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

As Sea Ice Melts, Storm Surges Batter Arctic Coasts

arctic-ship

As each Arctic summer brings less sea ice, two new studies warn of major changes, from devastating storm surges to huge increases in shipping.

No comments

Liberia: ‘Illegal’ Sand Mining, Sales

hong-kong-sand-barge

Investigation by a liberian newspaper has revealed that the Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy is in flagrant violation of the 2010 Investment Act of Liberia by granting sand mining licenses to Chinese companies.

No comments

Whales Benefit From Action On Ocean Noise

singing-whales

Scientists are working to reduce the noise levels experienced by whales from North Atlantic shipping.

No comments

Madang Lagoon, Papua New Guinea

elephant-ear-sponge-madang

A vast array of new species was recently discovered in the world’s most spectacular reef you’ve never heard of, Madang Lagoon in Papua New Guinea.

No comments

US East Coast Regions Sensitive to Ocean Acidification

design-e-c

A continental-scale chemical survey in the waters of the eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico is helping researchers determine how distinct bodies of water will resist changes in acidity. Coastal ocean acidification occur when excess carbon dioxide is absorbed by, flushed into or generated in coastal waters, setting off a chain of chemical reactions that affects ecosystems.

No comments

Shark Kills Number 100 Million Annually

shark

The most accurate assessment to date of the impact of commercial fishing on sharks suggests around 100 million are being killed each year.

No comments

Castletown Bay Cleared Of Rubbish By Volunteer Group, UK

castletown-bay-uk
News, Pollution
Mar
2

A half-mile stretch of coastline in the south of the Isle of Man has been completely cleared of litter by a local beach cleaning organisation.

No comments

Litter found in deep sea survey of one of Earth’s final unexplored realms

marine-debris
News, Pollution
Feb
28

A glimpse into one tiny nook of the vast ocean depths uncovered two drink cans, one bottle, and a rusty food tin.

No comments

Sand-Mining Threatens Homes And Livelihoods In Sierra Leone

beach-sand-mining-sierra-leone1
News, Sand Mining
Feb
27

Round-the-clock sand-mining on beaches within a few kilometres of Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown is having a devastating effect on the coastline, destroying property, and damaging the area’s hopes of a tourism revival.

No comments

Recent / Inform

In pictures: Humpbacks Feed Close To Shore, Norway

humpback-whale

December 17th, 2012

Humpback whales, found near coastlines, feeding on tiny shrimp-like krill, plankton, and small fish, are known for their magical songs, which travel for great distances through the world’s oceans. These sequences of moans, howls, cries, and other noises are quite complex and often continue for hours on end.

Read More

San Francisco Bay Sand Mining Alarms Conservationists

ocean-beach

December 16th, 2012

Dredge mining of shoals near Angel and Alcatraz islands and throughout Suisun Bay is robbing the bay of sand that keeps San Francisco’s Ocean Beach from eroding, according to new research by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Read More

Champion of the Mangroves, Union Island, the Grenadines

union-island-mangrove

December 16th, 2012

On Union Island, Ann Harvey’s story of the mangroves demonstrates the protective power of nature and green infrastructure, while a recent UN report showed that valuable mangrove forests worldwide, are being wrecked by the shrimp and fish farms.

Read More

A Rising Tide of Noise Is Now Easy to See

symphonie

December 15th, 2012

The oceanic roar originates because of the remarkable, and highly selective, way in which different kinds of waves propagate through seawater. While sunlight can penetrate no more than a few hundred feet, sound waves can travel for hundreds of miles before diminishing to nothingness. In recent decades, raucous clatter have been added to the primal chorus…

Read More

Caribbean Tsunami Risk Overlooked

martinique-fwi

December 14th, 2012

Deadly tsunamis threaten Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the rest of the Caribbean and are an overlooked hazard in the region, geologists reported at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union last week.

Read More

King tides test California coast, show what sea-level rise could mean

king-tide-california

December 14th, 2012

Some Californians were in for another day of ankle-deep seawater in low-lying coastal communities Friday as unusually high “king tides” pulled the Pacific farther ashore than normal.

Read More

New Fracking Frontier Scares Residents

sand-mining-truck

December 12th, 2012

Due to a rapid increase in demand, sand used in hydraulic fracturing, has become a valuable commodity, and sand mines are opening in the US at a rapid rate.

Read More

History Has Lessons for Post-Sandy America, by John R. Gillis

post-sandy

December 12th, 2012

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Americans are finally beginning to ask themselves whether or not it might be advisable to build up to the edge of the sea. It is dawning on us that we are dealing with a human-made rather than natural disaster…

Read More

Does Economic Valuation Really Influence Coastal Policy?

sand-dollar

December 11th, 2012

Governments, corporations, and development agencies are increasingly interested in putting a dollar value on ecosystems in order to balance conservation and development needs, a concept known as “economic valuation.”

Read More

Fish Have Enormous Nutrient Impacts On Marine Ecosystems

poissons

December 11th, 2012

Fish play a far more important role as contributors of nutrients to marine ecosystems than previously thought, according to researchers at the University of Georgia and Florida International University.

Read More


You do not have the Flash plugin installed, or your browser does not support Javascript (you should enable it, perhaps?)


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