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

Sand: the new gold

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

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

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

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

News, Pollution
Feb
28

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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Series of storms more than 150 years ago caused extensive erosion of the Carpinteria Salt Marsh

Erosion, Inform
Feb
27

Flooding isn’t new to the Santa Barbara coastline. However, the inundation doesn’t always come from the mountains as it did last month in Montecito. Back in 1861-2, a series of large storms washed beach sand more than a quarter mile inland into what today is the Carpinteria Salt Marsh. Although historical accounts document the inland flooding, little has been known about how those storms impacted a now heavily developed California coast.

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As climate change worsens, king penguins will need to move — or they’ll die

If we don’t cut greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change, then by the end of the century, 70 percent of king penguins could face a tough decision: either find a new home or die, according to new research.

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Large-scale commercial fishing covers more than half of the oceans, study finds

Scientists tag sharks to see where they roam in the high seas, but until now they couldn’t track the seas’ biggest eater: Humans.

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Mangroves free of 500 tonne of plastic

Nearly 500 tonne of plastic waste was removed from eight mangrove sites across Mumbai and suburban areas over the last two months. On an average, 70-80 tonne of plastic is removed every week, and 10-15 tonne every day.

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Recent / Inform

Series of storms more than 150 years ago caused extensive erosion of the Carpinteria Salt Marsh

February 27th, 2018

Flooding isn’t new to the Santa Barbara coastline. However, the inundation doesn’t always come from the mountains as it did last month in Montecito. Back in 1861-2, a series of large storms washed beach sand more than a quarter mile inland into what today is the Carpinteria Salt Marsh. Although historical accounts document the inland flooding, little has been known about how those storms impacted a now heavily developed California coast.

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As climate change worsens, king penguins will need to move — or they’ll die

February 26th, 2018

If we don’t cut greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change, then by the end of the century, 70 percent of king penguins could face a tough decision: either find a new home or die, according to new research.

Read More

Large-scale commercial fishing covers more than half of the oceans, study finds

February 25th, 2018

Scientists tag sharks to see where they roam in the high seas, but until now they couldn’t track the seas’ biggest eater: Humans.

Read More

Mangroves free of 500 tonne of plastic

February 24th, 2018

Nearly 500 tonne of plastic waste was removed from eight mangrove sites across Mumbai and suburban areas over the last two months. On an average, 70-80 tonne of plastic is removed every week, and 10-15 tonne every day.

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Plastic straw makers brace for bans

February 23rd, 2018

Plastic straw manufacturers are bracing for big changes. The tide is turning against their product. Cities and countries around the world are stepping up pressure on businesses and consumers to ditch the plastic drink accessory because of the pollution it causes.

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Sea level rise threatens to wipe out West Coast wetlands

February 22nd, 2018

Rising seas will drown most wetlands on the U.S. West Coast in less than a century, a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey warns. In many areas, the wetlands won’t be able to migrate inland without help.

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Work to clean up leaking oil off Summerland starts Monday, CA

February 22nd, 2018

After years of community pressure, one of the big polluting wells off the Summerlamd coast in California, will be capped in a project that starts next week.

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Ocean Refuge the Size of Great Britain Announced

February 22nd, 2018

The government of the Seychelles has created two new marine protected areas in the country’s remote Indian Ocean archipelago. The sanctioned areas will cover more than 81,000 square miles—a swath of space about the size of Great Britain.

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The next five years will shape sea level rise for the next 300, study says

February 21st, 2018

Peaking global carbon dioxide emissions as soon as possible is crucial for limiting the risks of sea-level rise, even if global warming is limited to well below 2 degrees C. A new study analyzes for the first time the sea-level legacy until 2300 within the constraints of the Paris Agreement.

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Industry is leaking huge amounts of microplastics, Swedish study shows

February 20th, 2018

Millions of plastic pellets are leaking out into the environment from a manufacturing site in Stenungsund, according to a new Swedish study. Despite several international and national sets of regulatory frameworks, the leaking continues.

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