Date of Award

1981

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Community Planning

First Advisor

Dennis Muniak

Abstract

The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Program is entering its second decade. Created by the Rhode Island General Assembly on 1971, the Coastal Resources Management Council adopted in 1977 a management program that was approved by the Federal Office of Coastal Zone Management in May, 1978. The state has been receiving $1 million annually in federal aid, matched by nearly a quarter of a million dollars in state funds, to implement its Coastal Management Program.

The Rhode Island Program has been intensely examined during the past nine years by federal evaluators, environmental groups, and in-house program consultants. These evaluations have directed sharp criticism toward the Council and its management program. Program administrators and the Council have successfully deflected criticism and have argued that the Program has had a beneficial effect on the state's coasta1 region.

This research project traces the historical context of the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Program and analyzes, through its case load, its decision-making environment and its management program. The major program weaknesses are revealed as: (1) a program that has not developed a management plan that is suitably tailored to the diverse resource: base; (2) a program that has not developed and adopted development. standards and decision-making criteria tailored to fit permissib1e uses; and (3) a program that retains a large amount of Council direction in the decision-making process, which, if unchecked (by a failure to remedy the first two weaknesses),"will continually deliver to Rhode Islanders a costly and difficult-to-administer program whose only consistency is its inconsistency with its own management document.

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