Category Archives: Inform

Sri Lanka wields mangroves, its tsunami shield, against climate change

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Galle, Sri Lanka. Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care.

Excerpts;

Fifteen years after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Sri Lanka’s government intends to keep expanding the island’s coastal green belt — the chain of mangrove swamps credited with limiting the damage and destruction of the deadly waves…

Read Full Article; MongaBay (09-22-2019)

Sri Lanka to become the first nation in the world to protect all its mangroves; Guardian UK (05-12-2015)
More than half the world’s mangroves have been lost over the last century but all of those surviving in Sri Lanka, one of their most important havens, are now to be protected in an unprecedented operation…

Sri Lankan mangroves respond to conservation plan; SciDev (08-18-2016)
A year after Sri Lanka launched a mangrove conservation plan, about half of its 37,000 hectares of mangrove forests are in a various stage of revival, officials say…

Destruction of Mangroves Costs up to US$42 billion in Economic Damages Annually – UNEP Report (10-14-2014)
The world is losing its mangroves at a faster rate than global deforestation, the United Nations revealed, in a new report “Importance of Mangroves: A Call to Action,” adding that the destruction of the coastal habitats was costing billions in economic damages and impacting millions of lives…

Facing Storms Without the Mangrove Wall, IPS News (10-15-2014)
While tropical cyclones and storms cannot be stopped in their tracks, there is a natural defense system against their more savage impacts: mangroves. And experts fear their tremendous value is being woefully under-appreciated, to tragic effect, all around the world..

The World Must Invest In Mangroves, The Ecologist (04-11-2014)

Shocked scientists find 400km of dead and damaged mangroves in Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia

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Mangrove roots. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

A cascade of impacts including rising sea levels, heatwaves and back-to-back tropical cyclones has created 400km of dead and badly damaged mangroves in the Gulf of Carpentaria, a scientific monitoring trip has discovered…

Read Full Article; Guardian UK (10-03-2019)

Massive mangrove die-off on Gulf of Carpentaria worst in the world; Guardian UK (07-11-2016)
Climate change and El Niño have caused the worst mangrove die-off in recorded history, stretching along 700km of Australia’s Gulf of Carpentaria. And last week it was revealed warm ocean temperatures had wiped out 100km of important kelp forests off the coast of Western Australia…

Queensland’s mangrove ecosystem dying in secret, Brisbane Times (05-20-2016)
There have been large scale diebacks of mangrove trees in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Scientists are not exactly sure what happened up there in the most remote areas of Queensland, but they know the damage is extensive and unprecedented…

Mangroves die-off in Queensland’s Gulf Country and Limmen Bight, ABC News Australia (05-13-2016)
Experts have been focusing on hundreds of kilometres of mangroves along the coast in Queensland, that have turned a ghostly white. Serious concerns about the situation, which is compared to coral bleaching happening on the Great Barrier Reef, which is the result of warmer ocean temperatures, are raised…

Destruction of Mangroves Costs up to US$42 billion in Economic Damages Annually – UNEP Report (10-14-2014)
The world is losing its mangroves at a faster rate than global deforestation, the United Nations revealed, in a new report “Importance of Mangroves: A Call to Action,” adding that the destruction of the coastal habitats was costing billions in economic damages and impacting millions of lives…

Wahala: trouble in the Niger delta – photo essay

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The first oil well in Oloibiri, drilled by Shell in 1956. Oloibiri is located in Bayelsa State, in the eastern Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Photo source: ©© Rhys

Excerpts;

Covering 70,000 sq km (27,000 sq miles) of wetlands, the Niger delta used to be an incredibly rich ecosystem that contained one of the highest concentrations of biodiversity on the planet before the oil industry moved to the area.

The Nigerian petroleum resources department estimated 1.89m barrels were spilled into the Niger delta between 1976 and 1996. A United Nations development programme report states there have been a total of 6,817 spills between 1976 and 2001, which account for a loss of 3m barrels of oil.

