Beach Nourishment

Sediment being pumped onto Figure Eight Island, North Carolina. View Beach Nourishment Gallery

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

Rewilding Santa Monica’s thoroughly artificial beach

In the early 1900s, L.A. County beaches were not yet the tourist destination they would one day become. To draw more tourists, local municipalities wanted the beaches of the Santa Monica Bay to mimic those on the nation’s opposite coast: bigger, flatter, wider. Beach managers decided then, to bend the area’s geology, making Southern California beaches take on a more Floridian aesthetic. It was built by moving sand from one place and dumping it into another, turning the tourist-friendly beach into an ecological wasteland.

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County warns businesses to stop mining sand, Maui

While sand mining is not illegal here, some community members are concerned about the resource being depleted and shipped off-island and archaeological damage. Mayor Alan Arakawa is among the concerned, saying the sand is needed for Maui projects and replenishing beaches.

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Battling erosion an endless job for South Carolina beach towns

In South Carolina, beach renourishment is a never-ending job…

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Plan Streamlines Re-Nourishment Permitting; North Carolina

A program designed to cut more than three months from the review process for certain beach re-nourishment projects will soon be unveiled.

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Kailua Beach sand project gets underway, triggers stream pollution fears

Longtime residents believe that the water quality in Kailua bay has degraded.

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A swath of Miami Beach was washing away. The fix? Dump 285,000 tons of sand on it

To widen a 3,000-foot stretch of Miami Beach’s shore that was washing away, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dumped 285,412 tons of sand on Mid-Beach, a $11.5 million project, funded with a combination of federal, state and county dollars.

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Atlantic City and Miami Beach: two takes on tackling the rising waters

Sea level rise is making floods more common and as the New Jersey resort braces for the next Sandy, the well-heeled Florida city is throwing money at the problem

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Adjust beach replenishment to minimize maritime dead zones

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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Fishermen, beach builders fight for underwater sand hills

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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Recent / Beach Nourishment

Rewilding Santa Monica’s thoroughly artificial beach

May 11th, 2017

In the early 1900s, L.A. County beaches were not yet the tourist destination they would one day become. To draw more tourists, local municipalities wanted the beaches of the Santa Monica Bay to mimic those on the nation’s opposite coast: bigger, flatter, wider. Beach managers decided then, to bend the area’s geology, making Southern California beaches take on a more Floridian aesthetic. It was built by moving sand from one place and dumping it into another, turning the tourist-friendly beach into an ecological wasteland.

Read More

County warns businesses to stop mining sand, Maui

May 3rd, 2017

While sand mining is not illegal here, some community members are concerned about the resource being depleted and shipped off-island and archaeological damage. Mayor Alan Arakawa is among the concerned, saying the sand is needed for Maui projects and replenishing beaches.

Read More

Battling erosion an endless job for South Carolina beach towns

April 30th, 2017

In South Carolina, beach renourishment is a never-ending job…

Read More

Plan Streamlines Re-Nourishment Permitting; North Carolina

April 7th, 2017

A program designed to cut more than three months from the review process for certain beach re-nourishment projects will soon be unveiled.

Read More

Kailua Beach sand project gets underway, triggers stream pollution fears

April 5th, 2017

Longtime residents believe that the water quality in Kailua bay has degraded.

Read More

A swath of Miami Beach was washing away. The fix? Dump 285,000 tons of sand on it

March 30th, 2017

To widen a 3,000-foot stretch of Miami Beach’s shore that was washing away, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dumped 285,412 tons of sand on Mid-Beach, a $11.5 million project, funded with a combination of federal, state and county dollars.

Read More

Atlantic City and Miami Beach: two takes on tackling the rising waters

March 20th, 2017

Sea level rise is making floods more common and as the New Jersey resort braces for the next Sandy, the well-heeled Florida city is throwing money at the problem

Read More

Adjust beach replenishment to minimize maritime dead zones

February 3rd, 2017

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.

Read More

Fishermen, beach builders fight for underwater sand hills

January 14th, 2017

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.

Read More

Reinforce and Build: The vicious cycle driving development on Florida’s most fragile beaches

December 20th, 2016

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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Related Resources

Coastal Care junior
The World's Beaches
Sand Mining
One Percent