Sustainable Coastal Development
Coastal communities in Mississippi and Alabama provide vital economic, social and recreational opportunities for hundreds of thousands of Americans, but decades of population migration and coastal hazards have transformed coastal landscapes and intensified demand on finite coastal resources. As the coasts continue to recover and rebuild from the hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005, there are opportunities for wise use of the finite coastal resources and balanced development to accommodate the more than 930,000 residents and many visitors to the five coastal counties.
One of the greatest threats to our coast is the amount of polluted runoff from urban, suburban and agricultural areas. Poorly planned growth exacerbates the negative impacts from impervious surfaces, reduces and fragments fish and wildlife habitat, and can alter sedimentation rates and flows.
Population growth is also leading to gentrification of coastal communities. Historically important industries, such as commercial and recreational fishing, shipbuilding, water-borne transportation, ports and harbors, public marinas, public access, are being displaced by non-traditional uses. It is essential that water dependent businesses become more competitive and viable alternatives need to be developed so coastal communities can strike a balance between traditional and non-traditional uses.
MASGC will use its research, extension and education capabilities to support the development of sustainable communities that are economically and socially inclusive, have diverse and vibrant economies, and wisely use natural resources.