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

More exploration approved at Icy Cape, Alaska

News, Sand Mining
Nov
18

A long stretch of beach at Icy Cape near Yakutat holds the possibility of massive mineral deposit that could produce millions in mining revenue for the Alaska Mental Health Land Trust.

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Radioactivity Lingers from 1946-1958 Nuclear Bomb Tests

Scientists have found lingering radioactivity in the lagoons of remote Marshall Island atolls in the Pacific Ocean where the United States conducted 66 nuclear weapons tests in the 1940s and 1950s.

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Sand washes away as quickly as it can be dumped, Bathtub Beach, FL

Between 2004 and 2014, some $13.6 million was spent on beach renourishment in Martin County, Florida. About $7.1 million came from local funds — your tax dollars. In the past two years, more than $6 million from a variety of sources has been spent to renourish and restore dunes at Bathtub Beach alone.

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Coastal Commission Rejects Bid to Cancel Broad Beach Sand Replacement Permit

One of the line-items on the November 2017 California Coastal Commission agenda was a one-year extension of the beleaguered Broad Beach Replenishment Project. Following years of delays with issues ranging from sand sourcing to legal battles of all shapes and sizes, the project has been slow to get off the ground, and proponents of alternatives such as artificial reefs are hoping to succeed.

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Amed Beach, Bali

Celebrate, Inform
Nov
16

Amed Beach has a second name, one that becomes clearer once you walk to the coast and notice the dark volcanic sand. The gorgeous beach is also dubbed “Black Beauty” for its inky coastline.

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Pacific Island countries could lose 50 to 80% of fish in local waters under climate change

Many Pacific Island nations will lose 50 to 80 percent of marine species in their waters by the end of the 21st century if climate change continues unchecked, finds a new study. This area of the ocean is projected to be the most severely impacted by aspects of climate change.

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Plastics found in stomachs of deepest sea creatures

News, Pollution
Nov
15

The study, led by academics at Newcastle University, found animals from trenches across the Pacific Ocean were contaminated with fibres that probably originated from plastic bottles, packaging and synthetic clothes.

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This Mumbai lawyer inspired a massive beach cleanup

News, Pollution
Nov
14

Since Oct. 2015, Afroz Shah, a constitutional lawyer and a full time “ocean lover and a beach cleaner,” has been clearing trash for four hours every weekend in what the United Nations has called the world’s biggest beach clean up ever. His efforts have inspired others.

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Hong Kong’s Government Is Spending Billions Taking Land from the Sea

Through expensive, time intensive, and complicated land reclamation projects, Hong Kong is continually extending out and into the water, where there wasn’t land before.

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Recent / Inform

Coastal Commission Rejects Bid to Cancel Broad Beach Sand Replacement Permit

November 17th, 2017

One of the line-items on the November 2017 California Coastal Commission agenda was a one-year extension of the beleaguered Broad Beach Replenishment Project. Following years of delays with issues ranging from sand sourcing to legal battles of all shapes and sizes, the project has been slow to get off the ground, and proponents of alternatives such as artificial reefs are hoping to succeed.

Read More

Amed Beach, Bali

November 16th, 2017

Amed Beach has a second name, one that becomes clearer once you walk to the coast and notice the dark volcanic sand. The gorgeous beach is also dubbed “Black Beauty” for its inky coastline.

Read More

Pacific Island countries could lose 50 to 80% of fish in local waters under climate change

November 15th, 2017

Many Pacific Island nations will lose 50 to 80 percent of marine species in their waters by the end of the 21st century if climate change continues unchecked, finds a new study. This area of the ocean is projected to be the most severely impacted by aspects of climate change.

Read More

Plastics found in stomachs of deepest sea creatures

November 15th, 2017

The study, led by academics at Newcastle University, found animals from trenches across the Pacific Ocean were contaminated with fibres that probably originated from plastic bottles, packaging and synthetic clothes.

Read More

This Mumbai lawyer inspired a massive beach cleanup

November 14th, 2017

Since Oct. 2015, Afroz Shah, a constitutional lawyer and a full time “ocean lover and a beach cleaner,” has been clearing trash for four hours every weekend in what the United Nations has called the world’s biggest beach clean up ever. His efforts have inspired others.

Read More

Hong Kong’s Government Is Spending Billions Taking Land from the Sea

November 14th, 2017

Through expensive, time intensive, and complicated land reclamation projects, Hong Kong is continually extending out and into the water, where there wasn’t land before.

Read More

Climate change imperils one in four natural heritage sites: report

November 13th, 2017

Climate change imperils one in four natural World Heritage sites, including coral reefs, glaciers, and wetlands—nearly double the number from just three years ago, a report said Monday.

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Venice Is Restricting Access to Cruise Ships

November 13th, 2017

Italy’s transport minister announced this week that Venice will ban all cruise ships from entering the city center.

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Swallowed by the Sea: Where coastal infrastructure and jobs meet climate change

November 11th, 2017

Life is shifting fast for coastal communities in West Africa. In some areas, coastlines are eroding as much as 10 meters per year. Stronger storms and rising seas are wiping out homes, roads and buildings that have served as landmarks for generations.

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Great Barrier Reef protected zones help fish in even lightly exploited areas

November 11th, 2017

Protected zones of the Great Barrier Reef benefit fish even at the relatively lightly-fished northern reefs, according to a new study.

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