Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Coasts & CZMA: A Stimulus for the U.S.

This morning Dr. Linwood Pendleton provided a federal congressional briefing on the coastal economy and the importance of investing in the Coastal Zone Management Act, which provides the management framework for balancing conservation and development in our coastal communities. Here are a few tidbits from Linwood's testimony:

If coastal counties in the US were their own country they would have the world's second largest economy.
The coastal economy is more complex than the rest of our economy because the natural foundations upon which it is based are fluid and constantly changing.
In 2008, the total funding for state coastal programs was only $65.5 million with a cap of $2 million for each of 34 states with coastal programs.

Keep in mind, the coastal economy contributes 5 times more to GDP than the financial sector.
You can read Linwood's entire briefing here: The U.S. Economy Needs the Coastal Zone Management Act.

Effective management of our coasts is essential to protect water quality, beach access, beaches, coral reefs and coastal communities - all elements that are essential to protecting and enjoying our favorite surf spots. As surfers, beach goers and coastal community members, we should all support federal investment in the Coastal Zone Management Act.

The briefing was sponsored by the Coastal States Organization.

Dr. Pendleton is the Senior Fellow and Director of Economic Research at The Ocean Foundation and directs the Coastal Ocean Values Center.

You can keep up with Coastal Values at: www.twitter.com/coastalvalues

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

If Long Beach had surf, would more people visit?

Image from Surfline.

The obvious answer to this question is yes. The more challenging question is how many people would come to surf. Predicting how many people would come to visit Long Beach to surf would likely depend on the quality of the surf and how often the surf was good.

The Long Beach Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation has a long running campaign to "Sink the Breakwater and Restore the Shore"

As part of their campaign they convinced the City of Long Beach to do a feasibility study of the breakwater removal. Part of that study was an economic analysis of the benefits to tourism resulting from improved water quality, beach conditions & surfing.

To better understand how the surfing would improve and how many surfers might visit, the Chapter contracted with Sean Collins at Surfline (a leading surf forecasting site) to use their models, historical surf records and expertise to predict how many days of surf Long Beach would see, how many good days and how many poor days and then estimated how many surfers would show up to surf it.

You can read this very interesting report here.

So what's the conclusion? Based on this approach, Collins estimates that restoring surf to Long Beach could result in over 394,000 annual visits.

This visitation estimate is being fed into an economic analysis that should be available in mid-July. We'll report on that when its available.

Duke Kahanamoku surfing in Long Beach before the breakwater was installed.