Inform

The health, beauty and ecosystem of our beaches is under threat

The driving cause for most of these problems is overdevelopment and poor coastal management. If no buildings crowded the shoreline, there would be no shoreline armoring, beach nourishment, threats to the beach fauna and flora or shoreline erosion problems.

Coastal Care Introduction

“Beach sand: so common, so complex, so perfect for sandcastles; and now it is a precious and vanishing resource.”

—Orrin H. Pilkey

Beaches are the most visited natural attraction on the planet. The coast attracts millions of vacationing people each year. People love the sand, the surf, the sea breeze, and the vacation ambiance so much that many come to the beach to stay. There is a magical feeling living near the ocean, but human migration towards the coast comes with a high environmental price tag.

A majority of the world’s population lives within 50 km of the coast and the projections are 75% by the year 2025. This strip of land represents only 3% of the total land mass of the planet. In this context, it is easier to understand the environmental impact. Over 70% of the earth is covered by water and with so many people living on the coast, we are polluting a major source of food, the oceans.

A beautiful undeveloped beach in Indonesia.

A beautiful undeveloped beach in Indonesia.

The loss of life and economic impacts of major storms – cyclones, typhoons, and hurricanes – and tsunamis would be reduced drastically if beaches were not developed. Unfortunately, recent examples of the problem are numerous: 1999 Indian cyclone Orissa (over 10,000 dead and $5 billion in damage), 2004 Indian Ocean tsumani (over 250,000 dead), 2005 Hurricane Katrina (over 1,800 killed and $80 billion in damage), and 2008 Hurricane Ike (over 30 killed and $30 billion in damage).

Today, the health, beauty, and ecosystem function of the world’s beaches are under threat and the driving causes for most of these problems are over-development and poor coastal management. If no buildings crowded the shoreline there would be no shoreline armoring, beach nourishment, threats to the beach fauna and flora or shoreline erosion problems.

It is important to distinguish between erosion and erosion problems. Erosion refers to the landward retreat of the shoreline. Most of the world’s shorelines are eroding, a very few are building out (accreting). There is no erosion problem, however, until someone builds something next to a shoreline. All over the world in remote areas, shorelines are slowly retreating and no one cares. In a global sense, our continents are slowly shrinking, and in a very real sense, erosion problems are man made. On a high-rise, condo-lined shoreline like those in Spain and the Florida coast, erosion is a huge problem and will only worsen in the future as sea level rise accelerates. Sea level rise will accelerate erosion of the shoreline and have a dramatic impact on our infrastructures, our economies, and our way of life.

Sea level rise is one of the most important causes of global shoreline erosion. If the coastline is developed, shoreline armoring is often used in an effort to save the buildings from the eroding shoreline. Once this begins, the beaches will degrade and eventually be lost. In the long-term, however, these armoring efforts are in vain. The ocean will continue to rise as the rate of sea level rise is expected to increase as the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets continue to degrade. The situation is made worse now because beach houses and condominiums are being built closer to the ocean than they were 25 years ago. Many of us are familiar with images of large beach houses about to fall victim to the oceans simply from daily erosion accelerated by the ever rising sea.

The work of the Santa Aguila Foundation will emphasize the impacts of sand mining and shoreline armoring: the first because the effects of sand mining have been largely ignored on a global scale and the latter due to its overwhelming negative impacts on the world’s beaches.


Surfing in / Inform

New Insights on Hurricane Intensity, Pollution Transport

typhoon-philippines
News, Pollution
Aug
1

Researchers study currents that fuel hurricanes and transport pollutants to coastal beaches.

No comments

Bering Sea Hotspot for Corals and Sponges

bering-sea

North of the Aleutian Islands, submarine canyons in the cold waters of the eastern Bering Sea contain a highly productive “green belt” that is home to deep-water corals as well as a plethora of fish and marine mammals.

No comments

Hawaii’s Na Pali Coast Is The Beautiful Place You’ve Never Been

hawaii-islands

While travelers can hike the Na Pali coast or adore it from afar during a helicopter or boat tour, the kayak seems to outshine all other modes of transportation for exploring this remote Kauai paradise.

No comments

The Wild Alaskan Lands at Stake If the Pebble Mine Moves Ahead

alaska-mining-project1
News, Pollution
Jul
31

The proposed Pebble Mine in southwestern Alaska is a project of almost unfathomable scale. The mine would cover 28 square miles and require the construction of the world’s largest earthen dam — 700 feet high and several miles long — to hold back a 10-square-mile containment pond filled with up to 2.5 billion tons of sulfide-laden mine waste.

