Poor Coastal Development
Developed coasts change natural beach processes. Even a single building alters natural movement of wind which can disrupt sand transport, movement of rainwater runoff, and negatively impact plants and animals. Aesthetically, development reduces the quality of visits by tourists and once development begins, more follows. The long history of beach development in Europe and the northeastern United States has resulted in heavy modification of, and in some cases total destruction of, natural beaches.
Development on coasts is in grave danger in the coming decades from the combination of sea level rise and storms. When coastal development is built too close to the shore, the results can be devastating as evidenced by recent hurricanes Ike and Katrina in the United States. Two simple concepts must be followed:
- Do not build a house that will be underwater in the next 50 years and
- Do not build a house that will be knocked down by a storm.
These two basic principles are seldom followed today and when they are not, the costs can be human lives and billions of dollars.
After a large storm strikes, rebuilding is often financed with public money. Once a coastal community has been developed, rebuilding efforts often focus on putting things back the way they were rather than making objective decisions about changes that need to be made based on the rising sea. Developed coastlines need to retreat from the coast to allow the beach to move. Coastlines are dynamic, but buildings are not. More information on this topic can be found at the website of The Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina, USA.
Map of North and South America shows increasing populations in coastal areas, which will expose 2.75 billion people worldwide to the effects of sea level rise and other coastal threats posed by global warming.
Surfing in / Poor Coastal Development
A bipartisan caucus has been formed in the U.S. House of Representatives to address coastal community issues including storm protection, tourism and environmental issues.
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South Carolina’s beautiful beaches are a vital component of this state’s economy. Managing them wisely is critical to the health of the economy and to ensuring that state and local tax dollars are not wasted on futile efforts to protect homes needlessly placed in areas of obvious high hazard.
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Despite warnings from scientists, new construction continues on U.S. barrier islands that have been devastated by storms. The flood protection projects that accompany this development can have harmful consequences for coastal ecosystems being buffeted by climate change.
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From Florida to the Costa del Sol, costly sea defences are accelerating beach erosion and will ultimately fail to protect coastal towns and cities from rising tides, say experts Andrew Cooper and Orrin Pilkey in a new book “The Last Beach.”
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The construction of gated communities on wetlands and floodplains in Greater Buenos Aires has modified fragile ecosystems and water cycles and has aggravated flooding.
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Despite laws intended to curb development where rising seas pose the greatest threat, Reuters finds that government is happy to help the nation indulge in its passion for beachfront living.
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Four years after a deadly storm devastated part of France west coast, killing 29 people in La Faute sur Mer town, the trial opens. Four elected officials and a real estate agent are indicted for aggravated manslaughter.
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“As precious as gold … That was how then-president Hu Jintao described Caofeidian during his visit in 2006. It was pledged to be ‘the world’s first fully realised eco-city’ – yet 10 years and almost $100bn later, only a few thousand inhabitants have moved to this land reclaimed from the sea …”
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Activists claim fashion mogul proposed coastal development risks environmental damage to Bahamas’ beaches.
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