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

Flooding Could Become Daily Problem in N.C. by 2045

nc-psds-post-sandy1

North Carolina’s coast will see more frequent and more destructive floods at high tide over the next 30 years, several studies say – even on mild, sunny days – as rising sea levels shove the Atlantic Ocean higher onto our shores.

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The Future of Wetlands, the Future of Waterbirds – an Intercontinental Connection

flamingo-camargue-wetland

To mark the anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Convention – an intergovernmental agreement seeking to protect wetlands of international importance – the 2nd of February each year is celebrated as “World Wetlands Day.”

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Shell Wants To Drill Off Alaska Coast Again, If It Can Get The Permits

arctic
News, Pollution
Jan
30

Royal Dutch Shell PLC will move forward with drilling off Alaska’s northwest coast if it can obtain permits it needs and drill safely, its chief executive officer said…

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Four Gaps in China’s New Environmental Law

china-wall

On 1 January, a new environmental protection law (EPL) took effect in China. It is the nation’s first attempt to harmonize economic and social development with environmental protection. Yet the law is not enough. For several reasons it will face many challenges.

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What a Waste: Study Finds Big US Brands Stuck on Disposable Packaging

plastic-pollution
News, Pollution
Jan
30

Lagging behind the rest of the developed world, American brands continue to opt for the worst packaging materials, according to a report released Thursday.

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Kenya: Leave the sand on Diani Beach

diani-beach
News, Sand Mining
Jan
27

Tourism stakeholders in Kenya and local residents of Diani Beach south of Mombasa are up in arms over plans to extract some 5 million tons of sand from award-winning Diani tourist beach.

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White House to Propose Allowing Oil Drilling Off Atlantic Coast

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The Obama administration on Tuesday will announce a proposal to open up coastal waters from Virginia to Georgia for oil and gas drilling.

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Coastal Sand Mining: Govts. Asked to Respond; India

sand-miner-mumbai
News, Sand Mining
Jan
27

The Madras High Court has directed the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government to respond to a public interest litigation petition seeking a SIT probe into illegal beach sand mining in the State.

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The Oceans Are Warming so Fast, They Keep Breaking Scientists’ Charts

noaa-ocean-heat

NOAA once again has to rescale its ocean heat chart to capture 2014 ocean warming.

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Recent / Inform

Sloat Erosion Campaign; West Coast of San Francisco

coastal-erosion-sloat-ocean-beach

December 7th, 2014

Due to coastal erosion, the Sloat shoreline is in a state of blight. Surfrider San Francisco, is working to restore the beach at Sloat Blvd., and advocating a plan of managed retreat and relocation of infrastructure away from the ocean.

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Protect the World’s Deltas

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December 7th, 2014

The rich delta ecosystem and the services it provides, storm protection, nutrient and pollution removal and carbon storage, are being destroyed. Worldwide deltas are on course to drown, starved of sediment by dams and dikes, and fragmented by economic development. Rising seas compound the sediment crisis.

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Why S.F. is Moving 42,000 Tons of Sand Down Ocean Beach

ocean-beach-sf

December 6th, 2014

It’s part of an effort by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, working with the National Park Service, to move 30,000 cubic yards of sand, from the north end of the wide beach to the south, which is where it came from in the first place… Meanwhile, Mother Nature will keep moving the sand north, and the city will keep trucking it south.

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Congress Takes Step to Allow Driving on Outer Banks Beaches, NC

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December 5th, 2014

The National Park Service would be required to minimize buffers on protected areas and build roads and vehicle access points as quickly as possible if the measure becomes law.

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El Niño’s Remote Control on Hurricanes in the Northeastern Pacific

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December 5th, 2014

El Niño peaks in winter and its surface ocean warming occurs mostly along the equator. However, months later, El Niño events affect the formation of intense hurricanes in the Northeastern Pacific basin, not along the equator. Scientists have now revealed what’s behind “remote control.”

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Why Sand Is Disappearing ; By John R. Gillis

beach-sand-mining

December 4th, 2014

To those of us who visit beaches only in summer, they seem as permanent a part of our natural heritage as the Rocky Mountains and the Great Lakes. But shore dwellers know differently. Beaches are the most transitory of landscapes, and sand beaches the most vulnerable of all.

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Oil Spill Floods into Israeli Nature Reserve

eilat-israel

December 4th, 2014

Millions of litres of crude oil have gushed out of a pipeline, 18 km (12 miles) north of the Red Sea resort of Eilat, to flood 200 acres of a desert nature reserve in southern Israel. In the absence of heavy rainfall, there was little chance of the oil sluicing to Eilat and endangering Red Sea marine life.

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Soap, Sunscreen and Steroids Found in Antarctic Waters and Wildlife

antarctica

December 3rd, 2014

The last great wilderness on Earth now has traces of personal care products and steroid hormones.

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Gambia: Mangrove Regeneration and Coastal Erosion

gambia

December 2nd, 2014

The West African Birds Association has trained 120 young people from 24 schools and organizations within Banjul, and West Coast regions, building the capacity of young people on the importance of mangroves and the dangers of coastal erosion.

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First Phase of Global Fracking Expansion: Ensuring Friendly Legislation

fracking

December 2nd, 2014

Multinational oil and gas companies are engaged in a quiet but broad attempt to prepare the groundwork for a significant global expansion of shale gas development, according to a study released Monday.

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