So far, no real action has been taken by the authorities and oil companies to clean up and renaturalise the delta, and oil spills are still very common. Half of them are caused by pipeline and tanker accidents…

Read Full Article; Guardian UK (10-18-2019)

Niger delta oil spill clean-up launched – but could take quarter of a century; Guardian UK (06-01-2016)

Niger Delta: Shell’s Manifestly False Claims About Oil Pollution Exposed, Again; (11-09-2015), Amnesty International
Claims by oil giant Shell that it has cleaned up heavily polluted areas of the Niger Delta are blatantly false, Amnesty International and the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) said in a report…

Oil pollution in Niger Delta: Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland Report; Unep (08-04-2011)
A report by the UN Environment Programme, which carried out a 14-month assessment of pollution from over 50 years of oil operations in Ogoniland – Niger Delta region, has found widespread and devastating oil pollution that may require the world’s biggest ever clean-up, that could take 20-30 years. The UNEP also called for the oil industry and the Nigerian government to contribute $1 billion to a clean-up fund for the region to properly address this “tragic legacy.”

Illegal Oil Refineries In The Niger Delta, in Pictures; Guardian UK (01-22-2013)
Photographer Akintunde Akinleye documents for Guardian UK, the dangerous practice of illegal oil refining in the Niger Delta, which damages the environment and the health of local people…

Army Corps’ proposal for sand dunes in newest plan brings questions about cost, feasibility


Coastal restoration, living shorelines. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

A $32 billion plan for a coastal barrier system to protect the Houston-Galveston region, including 14-foot-high dune fields is seen as the latest innovation designed for Texas to engineer its way out of an existential crisis: a coastline gradually vanishing and increasingly vulnerable to massive storm surges and sea level rise…

Read Full Article; The Houston Chronicle (10-16-2019)

Rethinking Living Shorelines, By Orrin H. Pilkey, Rob Young, Norma Longo, and Andy Coburn;Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines / Western Carolina University, March 1, 2012, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University
In response to the detrimental environmental impacts caused by traditional erosion control structures, environmental groups, state and federal resource management agencies, now advocate an approach known as “Living Shorelines”that embraces the use of natural habitat elements such as indigenous vegetation, to stabilize and protect eroding shorelines.

A softer approach, living shorelines as an alternative to a hardened coast; PortCity (05-12-2018)

NOAA Study Finds Marshes, Reefs, Beaches Can Enhance Coastal Resilience, NOAA (04-29-2015)

NOAA study finds ‘living shorelines’ can lessen climate change’s effects, NOAA (12-22-2015)

Living Shorelines: Better Than Bulkheads, Coastal Review Online (02-08-2016)
More than 14,000 miles – 14 percent of continental U.S. coastline — has been armored with hardened structures. Hardened structures cause elevated rates of erosion on the shoreward side of the

Coastal Hazards & Targeted Acquisitions: A Reasonable Shoreline Management Alternative: North Topsail Beach, North Carolina Case Study; by the Western Carolina University Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, July 1, 2019

Scientists rush to rescue sea turtles threatened by mysterious Brazil oil spill


Atlantic coast, Brazil. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Crude oil has been washing up on the coast of the Brazilian northeast for over a month, leaving more than 150 of Brazil’s postcard-perfect beaches covered in thick, sludgy black patches.

The origin of the oil, found in nine Brazilian states along a 1,200-mile stretch of coastline, remains unknown. It is also along this coastline that olive ridley and loggerhead sea turtles come to make their nests and lay their eggs.

