January 29, 2006

GreenvilleOnline.com -America's coasts at risk

Interstintg article in the Greenville paper. Citing the laundry list of problems that challenge the US coast and coastal communities. This must be national stormwater week or something, it seems that everyone is talking about the problems that stormwater caused by development casuse. this article talks about coastal sprawl.
From the air, the footprint of coastal sprawl is unmistakable -- vast tracts of newly built houses stretch for miles. Ribbons of asphalt are crowded with shopping centers, gas stations, restaurants and other buildings.

If runaway land consumption and relentless growth in automobile use continue, many healthy shore communities could face sharp declines over the next 25 years, says Dana Beach, director of the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League and an authority on coastal sprawl. He is especially concerned about developing and paving over land that drains into nearby bodies of water.

The usual suggestion is to creat a new urbanist type of environment on the coast. What folks don't seem to realize is that this type of development will create more problems than the single home 30% lot coverage we have on the Outer Banks The only answer to moving people of the coast is to buy the land and buy it soon. Since this would inovlve billions (or more likely trillions) of dollars it simply isn't going to happen. The better answer is to reduce allowable density of development and fight hard to maintain it. The runoff problems cited in the article (silt and pollution are relatively simple to control. Demand on site retention of at least the first inch of stormwater, then allow the effuent that does go offsite to percolate back into the environment as much as possible. This means open swales and ditches. Some consider these facilities ugly but they are the best practice in reducing stormwater pollution.

You can find the Pew Ocean Commissions report mentioned in the article here


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