The Economic Case for Restoring Coastal Ecosystems

A new report by the Center for American Progress and OXFAM America found that investing in coastal restoration can be highly cost effective. CoastalRestoration_report 1Each dollar invested by taxpayers returned more than $15 in net economic benefits across the three restoration projects studied: one was part of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, an effort by the State Coastal Conservancy and many others to restore 15,100 acres in South San Francisco Bay.  The economic benefits include buffering storm surges; safeguarding coastal homes and businesses; sequestering carbon and other pollutants; creating nursery habitat for commercially and recreationally important fish species; and restoring open space and wildlife that support recreation, tourism, and the culture of coastal communities.

The report concludes with recommendations for future action, including:

  • Federal, regional, and private-sector entities should increase their investment in coastal ecosystem restoration projects and fund ongoing monitoring of previously restored areas.
  • Federal, regional, state, and local coastal planners should give greater weight to natural solutions such as coastal wetlands restoration to protect at-risk developed areas.