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Economic Tradeoffs are a Consequence of Shoreline Armoring Along the Oregon Coast

Published on: 02/26/2020
Primary Contact(s): felix.martinez@noaa.gov

Oceanfront landowners in Neskowin, OR have chosen to use rock revetments, or rip-rap, to protect their properties from erosion. Their decision has implications for property values, public access, and recreation. Credit Steven Dundas, OSU.

Results from NCCOS-sponsored research on ecosystem services provided by natural infrastructure show, that in the case of Oregon’s coastline and land use laws, selective armoring (i.e., rip-rap or hardening) of coastal properties at risk from ocean erosion economically benefits private property owners at the expense of adjacent, at–risk, non-armored properties. Impacts also include reduced public beach access and negative visual aesthetics.

Analysis of the Oregon oceanfront housing market from 2004-2015 found that the legal option for armoring private property can increase the value of vulnerable properties by 13% to 22%, but adjacent ineligible properties that are prohibited from armoring sell for 8 % less due to the potential for increased damage from deflected wave action. Adjacent properties that aren’t vulnerable to erosion are not impacted either way.

Oregon’s Statewide Land Use Planning Goals sets rules for protecting beaches and dunes from development and reducing impacts from natural hazards, including a prohibition on “armoring” private property. However, exceptions are allowed. Armoring shoreline with large “rip-rap” rock slows down erosion on that property, but it has potential to change sediment flows and redirect wave action to erode adjacent unarmored properties. The study by Oregon State University (OSU) Assistant Professor of Applied Economics Steven Dundas and co-author, OSU economist Professor David Lewis, was published in the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.

Read more about the study in the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists and the OSU Press Release.

This research was supported by the NCCOS socioeconomics project “A Multidisciplinary, Integrative Approach to Valuing Ecosystem Services from Natural Infrastructure.”

Citation: Dundas, Steven J. and David J. Lewis. 2020. Estimating Option Values and Spillover Damages for Coastal Protection: Evidence from Oregon’s Planning Goal 18. Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.  doi: https://doi.org/10.1086/708092.

For additional information, contact Felix.Martinez@noaa.gov.

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