Approved by the Energy, Environment, and Water Policy Committee on November 13, 2020
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on February 3, 2021
Adopted by the Board of Direction on April 30, 2021
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports:
- Government agency coastal data-collection programs, including those under of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), recognizing that these programs are essential services providing data to plan, develop, retrofit, operate, and decommission infrastructure projects in coastal areas.
- Continued resources for climate change and estuarine science programs.
- State and local government coastal data collection programs to initiate, support, and participate in the federal programs.
- Improved access to coastal data collection programs for all agencies and the general public.
The basic coastal data collection programs of NOAA, USACE, USGS, and other agencies are vitally important to sound coastal zone planning, development, and infrastructure retrofitting, operation, and decommissioning. Coastal environmental problems continue to increase in number and complexity, increasing the need for additional coastal-zone data collection and research. Multiple government agencies collect and provide the necessary data, which are the basis for protection and sustainable development of coastal wetlands, marshes, estuaries, and other coastal features. Issues of national concern such as climate change and wetlands preservation increase the need for coastal data collection and research, yet these programs compete directly for resources with the continuation of more established basic coastal data collection programs.
The federal government should take the lead in collecting and making available all necessary data to monitor, model and forecast storm surge, reduced estuary inflows and other natural disaster events. There should be adequate funding on a continuing basis sufficient to allow prediction of storm surges, sediment transport, and risk assessment to allow effective management of changes to established hydrogeomorphological processes such as the interaction of the sea with freshwater and sediment along the coast and in estuaries.
America's coasts are an important asset. The coast is a vital component of our natural hurricane and storm protection systems. A majority of U.S. citizens live, work, and recreate within 50 miles of coastal zones. Coastal wetlands, marshes and estuaries provide essential nurseries and feeding grounds for an abundance of marine life, birds, and other animals. Ports, coastal-related industries, and commerce are vital to the country's our economic survival. There are significant adverse issues that threaten the continued value of the coastal zone to the nation including beach erosion, loss of coastal wetlands, unsustainable development, degradation of water quality in estuaries and coastal waters, sea level rise, and sedimentation. In many instances, the necessary information required to formulate solutions to these issues is lacking or incomplete. Accurate and complete data, collected in a consistent manner over the long-term, is the basis of accurate modeling of coastal changes and storms and their consequent risk to the environment and the public health, safety, and welfare.
To provide the necessary data for solutions to these issues, long-term sufficiently funded programs in observation, monitoring, research and development, and prediction are needed. Sound management and conservation decisions require a thorough understanding of the environment; including coastal processes. Such an understanding can only be developed through observation, research, and assessment programs based on reliable data.
ASCE Policy Statement 330
First Approved in 1987