Inform

The health, beauty and ecosystem of our beaches is under threat

The driving cause for most of these problems is overdevelopment and poor coastal management. If no buildings crowded the shoreline, there would be no shoreline armoring, beach nourishment, threats to the beach fauna and flora or shoreline erosion problems.

Coastal Care Introduction

“Beach sand: so common, so complex, so perfect for sandcastles; and now it is a precious and vanishing resource.”

—Orrin H. Pilkey

Beaches are the most visited natural attraction on the planet. The coast attracts millions of vacationing people each year. People love the sand, the surf, the sea breeze, and the vacation ambiance so much that many come to the beach to stay. There is a magical feeling living near the ocean, but human migration towards the coast comes with a high environmental price tag.

A majority of the world’s population lives within 50 km of the coast and the projections are 75% by the year 2025. This strip of land represents only 3% of the total land mass of the planet. In this context, it is easier to understand the environmental impact. Over 70% of the earth is covered by water and with so many people living on the coast, we are polluting a major source of food, the oceans.

A beautiful undeveloped beach in Indonesia.

A beautiful undeveloped beach in Indonesia.

The loss of life and economic impacts of major storms – cyclones, typhoons, and hurricanes – and tsunamis would be reduced drastically if beaches were not developed. Unfortunately, recent examples of the problem are numerous: 1999 Indian cyclone Orissa (over 10,000 dead and $5 billion in damage), 2004 Indian Ocean tsumani (over 250,000 dead), 2005 Hurricane Katrina (over 1,800 killed and $80 billion in damage), and 2008 Hurricane Ike (over 30 killed and $30 billion in damage).

Today, the health, beauty, and ecosystem function of the world’s beaches are under threat and the driving causes for most of these problems are over-development and poor coastal management. If no buildings crowded the shoreline there would be no shoreline armoring, beach nourishment, threats to the beach fauna and flora or shoreline erosion problems.

It is important to distinguish between erosion and erosion problems. Erosion refers to the landward retreat of the shoreline. Most of the world’s shorelines are eroding, a very few are building out (accreting). There is no erosion problem, however, until someone builds something next to a shoreline. All over the world in remote areas, shorelines are slowly retreating and no one cares. In a global sense, our continents are slowly shrinking, and in a very real sense, erosion problems are man made. On a high-rise, condo-lined shoreline like those in Spain and the Florida coast, erosion is a huge problem and will only worsen in the future as sea level rise accelerates. Sea level rise will accelerate erosion of the shoreline and have a dramatic impact on our infrastructures, our economies, and our way of life.

Sea level rise is one of the most important causes of global shoreline erosion. If the coastline is developed, shoreline armoring is often used in an effort to save the buildings from the eroding shoreline. Once this begins, the beaches will degrade and eventually be lost. In the long-term, however, these armoring efforts are in vain. The ocean will continue to rise as the rate of sea level rise is expected to increase as the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets continue to degrade. The situation is made worse now because beach houses and condominiums are being built closer to the ocean than they were 25 years ago. Many of us are familiar with images of large beach houses about to fall victim to the oceans simply from daily erosion accelerated by the ever rising sea.

The work of the Santa Aguila Foundation will emphasize the impacts of sand mining and shoreline armoring: the first because the effects of sand mining have been largely ignored on a global scale and the latter due to its overwhelming negative impacts on the world’s beaches.


Surfing in / Inform

The Pearl, Qatar

The Pearl-Qatar, a man-made island spanning approximately 1.5 square kilometers (0.6 square miles), extends from the mainland, and once fully completed, The Pearl will create over 32 kilometers of new coastline.

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Estuaries may experience accelerated impacts of human-caused CO2

Rising anthropogenic, or human-caused, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may have up to twice the impact on coastal estuaries as it does in the oceans because the human-caused CO2 lowers the ecosystem’s ability to absorb natural fluctuations of the greenhouse gas, a new study suggests.

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Dolphins tear up nets as fish numbers fall

University of Exeter researchers studied the impact of bottlenose dolphins on fisheries off northern Cyprus and said Mediterranean overfishing had created a “vicious cycle” of dolphins and fishers competing for dwindling stocks.

