Coastal areas are among the most productive, enjoyable and fascinating locations on our planet. However, they are also a very fragile portion of the ecosystem– human interface, and even more fragile than ever given that ecosystem functions, such as climate regulation and the water cycle, have become more unpredictable. This is indeed a critical global issue, not only for those countries with long or short coastlines, but also for land-locked countries, because of the unique landscape function of coastal areas and the incompleteness of watershed management regimes at present. On the one hand, coastal areas merge both fresh and saline waters and form a unique and crucial ‘switch’ in the ecosystem functions which regulate and support (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005) both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Such ecosystem functions deliver a significant portion of the ecosystem services that link mountains with oceans (California Department of Water Resources, 2009), while making connections with our societies. On the other hand, the management of coastal areas is generally isolated from that of their upstream areas, including mountains, lakes and rivers, which are often targeted as independent management domains. More specifically, current watershed management regimes have not integrated hydrological orders (from mountain streams, through lakes, rivers and coastal areas, to oceans) with legislative tiers (from provinces, through municipalities, to towns).