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Environmental Sciences | Coastal Governance

Coastal Governance

Burroughs, Richard

2011, XIV, 242p.


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  • Part of successful Foundations of Contemporary Environmental Studies series
  • Author's credentials and involvement in building new approaches to coastal management
  • Growing interest in coastal management and need for an accessible text on the subject

Coastal Governance provides a clear overview of how U.S. coasts are currently managed and explores new approaches that could make our shores healthier. Drawing on recent national assessments, Professor Richard Burroughs explains why traditional management techniques have ultimately proved inadequate, leading to polluted waters, declining fisheries, and damaged habitat. He then introduces students to governance frameworks that seek to address these shortcomings by considering natural and human systems holistically.

The book considers the ability of sector-based management, spatial management, and ecosystem-based management to solve critical environmental problems. Evaluating governance successes and failures, Burroughs covers topics including sewage disposal, dredging, wetlands, watersheds, and fisheries. He shows that at times sector-based management, which focuses on separate, individual uses of the coasts, has been implemented effectively. But he also illustrates examples of conflict, such as the incompatibility of waste disposal and fishing in the same waters. Burroughs assesses spatial and ecosystem-based management’s potential to address these conflicts.

The book familiarizes students not only with current management techniques but with the policy process. By focusing on policy development, Coastal Governance prepares readers with the knowledge to participate effectively in a governance system that is constantly evolving. This understanding will be critical as students become managers, policymakers, and citizens who shape the future of the coasts.

Content Level » Lower undergraduate

Keywords » Coastal policy development - Ecosystem-based management - Fisheries - Sector-based management - Spatial management

Related subjects » Aquatic Sciences - Earth System Sciences - Environmental Management - Environmental Sciences

Table of contents 


Chapter 1. Coastal Challenges

State of the coasts

Drivers for environmental change

The ocean commissions

Management goals and processes

Organization of the book

Chapter 2. Policy Process







Chapter 3. Wastewater

Sewage and disease: A problem

Sewage treatment: A solution

Making treatment a requirement: Selection and implementation

Did sewage treatment work? Evaluation

Unfinished business

Sector-based management


Chapter 4. Oil

Oil resources: Origins and importance

Oil drilling technology

Environmental and social impacts of offshore oil


The seaweed rebellion


Chapter 5. Dredging

The growth of shipping

Dredging processes

Environmental impacts

Law of dredging and disposal

Regulating the disposal of contaminated sediments


Enduring change?


Chapter 6. Wetlands

The nature of coastal wetlands

The value of coastal wetlands

Uses and consequences

“No net loss”—a goal

One wetland resource—multiple agencies

Management practices

The coastal wetland program assessed


Chapter 7. Managing Coastal and Ocean Spaces

Uses of coastal lands and waters


The Coastal Zone Management Act

Other space-based coastal management programs

Spatial management techniques

Evaluation of state programs

Spatial planning and management of ocean waters


Chapter 8. Ecosystem Governance

Nitrogen links among land/sea and society/nature

Ecosystem-based management in concept

Degree of change

Policy elements

Incremental change: Marine sanctuaries

Fundamental change: Ecosystem services


Chapter 9. Watersheds and Bays

Evolution of river basin management

River/watershed management: An agency profile

Managing the landscape to preserve/restore bays

Watershed management for the Chesapeake Bay

Ecosystem management for watersheds and bays


Chapter 10. Fisheries

Expansion of U.S. fisheries

Biological limits to the fishery

Fisheries management

The councils

Fisheries management as ecosystem governance

Incremental change

Fundamental change

Who decides?


Chapter 11. Conclusion

Ends and means

Sector-based management

Spatial management

Ecosystem-based management


Questions for Discussion


Further Reading



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