Date of Award

12-2003

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Marine Policy

Advisor

Mary Kate Beard-Tisdale

Second Committee Member

Deirdre Mageean

Third Committee Member

Daniel F. Belknap

Abstract

Damages to coastal property in southwestern Maine occur primarily as a result of storms, flooding, and erosion. Maine implemented the Sand Dune Rules in 1983 to protect sand dunes and mitigate coastal property damages. Prior to this study, no indicators of the outcome of these rules were identified or evaluated to determine the effectiveness of their implementation. Assessed building values (1987), National Flood Insurance Program claims and payments (1 978- l998), and sand dune permits (1 984- 1998) for development in Kennebunk and Saco, Maine were evaluated. A geographic information system was created to determine if (1) development on or seaward of frontal dunes or in high-velocity flood zones is at greater risk of damages than development in other beach-system areas. and (2) the setback regulations of the Sand Dune Rules have reduced the risk of damages in high-hazard areas. The indicators support the hypotheses of this study as well as the development of updated maps and an improved permit process. Managers should focus on reducing the number of buildings vulnerable to coastal hazards to mitigate the impacts on property, life, and beach systems.

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