No comments

Photos: Spectacular Saltwater Marshes of the Eastern US

salt-marshes
Celebrate, Inform
Jul
31

The extensive estuarine saltwater marshes of eastern North America are large, flat, grassy areas that are flooded daily by the semidiurnal tides of the Atlantic Ocean.

No comments

Mystery Oil Sheen Discovered Off California Coast

coast-gaviota-cc
News, Pollution
Jul
31

An oil sheen showed up in the Pacific Ocean, yesterday at Goleta Beach, Santa Barbara County , leaving officials baffled as to what caused it.

No comments

Rain, Storm Surge Combine to Put Coasts at Risk

nyc-subway-flood

Many more coastal residents are at threat from the meteorological double whammy of freshwater flooding and storm surge, (compound flooding events) which a new study finds is a serious threat for large stretches of U.S. coast, where more than half of the country’s population lives in densely populated areas and where development has been steadily rising in recent decades.

No comments

Australian Humpback Whale Comeback: a ‘Symbol of Hope’

freedom-breach-pom-2013

Australia’s humpback populations have recovered so well from years of devastating whaling that they could be delisted as a threatened species in a conservation success story scientists Tuesday hailed as “a symbol of hope”.

No comments

African Ports Scramble for Land to Expand as Demand Rises

djibouti-port

With competition for space is intensifying around Africa’s coastal cities as urbanization gains momentum, ports are using dredged material and reclaiming land to expand container terminal capacity.

No comments

Recent / Inform

New Insights on Hurricane Intensity, Pollution Transport

typhoon-philippines

August 1st, 2015

Researchers study currents that fuel hurricanes and transport pollutants to coastal beaches.

Read More

Bering Sea Hotspot for Corals and Sponges

bering-sea

August 1st, 2015

North of the Aleutian Islands, submarine canyons in the cold waters of the eastern Bering Sea contain a highly productive “green belt” that is home to deep-water corals as well as a plethora of fish and marine mammals.

Read More

Hawaii’s Na Pali Coast Is The Beautiful Place You’ve Never Been

hawaii-islands

August 1st, 2015

While travelers can hike the Na Pali coast or adore it from afar during a helicopter or boat tour, the kayak seems to outshine all other modes of transportation for exploring this remote Kauai paradise.

Read More

The Wild Alaskan Lands at Stake If the Pebble Mine Moves Ahead

alaska-mining-project1

July 31st, 2015

The proposed Pebble Mine in southwestern Alaska is a project of almost unfathomable scale. The mine would cover 28 square miles and require the construction of the world’s largest earthen dam — 700 feet high and several miles long — to hold back a 10-square-mile containment pond filled with up to 2.5 billion tons of sulfide-laden mine waste.

Read More

Photos: Spectacular Saltwater Marshes of the Eastern US

salt-marshes

July 31st, 2015

The extensive estuarine saltwater marshes of eastern North America are large, flat, grassy areas that are flooded daily by the semidiurnal tides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Read More

Mystery Oil Sheen Discovered Off California Coast

coast-gaviota-cc

July 31st, 2015

An oil sheen showed up in the Pacific Ocean, yesterday at Goleta Beach, Santa Barbara County , leaving officials baffled as to what caused it.

Read More

Rain, Storm Surge Combine to Put Coasts at Risk

nyc-subway-flood

July 29th, 2015

Many more coastal residents are at threat from the meteorological double whammy of freshwater flooding and storm surge, (compound flooding events) which a new study finds is a serious threat for large stretches of U.S. coast, where more than half of the country’s population lives in densely populated areas and where development has been steadily rising in recent decades.

Read More

Australian Humpback Whale Comeback: a ‘Symbol of Hope’

freedom-breach-pom-2013

July 28th, 2015

Australia’s humpback populations have recovered so well from years of devastating whaling that they could be delisted as a threatened species in a conservation success story scientists Tuesday hailed as “a symbol of hope”.

Read More

African Ports Scramble for Land to Expand as Demand Rises

djibouti-port

July 28th, 2015

With competition for space is intensifying around Africa’s coastal cities as urbanization gains momentum, ports are using dredged material and reclaiming land to expand container terminal capacity.

Read More

Disastrous Sea Level Rise Is an Issue for Today’s Public – Not Next Millennium’s

coastal-erosion

July 28th, 2015

The bottom line message scientists should deliver to policymakers is that we have a global crisis, an emergency that calls for global cooperation to reduce emissions as rapidly as practical.

Read More


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