The Sensitivity of the Coastal Management Framework Within Oregon to Climate Change and Variability Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/m326m6227

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  • A heightened awareness to climate phenomena such as the El Nino Southern Oscillation, Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and global warming has initiated much research concerning the impacts of climate change and variability on coastal resources. These events are perceived to exacerbate existing chronic natural hazards, including beach and dune erosion, sea cliff recession, bluff slumping and landslides, and coastal flooding. This paper presents an analysis of the third phase of an integrated study that aims to link the impacts of climate change and variability on coastal resources with an evaluation of the institutional arrangements for policy development and response. Through interviews with representatives at eleven federal, state, and local agencies within Oregon, the sensitivity of the coastal management framework to climate change and variability was evaluated in consideration of the existing range of policy responses and the extent of climate forecast utilization. Findings show that policies that provide for hazard assessment and response are inadequate and that managers are constrained by the numerous institutional and informational barriers, as well as by the conflicting pressures of multiple constituencies. The recognition of climate change and variability helps to build governmental processes that encompass a greater consensus and acknowledgement of climate issues. However, development of policies to respond directly to climate change and variability is generally absent, due to the inherent uncertainty of climate change and the lack of convincing evidence about the impacts. The vulnerability of coastal resources corresponds to the degree of sensitivity within the management system governing those resources. When climate events exceed the management response capabilities, implying that adaptation is not possible, resources are at risk. The findings suggest that a management system designed with greater flexibility would more adequately allow for use of climate projections. This would facilitate consideration of mitigation and adaptation options that may promote sound development practices and reduce the risk to resources along the coast.
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