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Students Dig Into Decades of Turtle Data

More than three decades’ worth of information is, for the first time, being pieced together to tell a story of sea turtle nesting habits on Bald Head Island’s shores.

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Federal report: High-tide flooding could happen ‘every other day’ by late this century

High-tide flooding, which can wash water over roads and inundate homes and businesses, is an event that happens once in a great while in coastal areas. But its frequency has rapidly increased in recent years because of sea-level rise. Not just during storms but increasingly on sunny days, too.

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The World’s Dirtiest River is Getting Cleaned Up; A Video

News, Pollution
Mar
28

“The Citarum river, in 7 years, will be the cleanest river.” – Indonesian President Widodo…

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This Could Be the ‘Beginning of the End’ for North Atlantic Right Whales

Researchers who have been observing migrating North Atlantic right whales, which are endangered, are troubled by what they found this season: no sign of any newborns.

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South-east Asia closes island beaches to recover from climate change and tourism

More popular South-east Asian islands will be off limits to visitors this year as officials seek to protect eco-systems crumbling from warming seas and unchecked sprawl, despite the risk to tourism revenues and tens of thousands of jobs.

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Journalist investigating illegal sand mining cases run over by truck, MP, India

News, Sand Mining
Mar
26

A journalist investigating illegal sand mining cases in Bhind district of Madhya Pradesh was run over by a truck on Monday, media reports said.

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Recent / Inform

Estuaries may experience accelerated impacts of human-caused CO2

April 2nd, 2018

Rising anthropogenic, or human-caused, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may have up to twice the impact on coastal estuaries as it does in the oceans because the human-caused CO2 lowers the ecosystem’s ability to absorb natural fluctuations of the greenhouse gas, a new study suggests.

Read More

Dolphins tear up nets as fish numbers fall

March 29th, 2018

University of Exeter researchers studied the impact of bottlenose dolphins on fisheries off northern Cyprus and said Mediterranean overfishing had created a “vicious cycle” of dolphins and fishers competing for dwindling stocks.

Read More

Students Dig Into Decades of Turtle Data

March 29th, 2018

More than three decades’ worth of information is, for the first time, being pieced together to tell a story of sea turtle nesting habits on Bald Head Island’s shores.

Read More

Federal report: High-tide flooding could happen ‘every other day’ by late this century

March 29th, 2018

High-tide flooding, which can wash water over roads and inundate homes and businesses, is an event that happens once in a great while in coastal areas. But its frequency has rapidly increased in recent years because of sea-level rise. Not just during storms but increasingly on sunny days, too.

Read More

The World’s Dirtiest River is Getting Cleaned Up; A Video

March 28th, 2018

“The Citarum river, in 7 years, will be the cleanest river.” – Indonesian President Widodo…

Read More

This Could Be the ‘Beginning of the End’ for North Atlantic Right Whales

March 27th, 2018

Researchers who have been observing migrating North Atlantic right whales, which are endangered, are troubled by what they found this season: no sign of any newborns.

Read More

South-east Asia closes island beaches to recover from climate change and tourism

March 27th, 2018

More popular South-east Asian islands will be off limits to visitors this year as officials seek to protect eco-systems crumbling from warming seas and unchecked sprawl, despite the risk to tourism revenues and tens of thousands of jobs.

Read More

Journalist investigating illegal sand mining cases run over by truck, MP, India

March 26th, 2018

A journalist investigating illegal sand mining cases in Bhind district of Madhya Pradesh was run over by a truck on Monday, media reports said.

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Dead zone in Gulf of Mexico will take decades to recover from farm pollution

March 26th, 2018

The enormous “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico will take decades to recover even if the flow of farming chemicals that is causing the damage is completely halted.

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Sand Mining in Uganda Poses a Serious Threat to the Environment

March 25th, 2018

Environmentalists in Uganda say an important wetland that runs along a highway linking the capital city of Kampala to the southwestern town of Masaka is being harmed by aggressive dredging to extract sand.

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