Coastal Habitat Loss

Sea lions and other wildlife rely on coastal areas.

Homes, jetties, seawalls, canals, and other structures built on beaches or wetlands often destroy habitat for sea turtles, birds, fish, and other sea life.  Salt and tidal marshes, wetlands, mangroves, and coral reefs also suffer when development is unsustainable.

Wetlands, mangroves and sea grasses are valuable natural resources as they hold sediment and nutrients, filter pollutants, protect coastal environments from storms, shelter wildlife, and benefit people.

In the US, half the population lives within fifty miles of the coast.  The wrong kind of coastal development, coupled with sea level rise, pollution, and ocean warming, can damage or devastate coastal habitats.  Coastal communities rely on the natural systems in coastal habitats for food, tourism, and recreational fishing.

3 things you can do to help prevent coastal habitat loss:

1. Switch to renewable energy sources when and wherever possible.
2. Don’t use streets or storm drains as dumps.
3. Research local efforts to protect wetlands.

Other great ways you can make a difference.


Reefs at Risk in the Caribbean – Earth Trends
Coastal Habitats Threat – Sea Turtle Conservation

Mangrove Swamps – Environmental Protection Agency

Coastal Development – Coral Reef Alliance
National Coastal Trends – NOAA
Population and Coastal Regions – Population Reference Bureau

Engaging Community for Sustainable Coastal Development in Lombok, Indonesia

Wetland FAQs – America’s Wetland Resource

Ecosystem Services A Primer – Action BioScience