The economic impact of coastal communities is far reaching – and aids in a healthy robust U.S. economy. Coastal communities serve as economic engines that support jobs in defense, fishing, transportation, and tourism industries.
• Increasing revenue for coastal businesses: Pre-pandemic, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic coastal communities create $76.5 billion in annual Gross Domestic Product. In 2019, the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Economies generated $34.7 billion in wages. As of 2011, bird watchers in the U.S. spent nearly $41 billion annually on trips and equipment and an additional $14.9 billion on food, lodging, and transportation feeding directly into local economies.
• Creating jobs in coastal-reliant industries: Also, as of 2011, 666,000 jobs were created as a result of bird-watching expenditures. In 2017, U.S. commercial and recreational fisheries generated 1.74 million jobs and $244.1 billion in sales.
• Storm protection services: Research suggests that U.S. coastal wetlands provide $23.2 billion in storm protection services annually. If we look at just one storm – Hurricane Sandy – coastal wetland habitats avoided $625 million in direct flood damages.
The 2020 season produced 30 named storms including 4 using the Greek alphabet for only the second time in history. Of those 30 storms, 15 hurricanes formed. The prior record was 28 storms in 2005.
The potential cost savings by protecting and restoring coastal wetlands today could be over $1 billion.
More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. The National Wildlife Federation is on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.