The Coastal States Organization (CSO) is pleased to release Enhancing the Blue Economy Through Coastal Zone Management. The Blue Economy depends on the vibrant workforce, thriving industry, advanced infrastructure, and unparalleled natural resources of the nation’s coastal zone. Across the nation, the challenges confronting coastal communities are vast and complicated. To ensure our coastal zones continue to enrich and sustain the Blue Economy, robust, adaptive, and efficient coastal management is necessary. This report focuses on the work that the State and Territory Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Programs do to enhance the Blue Economy through effective management, beneficial use, protection, and development of the coastal zone.

The report examines the role of CZM Programs across five important sectors of the Blue Economy:

  • Coastal Resilience — a combination of habitat protection, restoration, enhancement, and creation projects; investments in coastal infrastructure; and long- and short- term resilience and adaptation planning designed to ensure coastal communities are resilient to coastal change. This sector drives jobs in project management, planning, engineering and design, and construction and drives economic benefits for the communities these projects are designed to help.
  • Living Resources — the sustainable management of living resources drives benefits from providing important food sources, creating fishing and aquaculture jobs, and supporting the tourism and recreation sector by conserving species and ecosystems such as coral reefs and whale populations that are major attractions.
  • Tourism and Recreation — the conservation and stewardship of coastal spaces combined with investments to expand and enhance coastal access brings people to coastal areas for tourism and recreation. This sector creates jobs in  coastal communities directly in coastal recreation and tourism activities such as equipment rentals or boat tours as well as in related hospitality sectors including hotels and restaurants in destination areas.
  • Marine Transportation and Commerce — the beneficial use and development of coastal areas with ports, urban waterfronts, and working waterfronts and the siting, permitting, and development offshore energy development and the necessary land side infrastructure. This sector sustains jobs in the shipping industry, extractive industries such as fisheries, expanding industries such as offshore wind energy development.
  • New Blue Economy — the deployment of observation assets and the capture of critical ocean and coastal data coupled with the development of novel tools to tailor this information to inform end user decision-making drives innovation and job creation.

The report provides a snapshot of the diversity of activities that State and Territory CZM Programs implement across the nation to support the Blue Economy. Though State and Territory economies and environments vary widely state-to-state and region-to-region, States and Territories have developed the coastal management strategies that work best for them, and in turn advance national coastal management priorities and enhance the Blue Economy.

Because CZM Programs play an important role in the various sectors of the Blue Economy, investments in these Programs through Coastal Zone Management grants and support for the technical assistance provided by the National CZM Program are investments in the nation’s Blue Economy. Robust investments are necessary to ensure sustainable management of the coastal zone and to continue to build and maintain a vibrant Blue Economy for today and for future generations.

Read the Report Here →