New study explores impacts of coastal erosion, increased storms

Coastal erosion and more intense winter storms may require policymakers to take another look at how they plan for future development. A new Oregon State University study, based in Tillamook County, examined how beach access and property would be impacted by sea level rise and coastal erosion if planning policies stayed the same.

Researchers then looked at the costs, impacts and implications if the region changed policies, such as providing incentives to move houses out of vulnerable areas or loosening regulation on breakwater infrastructure.

One approach may protect more homes from danger, but comes with a hefty price tag. Another may be the best at preventing erosion, but impacts beach access. The point of the study is not to tell lawmakers what to do, said Patrick Corcoran, a coastal hazards specialist with Oregon State University’s Sea Grant program and co-author of the paper, but to give informed direction about the consequences of their choices.

“We can’t control climate change, at least not directly,” Corcoran said. “The one thing we can control is management. We need to align our behavior with what we see happening.”

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