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

Marine life dwindles after beach renourishment at Folly Beach, SC

In what’s considered the first study of its kind in South Carolina, a state scientific report says two beach renourishment projects had a long-lasting effect on bugs, small shellfish and worms that lived in areas where offshore-sand mining occurred at Folly Beach.

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Coastal geologist criticizes beach renourishment efforts

“The federal government should rethink the wisdom of spending money to renourish beaches as sea levels rise and coastal property in the Carolinas and other places becomes increasingly vulnerable,” said Rob Young, a coastal geologist who heads the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at WCU.

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Despite millions spent on sand, Presque Isle in danger of splitting in two

The Lake Erie peninsula is in danger of breaking in two, despite millions of taxpayer dollars spent trying to preserve it.

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Bill Marks Shoals as Sources for Beach Sand, NC

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.

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Shifting sand differs on developed, undeveloped beaches; Georgia

Natural and undeveloped beaches should not be armored or modified with “nourishment,” as the sand-sharing system moves deposits from dune to beach in storms and back again. Normally following storms, beach sands are gradually returned to reform dunes.

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Study to deter Maui beach erosion finds offshore sand

300,000 cubic yards of sand have been discovered off Kahana Bay in April, and this offshore sand is intended to be dredged to re-nourish eroding beaches in west Maui.

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Danger in the sand: Miami beach votes to secure control over sand

The City of Miami Beach voted to secure some control over the donation of sand to its beaches- which are owned by the state of Florida.

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Where’s all the sand in La Jolla? CA

La Jolla beaches in Southern California, present an erosion level that has surprised residents and visitors this spring.

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Green group questions beach renourishment costs, environmental effects

A local environmental group is questioning the need to spend millions of taxpayer dollars for beach renourishment work.

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Recent / Beach Nourishment

Shifting sand differs on developed, undeveloped beaches; Georgia

June 14th, 2016

Natural and undeveloped beaches should not be armored or modified with “nourishment,” as the sand-sharing system moves deposits from dune to beach in storms and back again. Normally following storms, beach sands are gradually returned to reform dunes.

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Study to deter Maui beach erosion finds offshore sand

June 6th, 2016

300,000 cubic yards of sand have been discovered off Kahana Bay in April, and this offshore sand is intended to be dredged to re-nourish eroding beaches in west Maui.

Read More

Danger in the sand: Miami beach votes to secure control over sand

May 12th, 2016

The City of Miami Beach voted to secure some control over the donation of sand to its beaches- which are owned by the state of Florida.

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Where’s all the sand in La Jolla? CA

May 6th, 2016

La Jolla beaches in Southern California, present an erosion level that has surprised residents and visitors this spring.

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Green group questions beach renourishment costs, environmental effects

April 11th, 2016

A local environmental group is questioning the need to spend millions of taxpayer dollars for beach renourishment work.

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Study: Sand nourishment linked to fewer marine life

April 4th, 2016

UC San Diego biologists who examined the biological impact of replenishing eroded beaches with offshore sand found that such beach replenishment efforts could have long-term negative impacts on coastal ecosystems.

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Hawaii bill to restore Waikiki Beach

March 3rd, 2016

Despite being one of Hawaii’s most iconic beaches, many visitors don’t know Waikiki Beach is actually an engineered beach that has been filled with imported sand. Waikiki has been facing erosion problems for years, and Hawaii lawmakers are pushing a bill to restore it…again. The state estimates that approximately 300,000 cubic yards of sand have been imported to Waikiki beaches over the past 75 years, often mined from other beaches in the state.

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Is there enough sand to go around?

February 1st, 2016

The sand we spread our towels on in visits to the Delaware beach towns was once at the bottom of the sea, before engineers pumped it onto the shoreline in a wave of beach replenishment projects.

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Fairhope continues to fight beach erosion, AL

January 15th, 2016

After a major beach replenishment effort in 2014, the city of Fairhope continues to fight erosion problems. The beach near the Pier Street boat ramp is losing about 10 percent of its sand each year. For the second year in a row, tons of sand have been lost at the public beach south of Pier Street. It’s an ongoing battle with Mother Nature.

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Coastal erosion needs our attention

January 4th, 2016

65 acres of Massachusetts coastline is carried away every year by raging storms and rising seas. That’s not a problem unless we build a house on the beach. Today, 40 percent of the commonwealth’s 1,500-mile shoreline is residentially occupied.

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Related Resources

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