If we must nourish beaches, we should use the least damaging source areas for sand and regulations/laws to that effect are needed. In addition, there is a global sand quality problem – poor quality (gravelly, muddy, shelly sand) is being pumped up on beaches (North Carolina, USA, and southern Spain). Recognition of the biological impact of placing sand on a beach is a particularly great need as beach nourishment temporarily destroys the entire nearshore marine ecosystem affecting birds, nearshore fish, and invertebrates. Source areas for sand are sometimes problematic as was the case in 2007. The US Army Corps of Engineers used off-shore sand from a former dump site from WW II resulting in the deposition of sand on a New Jersey beach along with 700 live rounds of munitions. Fortunately, no one was injured, but vacationers digging in the sand found the munitions. Dubai poses different challenges – fine sediment from the dredging operations there has done permanent damage to the coral reefs and ecosystem. Active coral reefs were buried when artificial islands were created after 2000.
Surfing in / Beach Nourishment
Beach replenishment is an expensive and temporary method of maintaining barrier-island beaches. As the post-Hurricane Sandy rebuilding of all the beaches along New Jersey’s 127-mile Atlantic coast nears completion, an additional potential cost is becoming clear: Replenishment might be creating dead zones on land and at sea.
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Just a few miles off New Jersey’s coast is a series of underwater hills on the ocean floor, made of perfect-quality beach sand tens of thousands of years old. The value of these ancient sand hills to sea life, fishermen, scientists and beach-building engineers has set up a fight between those who would protect them and those who would mine them. And that battle is expected to intensify as rising sea levels are expected to magnify.
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This is the story of modern-day Florida, where the landscapes most susceptible to drowning and destruction are also the targets of both rampant development and beach nourishment — the process of shoring up eroding coastal landscapes with sand.
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Dump trucks returned to the Fort Lauderdale beachfront this month to finish a $55.6 million job rebuilding eroded beaches. But beneath the surface just offshore, the new sand could bury and harm acres of coral reef and extinguish tiny life forms that cling to the reefs or hover around them.
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The shores shrink, the tourists scatter, the tax base shrivels. That’s what troubles many communities across the state forced to shoulder the expensive burden of beach renourishment.
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Beaches are built one truckload at a time as the main ingredient in the State’s beach renourishemnt program – offshore sand – gets harder to find.
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Miami Beach has run out of sand. Now what?
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The beach might be running out of sand, money and time.
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Beach replenishment is costly and exacts a heavy toll on the environment, depleting underwater ridges that are home to a broad variety of sea life. Skeptics questioned how the state and Army Corps of Engineers can commit to spending nearly $2 billion in beach replenishment through the mid 21st century.
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