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.

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Are there any natural beaches remaining in the United States?


Abstract, by Robert Young, Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, North Carolina, United States.

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Sydney’s Beach protection attempt may carry price tag of $700m

Preserving Sydney’s beaches against rising sea levels could cost more than $700 million over the next 50 years and would require the government to reverse its long-standing position regarding offshore sand mining.

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Land Reclamation at Rotterdam, Netherlands

The Port of Rotterdam is already Europe’s biggest port, but the Maasvlakte 2 Land Reclamation Project will triple its container capacity in one bold stroke. Stretching 3 miles beyond the former coastline, Maasvlakte 2 will be as large as Midtown and Downtown Manhattan combined.


Cancun’s Beaches: Vanishing Sand and Wasted Money

In a major restoration project last year, millions of cubic yards (meters) of sand were dredged from the sandy bottom of the Caribbean and pumped ashore in Cancun. The project created a seven-mile stretch of beach some 40 to 70 yards (meters) wide, at a cost of about $70 million. It is already washing away.

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Waikiki Beach Replenishment

On the Waikiki shoreline, what’s here today will be gone tomorrow.

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The battle for the beaches of Cancun

The science of why the beaches have eroded is not nearly as complex as the politics attached to their recovery.

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Kashima Beach, Japan; By Andrew Cooper

Kahima Beach, Japan

Kashima, 80 km east of Tokyo, is one of Japan’s most important ports.

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Related Resources

Coastal Care junior
The World's Beaches
Sand Mining
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