Obraczka, M.; Beyeler, M.; Magrini, A., and Legey, L.F., 2017. Analysis of coastal environmental management practices in subregions of California and Brazil.
Globally, human and natural systems in urban coasts face multiple threats, most importantly from climate change. Increasingly, subnational state and local governments are being forced to include climate change impacts into coastal planning and management. Urban coastal managers are looking to more transparent and integrated coastal and environmental management regimes to better address the multiple stressors and uses, as well as to integrate public and stakeholder participation, and maximize a broad range of community economic and environmental and ecosystem benefits. This research presents a case study of coastal and environment management systems in two important coastal regions: an urbanized area of the central coast of California, United States; and the rapidly urbanizing and developing coastal lowlands of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Similarities and differences in coastal environmental governance, management, and outcomes were identified and analyzed. The contrasting federalist governance structures are compared, and the coastal management and environment assessment systems in the case study locations are analyzed. This research contributes to the body of knowledge on subnational coastal environmental management systems through the review of previous relevant studies; the examination of historical primary and secondary source official reports; and the collection, analysis, and discussion of important qualitative and quantitative interviews and survey data. The study concludes that transparency and accessibility to the decision-making process are essential to the success of coastal environmental management in both locations, with benefits arising from the presence of public participation and trust. The successful integration of broad stakeholders and public awareness in California provides an example that could possibly be replicable in Rio de Janeiro to increase stakeholder participation in the decision-making processes. The paper concludes with recommendations for further studies of governance and management alternatives, and for extending and strengthening state and local capabilities of coastal environmental processes within integrated coastal environmental management systems.