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
Gated residential communities on the Paraná Delta have sprawled out of control in recent years, and are plugging up the local ecosystem and preventing the natural runoff of water that cushions the impact of floods in a vast area near the Argentine capital.
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Aurora’s governor says the development of a Pacific eco zone will bring benefits to this poor region of the Philippines. But locals wonder how long construction jobs will last, and what impact the development of a port, tourist haven and trading hub will have on livelihoods and the coastal environment.
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State Department of Environmental Conservation officials say at least three seawalls constructed in the last two months along the Southampton Village oceanfront are in violation of state and local permits.
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An example of brute force coastal protection at its worst: on the beach, at the village of Southampton.
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As a nor’easter pounded Plum Island, Mass., this month, moving trucks were being filled with belongings from damaged homes. Officials say some houses should be moved away from the coastline.
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Despite their large numbers worldwide, surfers as a coastal interest group have largely been ignored during coastal management decision making. Surfers are, however, increasingly being considered in coastal management decisions as the social, economic, and environmental benefits of high-quality surfing breaks are realized.
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A “major development” along Unesco-designated Dorset cove, could jeopardise the distinctive nature and feel of one of the gems of the British coastline, the residents and experts have warned.
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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…
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In the busy and under-staffed offices of New Orleans’ flood-control leaders, there’s an uneasy feeling about what lies ahead…
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