784 Economic Evaluation of Local Damages and Coastal Protection Strategies in the Face of SLR: A Case Study from New Yorkâââ₀šâ‚₀ââ₀žÂ¢s Hudson Valley

Tuesday, 24 January 2017
Allyza Lustig, Yale University, New Haven, CT

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC), the southern coast of New York State has experienced more than 15 inches of sea level rise (SLR) since the mid-19th century. The implications of this trend touch many of the state’s coastal communities, not just along the ocean but also further north throughout the estuarine zone of the Hudson River Valley. This study will focus on the latter impact by evaluating the economic cost of sea level rise in five towns along the eastern coast of the Hudson River in New York State: Yonkers, Croton on Hudson, Poughkeepsie, Hudson, and Troy (United States Census Bureau, 2013). The decision to protect coastal property (if it should be protected, when, and where) depends in part on a comparison of the cost of coastal protection and the cost of abandonment. In this paper, I explore the cost of sea level rise in terms of damages to structures and land, and produce a decision tree that illustrates the costs and benefits (i.e. avoided damages) of either protecting of abandoning the coastline. I present three decision trees for each town, each reflecting a different climate (and thus SLR) scenario. I then indicate the economically optimal decision pathways for each town and explore study limitations and areas for future research.
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