organism or an economic system, is how it responds to disruption or stress. Does it bounce back quickly and maybe even better? In other words, is it resilient?
That’s the sub-theme for the first day of the Summit (“Investing in resilience on a changing coastline”), and it will be explored through keynote addresses and panel sessions that look at, among other topics, the different ways people approach healthy coasts in various locations and how to provide measurable health goals in the form of flood risk management standards.
The second day, the Summit looks at the foundation of a healthy coast through the sub-theme “Investing in natural systems and processes.” We make such investments through wise use of both our natural and our financial resources. In the morning, we’ll explore both resource types through panels on regional sediment management, natural and nature-based features, and federal appropriations.
That afternoon, attendees will meet with officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration to tell them what they can do to make the investment process work faster and better for all parties. In the evening, ASBPA will recognize some of its “investment heroes” in an awards reception on Capitol Hill.
Investing is about the future, and wise investing is based on facts and careful analysis. For a healthy coast, that means making investment decisions using the best available science and technology, the sub-theme for the third day.
Attendees and presenters will look at national coastal mapping (you can’t manage what you can’t measure) and how to coordinate our national coastal research to produce more effective outcomes that will, in turn, lead to smarter investments.
Finally, there will be a discussion among the ultimate beneficiaries of a wise investment strategy (representatives of local coastal governments and organizations) to learn more about their perspectives and challenges.