Regulatory Approaches

State and local governments may also take certain approaches in regulating coastal development. Two of these approaches, No Adverse Impact and Smart Growth, are discussed below.

No Adverse Impact

No Adverse Impact (NAI) is a floodplain and coastal management philosophy that is built on the ancient legal principle that the actions of the community or individual property owners should not adversely affect others. NAI plans aim to make communities more disaster resilient, reduce the amount of damage to property and loss of life from flooding and preserve community resources like public parks, open spaces and beaches for future generations.

  • NAI looks at the potential direct and indirect negative effects of flood-control and development actions on other people and their property, as well as the effects on the coastal environment.
  • Under NAI, a community will adopt a comprehensive plan that manages development by identifying the acceptable level of impact for a project, appropriate mitigation measures and an implementation plan.
  • NAI policies go beyond the minimum federal standards and may qualify for CRS credits under the federal floodplain management program.
  • NAI allows a project to go forward if the project’s proponents mitigate or eliminate the project’s adverse effects, which might avoid conflicts with property owners.
  • NAI may also decrease a community’s litigation liability from ineffective flood management that injured people or property.
  • The Association of State Floodplain Managers have assembled case studies for the use of NAI in the Coastal Zone.
  • Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium has a PDF on coastal NAI.

Smart Growth

State and local governments may choose to create safer and more resilient communities by using Smart Growth principles to reduce the impact of development on the coastal environment. For more information on Smart Growth principles, see the EPA’s Smart Growth home.

  • Smart growth techniques include reducing impervious surfaces, improving water detention, clustering development, safeguarding environmentally sensitive areas, mixing land uses by having homes, shops and offices in the same area, making public transit accessible and providing amenities for pedestrians and bike riders.
  • EPA has examples of Smart Growth communities on their website.
  • Both EPA and NOAA have developed Smart Growth materials for coastal communities:

Also See