Read Full Article; PRI (10-15-2019)

Mysterious Oil Spill Becomes New Environmental Crisis for Brazil; The NYT (10-08-2019)
A mysterious oil spill that has polluted shores along a vast area of Brazil’s northeast may have resulted from unspecified criminal activity. An estimated 100 tons of crude has drifted toward land since early September, polluting some of the country’s most pristine beaches…

Melting ice redraws the World map and starts a power struggle


Svalbard, Arctic region. Photo source: ©© Bjorn Alfthan / UNEP

Excerpts;

The Arctic is emerging as a potential geopolitical flashpoint for the U.S., Russia and China as shipping routes get unblocked…

Read Full Article; Bloomberg (10-11-2019)

Marine mammals most at risk from increased Arctic ship traffic; Science Daily (07-02-2018)
The first comprehensive survey of Arctic marine mammal populations’ vulnerability to shipping along two main routes finds which face the most risks from heavier traffic in the region…

“FREIGHTENED – The Real Price of Shipping,” a movie by multi award-winning filmmaker Denis Delestrac-©-2016; (03-31-2016)
90% of the goods we consume in the West are manufactured in far-off lands and brought to us by ship. The cargo shipping industry is a key player in world economy and forms the basis of our very model of modern civilisation; without it, it would be impossible to fulfil the ever-increasing demands of our societies. Yet the functioning and regulations of this business remain largely obscure to many, and its hidden costs affect us all. Due to their size, freight ships no longer fit in traditional city harbours; they have moved out of the public’s eye, behind barriers and check points…

Nor’easter submerges newly replenished N.J. beaches


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

An ocean storm will continue to meander off the Middle Atlantic coast through Saturday, generating a strong onshore flow that will continue to lash New Jersey beaches.

Lavallette and Seaside Heights are both recent recipients of Army Corps of Engineers beach replenishment and engineered protective dune systems. While the beaches were underwater, water did not appear to impact the dunes…

Read Full Article; WHYY (10-11-2019)

Can Adding Sand to Beaches Save Them? How Stuff Works (04-13-2018)
The question is, can beach nourishment keep up with the ever-increasing forces of climate change or, like Sisyphus forever pushing his boulder up the hill, is adding sand to beaches an expensive, temporary fix to a long-term problem?..

A look at the billions of dollars behind beach renourishment: Is it worth it? WMBF (10-15-2018)

“A Never-Ending Commitment”: The High Cost of Preserving Vulnerable Beaches; ProPublica (09-27-2018)
The U.S. government pays to dump truckloads of sand onto eroding beaches, in a cycle that is said to harm ecosystems and disproportionately benefit the rich…

Coastal geologist criticizes beach renourishment efforts; By Robert S. Young, PhD; The State (08-17-2016)
Rob Young, who heads the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University, said the government is subsidizing coastal development with renourishment money – and that’s costing taxpayers. Communities across the country have spent millions of dollars renourishing beaches. Those efforts encourage people to rebuild after every major hurricane…

Palm Beach Mid-Town Dredge Project, A Youtube Video (02-04-2015)
“Beach nourishment projects like this have become commonplace along the US East and Gulf Coasts. These projects have immediate environmental impacts through burial of nearshore habitat and increased turbidity during project placement.The cumulative environmental impacts of doing this repeatedly on the same beach while conducting projects from Maine to Texas is unknown. But, we should be concerned. ” —Robert S. Young, PhD, Director, Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, Professor, Coastal Geology, Western Carolina University

Piling sand to stop erosion ultimately made the land sink, study says, NOLA (12-26-2015)

Is pumping more sand onto NC beaches causing deadly currents?; The News & Observer (08-30-2018)
A growing number of scientists and coastal engineers worry that there’s a serious downside to beach nourishment: Unnaturally altered beaches could pose an elevated risk of injury to the very tourists that sand replenishment was meant to attract…

A wider, deeper beach awaits Ocean City vacationers, but is it safe? The Washington Post (06-01-2018)
Ocean City vacationers may notice deeper, wider beaches, the result of a $282 million sand-dredging project aimed at protecting the resort town from storm damage. But the work also raises concerns about surf injuries and swimmer safety…

Widening beaches might bring more hazards, researchers say; Sun Sentinel (04-04-2018)
Widening beaches might be linked to an increase in accidents, according to new data. The number of ocean rescues spikes after beaches are buffed up, according to the data published in the Journal of Ocean Research…