Possible Points: 370 points for the element.

Learn from the experiences of a community that was successful in earning credit for this CRS element! Check out the Success Story for Sanibel, FL.

Purpose of Element: Along the coasts of the United States, buildings are especially vulnerable because flooding is not the only hazard that can impact them. Erosion of the beach that separates coastal properties from the ocean or one of the Great Lakes can also make buildings and the individuals that own them vulnerable. Regulations that require buildings to be setback from the coast, the removal of erosion-threatened structures, and/or prohibit the implementation of shoreline armoring like seawalls, sandbags, or revetments can help to protect future development from coastal erosion. The purpose of this element is to reward communities for implementing regulations that seek to manage development in areas that are subject to coastal erosion. In this case, credit is based on the magnitude of the setback as well as the stringency of the community’s requirements for removing erosion-threatened structures. For more information see pages 430-48 - 430-52 of the CRS Coordinator’s Manual.

Impact Adjustment: Yes. The impact adjustment for this element is calculated by dividing the length of community's shoreline that is subject to the coastal erosion regulations to the total length of shoreline in the community.

Potential to Double Count Credit: None.

Degree of Difficulty - Documentation: Low. Communities must assemble minimal amounts of documentation for this element. The required documentation includes a copy of relevant ordinances, proof that the community has fulfilled the prerequisites for this element, an explanation of regulation enforcement procedures, and an impact adjustment map.

Degree of Difficulty - Implementation: High. In order to obtain credit for this element a community must receive credit for a map under element 410 Mapping for Coastal Erosion (MCE). Creating the maps required to obtain MCE credit takes a significant amount of expertise. Many communities will not have staff capable of creating these maps alone and as a result will need to hire a contractor to assist with this task. As a result, the amount of effort associated with earning credit for this element is high.

A person walks along a beach in Sanibel, FL. Image courtesy of David Hachen via the Flickr Creative Commons.
A person walks along a beach in Sanibel, FL. Image courtesy of David Hachen via the Flickr Creative Commons.

Tips for Success:

  1. Mapping coastal erosion hazard areas is a prerequisite for this element and a potential barrier to earning credit for many communities. That said, some states require that communities map the erosion hazard area or complete the calculation required to determine if buildings are located in these areas. If properly implemented at the local level, coastal communities in the following states could meet the prerequisite for this CRS element: Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. Communities in these states should contact their State NFIP Coordinator or State Floodplain Manager for more information.
  2. Some states also have coastal setback regulations that can qualify for credit under this CRS element. These states include: Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. Coastal communities in these states should work with their ISO/CRS Coordinator to discuss what documentation they need to order to take credit for their state’s coastal erosion regulations.

Co-Benefits Associated with this Element: Managing development in areas that are vulnerable to coastal erosion has several obvious benefits including reducing loss of life and property when flooding occurs. Protecting homes, business and critical facilities through more stringent development regulations and setbacks is essential to community resilience in these highly vulnerable areas. The implementation of coastal erosion regulations can also have benefits for the environment. For example, implementing a coastal setback and/or preventing the implementation of shoreline armoring devices like jetties and breakwaters can help to maintain the natural flow of sediment. In doing this, down drift beaches that provide wildlife with habitat and people with recreational opportunities are preserved.