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

Study: NC gets ‘D’ for climate change policies

Days after a federal report issued a harsh warning about climate change, an environmental group said North Carolina’s policies leave the state among the most ill-prepared on the East Coast to deal with the effects of rising seas.

Comments Off on Study: NC gets ‘D’ for climate change policies

Line drawn on sand sales: EBay removes listings for sand purportedly from Hawaii beaches

EBay has removed numerous listings advertising the sale of sand purported to be from Hawaii beaches, including iconic Papakolea Beach — also known as Green Sands Beach — after the Tribune-Herald inquired about the sand sales.

Comments Off on Line drawn on sand sales: EBay removes listings for sand purportedly from Hawaii beaches

Dramatic rise in plastic seabed litter around UK

News, Pollution
Nov
4

An average of 358 litter items were found per square kilometre of seabed in 2016, a 158% rise on the previous year, and 222% higher than the average for 1992-94. Almost 78% of the litter is plastic.

Comments Off on Dramatic rise in plastic seabed litter around UK

While a new island grew, southern Hatteras was shrinking, NC

Whatever forces crafted the new, crescent-shaped island at Cape Point is steadily gulping down the south end of Hatteras Island, spitting aside trees, power poles and a popular route for off-road vehicles.

Comments Off on While a new island grew, southern Hatteras was shrinking, NC

The world is running out of sand

After a trip to the beach, you’re likely to return with sand in your hair, between your toes, underneath your fingernails. It might be difficult to believe that the world is running out of the stuff, but it is.

Comments Off on The world is running out of sand

Intensifying winds could increase east Antarctica’s contribution to sea level rise

A new study led by the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics has found that wind over the ocean off the coast of East Antarctica causes warm, deep waters to upwell, circulate under Totten Glacier, the largest glacier in East Antarctica, and melt the fringes of the East Antarctic ice sheet from below.

Comments Off on Intensifying winds could increase east Antarctica’s contribution to sea level rise

South Florida, Out of Beach, Wants to Buy Sand from the Bahamas

Miami-Dade County lost 170,000 cubic yards of sand during Hurricane Irma. It’s the latest blow to South Florida beaches in perennial decline. Nearly half the state’s coast—411 miles’ worth of beach—is considered “critically eroded.”

Comments Off on South Florida, Out of Beach, Wants to Buy Sand from the Bahamas

Ancient storms could have hurled huge boulders, scientists say – raising new concerns of rising seas

An international team of researchers has come up with a new theory to explain how two giant boulders could have made their way atop a cliff on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera. They suspect it has something to do with the Atlantic Ocean far below them.

Comments Off on Ancient storms could have hurled huge boulders, scientists say – raising new concerns of rising seas

New Federal Study: Dredging is harming more endangered fish

A study from the National Marine Fisheries Service says a few more endangered sturgeon and sea turtles have been killed as a result of the dredging in the Savannah River.

Comments Off on New Federal Study: Dredging is harming more endangered fish

Recent / Inform

Intensifying winds could increase east Antarctica’s contribution to sea level rise

November 3rd, 2017

A new study led by the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics has found that wind over the ocean off the coast of East Antarctica causes warm, deep waters to upwell, circulate under Totten Glacier, the largest glacier in East Antarctica, and melt the fringes of the East Antarctic ice sheet from below.

Read More

South Florida, Out of Beach, Wants to Buy Sand from the Bahamas

November 2nd, 2017

Miami-Dade County lost 170,000 cubic yards of sand during Hurricane Irma. It’s the latest blow to South Florida beaches in perennial decline. Nearly half the state’s coast—411 miles’ worth of beach—is considered “critically eroded.”

Read More

Ancient storms could have hurled huge boulders, scientists say – raising new concerns of rising seas

November 2nd, 2017

An international team of researchers has come up with a new theory to explain how two giant boulders could have made their way atop a cliff on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera. They suspect it has something to do with the Atlantic Ocean far below them.

Read More

New Federal Study: Dredging is harming more endangered fish

November 2nd, 2017

A study from the National Marine Fisheries Service says a few more endangered sturgeon and sea turtles have been killed as a result of the dredging in the Savannah River.

Read More

Malibu, CA: Broad Beach Sand Project Costs Jump to $55-60 Million Per Decade

October 31st, 2017

The Broad Beach Geologic Hazard Abatement District (GHAD) is now contending with another set of lawsuits over a project originally estimated to cost about $20 million, which is now estimated to cost $55 to $60 million every 10 years. The project will involve bringing in megatons of sand every few years to restore the disappearing beach and dunes.

Read More

How aquaculture is threatening the native fish species of Africa

October 30th, 2017

Africa has long looked to fish farming to help feed its burgeoning human population. But scientists are warning that a new aquaculture push is introducing invasive species that could devastate natural ecosystems.

Read More

How cities are defending themselves against sea level rise

October 30th, 2017

Superstorm Sandy and a series of lesser coastal storms since that 2012 disaster compelled some coastal communities to defend themselves by elevating homes and critical infrastructure, building sand dunes, widening beaches and erecting or raising sea walls. But as sea levels continue to rise around the world, that’s not an option in large cities.

Read More

In the Trump era, rising seas still a concern for Defense Department

October 30th, 2017

Climate scientists in the federal government have been on the defensive since President Donald Trump took office in January. But military leaders will continue to address the risks that climate change poses to bases and national security, a senior Pentagon official said at conference Friday on sea level rise.

Read More

The Quick Demise of B-44

October 28th, 2017

Scientists have long been tracking the retreat of Pine Island Glacier, one of the main outlets where ice from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet flows into the ocean. Attention recently turned once again to the glacier when it calved a large new iceberg, named B-44. Just weeks later, the berg has broken apart.

Read More

The breach at Fire Island National Seashore, Video

October 28th, 2017

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy opened up a new inlet on Fire Island National Seashore. A video, showing how this storm-formed inlet has transformed water quality in the estuary.

Read More


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