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NCCOS Research Project

Economic Analysis of Shoreline Treatment Options in Coastal New Hampshire

This project began in April 2018 and is expected to end in 2021.

Coastal communities are experiencing an increase in coastal hazard risk due to a variety of factors that include erosion and sea level rise. To reduce this risk, coastal communities can implement shoreline treatment options in the form of green, gray, or hybrid infrastructure. Through the use of both primary and secondary data, we will estimate the costs and benefits associated with different shoreline treatment options in coastal New Hampshire.

Why We Care
As erosion impacts increase in frequency and severity under a changing climate, it has become more important for communities to develop cost-effective adaptation strategies. New Hampshire coastal resource managers, their coastal resource partners, and municipal technical assistance providers have been interested in evaluating shoreline treatment options as exemplified by the Buffer Options on the Bay Project, The Smart Shoreline Project, and the Northeast Regional Ocean Council Regional Resilience Project.

Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve signage, New Hampshire. Credit: NOAA.

What We Are Doing
We are conducting an economic analysis of shoreline treatment options in coastal New Hampshire that may affect important environmental services, such as erosion control and flood mitigation. The primary goal of the analysis is to compare the costs and benefits associated with different types of treatment options that are under consideration by local partners in New Hampshire.

The costs of implementing shoreline treatment options include acquisition, planning, construction, maintenance, and labor costs. We are collecting this cost information through an inventory of similar infrastructure projects in coastal New Hampshire.

The benefits include erosion control and flood mitigation, as well as other co-benefits from ecosystem services, such as aesthetics, improvements to water quality, and the protection of fish, wildlife, and other aquatic species. We will estimate these benefits using a contingent choice survey, which will also address other relevant coastal management topics, such as existing and future plans for shoreline treatment options by property owners, perceptions of climate change, and place attachment.

Benefits of Our Work
This study will provide coastal managers and their partners with information needed to evaluate shoreline treatment options based on the estimated costs of implementation and the related ecosystem service benefits. Baseline economic values for key ecosystem services relevant to coastal New Hampshire will also be estimated. Furthermore, this study provides a framework for coastal managers to incorporate cost-benefit analyses when planning shoreline infrastructure projects in the future.

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NCCOS delivers ecosystem science solutions for stewardship of the nation’s ocean and coastal resources, in direct support of NOS priorities, offices, and customers, and to sustain thriving coastal communities and economies.

National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
1305 East West Highway, Rm 8110
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: (240) 533-0300 / Fax: (301) 713-4353
Email: nccos.webcontent@noaa.gov

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