Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Land Use in Hawai‘i: A Policy Tool Kit for State and Local Governments
Rising sea levels along Hawai‘i’s shorelines call for state and local governments to take action by means of a wide range of coastal land use policy tools designed to help Hawai‘i successfully adapt to climate change. Hawai‘i is expected to experience sea-level rise of one foot by 2050 and three feet by the end of the century. Sea-level rise of this magnitude poses significant economic, social, and environmental challenges requiring leadership and bold action by state and local governments, which are uniquely positioned to implement land use policy tools to shape Hawai‘i’s efforts to successfully adapt to rising sea levels in the coming decades.
The purpose of this Tool Kit is to identify and explain key land use policy tools for state and local government agencies and officials to facilitate leadership and action in support of sea-level rise adaptation in Hawai‘i. Across the United States and around the world, governments are developing policy tools to proactively adapt to threats from rising sea levels. For example, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers now requires consideration of sea-level rise impacts to coastal and estuarine zones in all phases of its civil works programs. In addition to incorporating projected sea-level rise in land use decisionmaking, experts also recommend that governments locate coastal development where it is protected from hazards, and ensure structures are resilient to flooding and other coastal hazards exacerbated by sea-level rise.