US coastal communities continue to be at risk

A recent report examines the impacts of climate change on coastal communities ecoystems and human economies. The 79 specialists and scientists who authored the report demonstrate the need for strategies and tools to conserve and heal coastal communities, and to prepare for future environmental stresses.

The coastlines, particularly the densely-populated portions of the Gulf, mid-Atlantic, northern Alaskan, Hawaiian, and other island coasts, are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts such as sea level change, flooding, erosion, and storms. These affect not only human communities and natural resources, they also threaten the infrastructure that delivers essentials such as clean water, sewage treatment, transportation, and energy. This in turn means that public health, employment, and safety are also under threat. The coastal watershed counties of the US hold some 50% of the country’s population, and rely on healthy natural and human systems to make their significant contribution to the nation’s economy.