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.
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
In the face of climate change impact and inevitable sea level rise, scientists studying New York’s Hudson River estuary have forecast new tidal wetlands, comprising perhaps 33 percent more wetland area by the year 2100.
Comments Off on As sea level rises, Hudson River wetlands may expand
A number of Alaska Native villages have been impacted so severely by these climate-induced threats, they have decided to relocate. Yet there is no agency designated to pay for and help implement an entire community’s move.
Comments Off on Unable to Endure Rising Seas, Alaskan Villages Stuck in Limbo
As Louisiana’s wetlands continue to disappear at an alarming rate, a new study has pinpointed the human-made structures that disrupt the natural water flow and threaten these important ecosystems. The findings have important implications for New Orleans and other coastal cities that rely on coastal wetlands to serve as buffer from destructive extreme weather events.
Comments Off on New study shows impact of human-made structures on Louisiana’s coastal wetlands
Seagrass beds help prevent coastal erosion in a number of ways, including by stabilising sediment in the ocean.
Comments Off on Seagrass a crucial weapon against coastal erosion
Thirty Million People. A statistic. But this statistic is made up of individuals. Thirty Million is a 35 minute documentary on the effects sea-level rise and climate change will have on the people of Bangladesh.
Comments Off on Thirty Million, a documentary from Raw Cinematics
Senate leaders hit the brakes last week on a fast-moving set of amendments to state environmental laws with several coastal-related provisions, including one that would for the first time target North Carolina’s three great capes as a sources of sand for beach re-nourishment.
Comments Off on Bill Marks Shoals as Sources for Beach Sand, NC
Vibrio bacteria live naturally in certain coastal waters and are present in higher concentrations between May and October when water temperatures are warmer. When ingested, it can lead to an illness in humans called fibrosis.
Comments Off on Day at the beach leaves Texas man with flesh-eating bacteria
A mammoth ship bearing 9,472 containers, on Sunday will become the first vessel to officially pass through the new expanded Panama Canal, a $5.25 billion project designed to modernize a 102-year-old landmark. Others worry about the ability of the nearly 300 canal pilots to safely guide the new giant ships through the snug locks and channels.
Comments Off on An expanded Panama Canal opens for giant ships
Explaining the formation of the dunes and the two islands.
Comments Off on Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore