Approved by the Energy, Environment, and Water Policy Committee on May 19, 2021
Approved by the Public Policy and Practice Committee on June 3, 2021
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 2021 


The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports:

Conservation of habitat, wetlands, and other coastal resources within the coastal zone (upland, nearshore, and offshore).
Avoidance, minimization, and mitigation of coastal resource impacts resulting from development within coastal zones.
Protection of public health, safety, welfare, and the environment for all coastal projects.
Sustainable development and implementation of coastal resource restoration projects, specifically the use of natural and nature-based projects designed to increase resiliency to the impacts of sea level rise, intensified storms, and flooding.
A streamlined regulatory processes and effective regulations for coastal resource protection and restoration projects. 
Regional collaboration and partnering among federal, state, and local governments to adopt coastal resource protection and restoration policies.
The application of Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA, Public Law 97-348), which restricts federal expenditures that tend to encourage development in identified fragile, high-risk, and ecologically sensitive coastal barriers. 


Developments within coastal areas are of significant interest due to their environmental, recreational benefits and economic benefits (generated by tourism and high taxable land values). Conservation of the natural resources within these coastal areas is paramount. Increased frequency and intensity of storms and rising sea levels reinforce the need for resilient and sustainable development planning, practices, and regulation within the coastal zone. Projects in coastal areas sometimes experience costly delays or have been abandoned due to cumbersome permitting processes. A streamlined regulatory process is necessary to expedite thorough environmental reviews and identify the potential impacts of proposed development projects, and to determine whether those impacts can be mitigated in a way that is economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable. 

Regulatory improvements such as Executive Order 138-07, One Federal Decision, have resulted in establishment of Memoranda of Understanding between federal agencies to review and coordinate federal regulatory decisions.  ASCE encourages continued innovations to the regulatory review process that are based on sound science and engineering. 


Due to the significant development within the coastal zone, natural coastal resources have been adversely impacted.  Restoration and protection of these natural features are critical to future coastal resilience. Emphasis on planning, design and development of natural and nature-based solutions are necessary to improve community resilience to sea level rise, increased flooding, and storm events. 40-50% of the US populations lives near coastal areas but it occupies only 10% of our country’s land mass.  Civil engineers are responsible for the built and natural infrastructure systems that support a significant portion of our economy and a diverse natural environment.  The threats to our coastal areas are significant and include water pollution, subsidence, sea level rise, extreme weather events and seismic activity. 

ASCE Policy Statement 162
First Approved pre-1974

(See Policy Statement 545: Flood Risk Management)