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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

Trump official under fire after granting broad access to mining and oil firms

A key Trump administration official scheduled roughly twice as many meetings with mining and fossil-fuel representatives as with environmental groups, public records requests have revealed.

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6 Gorgeous Sea Glass Beaches In The U.S.

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Mar
8

The only thing more special than taking a long walk on the beach might just be discovering a treasure while on that stroll—like a sea shell or a piece of sea glass.

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Sinking land will exacerbate flooding from sea level rise in Bay Area

Hazard maps use estimated sea level rise due to climate change to determine flooding risk for today’s shoreline, but don’t take into account that some land is sinking. A precise study of subsidence around San Francisco Bay shows that for conservative estimates of sea level rise, twice the area is in danger of flooding by 2100 than previously thought. Some landfill is sinking 10 mm per year, threatening the airport and parts of Silicon Valley.

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Best beaches in the UK and Europe: readers’ travel tips

A selection from Ireland to southern Italy.

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Today’s storm surge is tomorrow’s high tide, new report predicts

For the second time in just five days, the Northeast is facing a major coastal storm, or nor’easter, which is pushing ocean water over storm walls and into the streets of many coastal cities. The flooding comes as a major report released this week by NOAA highlights a growing threat facing coastal communities in all parts of the United States.

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Storm Emma: Scenes of devastation on British beach as millions of creatures washed onto shore

Millions of sea creatures including seals,fish and lobsters were washed up along the east coast of Yorkshire. Big tides and gale force winds from Storm Emma are believed to have caused the huge dump on Fraisthorpe beach near Bridlington.

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Sea swimming increases ailments

People who swim, bathe or take part in water sports in the sea are substantially more likely to experience stomach bugs, ear aches and other types of illness than those who do not.

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Powerful winter storms show damage high tides with sea level rise can do

With two powerful storms generating record high tides that inundated parts of the Atlantic Coast just weeks apart—and a third nor’easter on its way—environmental advocates are urging greater efforts to address climate change and adapt cities to sea level rise.

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Stop The Trump Administration’s Offshore Drilling Assault: A NRDC Petition

The Trump administration has released a disastrous proposal to auction off huge swaths of America’s oceans for oil and gas drilling — endangering our marine life and coastal communities with the risk of catastrophic oil spills, and threatening coastal jobs and economies.

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Recent / Inform

Today’s storm surge is tomorrow’s high tide, new report predicts

March 7th, 2018

For the second time in just five days, the Northeast is facing a major coastal storm, or nor’easter, which is pushing ocean water over storm walls and into the streets of many coastal cities. The flooding comes as a major report released this week by NOAA highlights a growing threat facing coastal communities in all parts of the United States.

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Storm Emma: Scenes of devastation on British beach as millions of creatures washed onto shore

March 6th, 2018

Millions of sea creatures including seals,fish and lobsters were washed up along the east coast of Yorkshire. Big tides and gale force winds from Storm Emma are believed to have caused the huge dump on Fraisthorpe beach near Bridlington.

Read More

Sea swimming increases ailments

March 6th, 2018

People who swim, bathe or take part in water sports in the sea are substantially more likely to experience stomach bugs, ear aches and other types of illness than those who do not.

Read More

Powerful winter storms show damage high tides with sea level rise can do

March 5th, 2018

With two powerful storms generating record high tides that inundated parts of the Atlantic Coast just weeks apart—and a third nor’easter on its way—environmental advocates are urging greater efforts to address climate change and adapt cities to sea level rise.

Read More

Stop The Trump Administration’s Offshore Drilling Assault: A NRDC Petition

March 5th, 2018

The Trump administration has released a disastrous proposal to auction off huge swaths of America’s oceans for oil and gas drilling — endangering our marine life and coastal communities with the risk of catastrophic oil spills, and threatening coastal jobs and economies.

Read More

Sand: the new gold

March 5th, 2018

This is one of the most consumed natural resources in the world. In cambodia, its mining as lead to an environmental catastrophe, while in singapore sand has contributed to 24% of the island’s expansion.

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Patterns and projections of high tide flooding along the US coastline using common impact threshold

March 5th, 2018

For forecasting purposes to ensure public safety, NOAA has established three coastal flood severity thresholds. The thresholds are based upon water level heights empirically calibrated to NOAA tide gauge measurements from years of impact monitoring by its Weather Forecast Offices (WFO) and emergency managers.

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Schoolboys employed in sand mining, Tamil Nadu, India

March 3rd, 2018

Poverty and proximity to riverbeds have been weaning away a number of children studying in government schools and pushing them into sand mining. The sand mafia, in a bid to find cheap labour, has been using schoolchildren to lift sand from the riverbeds. The unsuspecting youngsters fall prey to the designs of the mafia, tempted by the money on offer.

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Asia’s hunger for sand takes a toll on endangered species

March 3rd, 2018

Across Asia, rampant extraction of sand for construction is eroding coastlines and scouring waterways. t’s a global concern, but especially acute in Asia, where all trends show that urbanization and the region’s big construction boom are going to continue for many years.

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Becker well capped—a century later

February 28th, 2018

Summerland Beach was a scene of great joy earlier this week, as the barge from Curtin Maritime, Long Beach, arrived to the coastline and positioned itself to lower the construction equipment to cap the infamous leaking Becker Well.

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Coastal Care junior
The World's Beaches
Sand Mining
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