No one would disagree that our coastlines are national treasures. Not only do people vie for homes with ocean views, regardless of expense, but they appreciate the natural resources associated with our coastlines: shells on the beach, tide pools teeming with life, clean white sand for beach walkers, and the comforting sound and smell of waves breaking on shore.
Our coastlines, however, are under stress from a variety of sources—hurricanes, overdevelopment, and industrial waste disposal, to name just a few. So in 1972, The Coastal Zone Management ACT (CZMA) was enacted into law to preserve, protect, develop, and when possible, restore or enhance our nation’s coastal resources, including the shores of the Great Lakes. The CZMA created three important programs in order to meet these goals. The National Coastal Management Program requires every state with a coastline to develop and enforce a management plan to protect it. The National Estuarine Research Reserve System was set up to function as a field laboratory, to help us better understand estuaries (tidal mouths of rivers where they meet the ocean) and how humans impact them. The Coastal Estuarine Land Conservation Program provides funds to help purchase threatened coastal or estuarine lands or to obtain conservation easements for those areas. Due to the passage of CZMA, 99% of our nation’s coastlines are now protected by management plans designed specifically for them.
The CMZA is one of the 48 federal laws waived to expedite construction of a border wall (click here for a list of all 48 laws that have been waived). As a result of the waiver, carefully crafted management plans are no longer in effect in areas close to proposed wall construction. For example, in the Tijuana River National Estuarine Reserve near San Diego, triple fencing has now been placed throughout the Reserve, fragmenting the landscape and damaging fragile habitat. How can this reserve teach us how to preserve estuarine ecosystems when barriers disrupt the ecosystems under study? CMZA was passed by Congress to protect our natural coastal resources, an action of apparently no import to our Department of Homeland Security.
Please contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members) and let them know that you oppose waiving The Coastal Zone Management Act to expedite construction of a border wall. Click here if you would like to make a donation to help us fight the border wall.