Shoreline Armoring

Massive sand bags View Shoreline Armoring Gallery

This refers to the construction of seawalls, jetties, offshore breakwaters and groins intended to hold shorelines in place. Although it is well understood by scientists that armoring beaches destroys beaches on a decadal time scale, this fact is still widely unrecognized by the general public or ignored by coastal developers and engineers. The demand for armoring will become even more widespread as the rate of sea-level rise and shoreline retreat increases. A few political entities (North Carolina, USA, North Sea Coast of Holland) have outlawed armoring (with moderate success) and more should be urged to do so. There are large numbers of salesmen with “unique” types of seawalls and groins (Holmberg Device) that need to be refuted.

Definitions of Shoreline Armoring Terms

Accretion
The addition of sand to a beach allowing it to widen and build out seaward.
Groin
Groin is a structure built perpendicular to the shoreline usually of rock or metal designed to trap sand that moves in the long shore current
Hardened beach structures
A general term referring to groins, jetties, offshore breakwaters, sea walls, tombolos, or any other engineered
Jetty
A jetty is a hardened structure built at an inlet usually made of rock or metal designed to keep navigation channels from filling in with sediment
Longshore drift
Long shore drift carries sand and sediment parallel to the shore and serves as the sand source for many beaches. On the east coast of the US, the long shore current is from the north to the south.
Offshore breakwaters
An engineered structure placed offshore and parallel to the beach. Breakwaters mimic sandbars to cause waves to break, lessening erosion on the beach behind the breakwater, but interrupting the longshore drift.
Shoreline armoring
The use of groins, jetties, offshore breakwaters, sea walls, tombolos or other hardened beach structures on the shore
Sea wall
A sea wall is designed to protect the land from erosion particularly during storms and usually made of metal, wood, or rock. One of the most famous seawalls is the Galveston seawall in Galveston, TX built after the 1900 hurricane killed 6,000 people on the island.
Tombolos
Tombolos are a special type of groin built perpendicular to the shore to trap sand, but with an end parallel to the shore designed to reduce wave energy.

Surfing in / Shoreline Armoring

County Declares Six Houses on Buxton Beach Unsafe, NC

A Dare County building inspector has put up “unsafe structure” notices on six oceanfront houses north of this town on Hatteras Island, NC. Most of the recent erosion seems to be in an area where owners had placed sandbags in front of the houses.

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Central Govt Halts Jakarta’s $40 Billion Reclamation Project

Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta– home to 10 million people – is sinking into the sea at between 2.9 and 6.7 inches per year. To save the megacity from drowning: a $40 billion land reclamation and sea wall project estimated to take 30 years to complete. However, today, the central government has decided to suspend its implementation as the viability of the project is now questioned.

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Polis Beach Erosion the Worst in 20 Years, Cyprus

Climate change could be the reason for conditions which have led to drastic coastal erosion at a popular Polis beach, and experts say bad weather which battered the island has caused the worst erosion witnessed for at least twenty years.

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CoastLine: Are Terminal Groins Key to the Expensive Problem of Shoreline Management?

Terminal groins are hardened structures designed to control the movement of sand and (attempt to) slow erosion on beaches.

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Indian Trail Beach Erosion Project Moving Forward, MA

Sagamore Beach residents approved a mitigation project, consisting of building a revetment wall at the base of the eroding cliff, along with a stabilization system. Opponents said erosion is nature’s way of replenishing the shore. A revetment wall would block the natural flow of sand down the cliff, with the beach eventually being washed away.

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North Carolina Should Move With Nature on Coast

Sandbags can’t hold back the sea. Neither will a state policy allowing “terminal groins,” barriers of rock and steel that run perpendicular to the shore in a futile effort to make a shifting coastline stable.

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Leaves Versus Tides

Salt marshes are the unsung heroes of coastal flood protection. These flat expanses of wild plants grow in muddy channels and creeks, flooded and drained by the tides. Only special types of plants can tolerate this briny environment.

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Walls Around our Coastal Cities? By Gary Griggs

“Walls Around our Coastal Cities?” is an article from “Our Ocean Backyard- Collected Essays, ” a book by Gary Griggs.

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Kiawah Developer Denied Permits for Capt. Sam’s Spit Sea Walls, SC

The South Carolina’s Supreme Court has ruled against granting a permit for a sea wall and revetment on Capt. Sam’s Spit – the wildlife-rich, 150-acre spit that is a prized piece of disappearing natural coast.

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  • Recent / Shoreline Armoring

    CoastLine: Are Terminal Groins Key to the Expensive Problem of Shoreline Management?

    March 14th, 2015

    Terminal groins are hardened structures designed to control the movement of sand and (attempt to) slow erosion on beaches.

    Read More

    Indian Trail Beach Erosion Project Moving Forward, MA

    February 9th, 2015

    Sagamore Beach residents approved a mitigation project, consisting of building a revetment wall at the base of the eroding cliff, along with a stabilization system. Opponents said erosion is nature’s way of replenishing the shore. A revetment wall would block the natural flow of sand down the cliff, with the beach eventually being washed away.

    Read More

    North Carolina Should Move With Nature on Coast

    January 5th, 2015

    Sandbags can’t hold back the sea. Neither will a state policy allowing “terminal groins,” barriers of rock and steel that run perpendicular to the shore in a futile effort to make a shifting coastline stable.

    Read More

    Leaves Versus Tides

    December 29th, 2014

    Salt marshes are the unsung heroes of coastal flood protection. These flat expanses of wild plants grow in muddy channels and creeks, flooded and drained by the tides. Only special types of plants can tolerate this briny environment.

    Read More

    Walls Around our Coastal Cities? By Gary Griggs

    December 12th, 2014

    “Walls Around our Coastal Cities?” is an article from “Our Ocean Backyard- Collected Essays, ” a book by Gary Griggs.

    Read More

    Kiawah Developer Denied Permits for Capt. Sam’s Spit Sea Walls, SC

    December 10th, 2014

    The South Carolina’s Supreme Court has ruled against granting a permit for a sea wall and revetment on Capt. Sam’s Spit – the wildlife-rich, 150-acre spit that is a prized piece of disappearing natural coast.

    Read More

    Erosion Worsens at Topsail North Beach, NC

    December 1st, 2014

    Ongoing efforts to address erosion at the north end of Topsail Island took on more urgency this week after a weekend storm pounded the shoreline.

    Read More

    Seawall ‘Option’ Won’t Wash

    October 23rd, 2014

    Hard erosion control devices aren’t generally allowed on South Carolina beaches, and with good reason. Here’s why: Seawalls actually can accelerate erosion, often on adjacent property.

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    “Seawalls Kill Beaches,” Open Letters by Warner Chabot And Rob Young

    October 3rd, 2014

    A report and open letter from coastal geologists Warner Chabot and Rob Young, presented to the Ocean Protection Council (OPC) meeting in Sacramento, held on August 26th, 2014.

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    Conservationists Call On House To Stop Looser Beach Erosion Rules, SC

    May 23rd, 2014

    Environmentalists denounced a bill to let a handful of property owners rebuild the aging Debordieu seawall, despite a state law that banned seawalls about a quarter century ago. The ban, adopted as part of the 1988 beach management act, was enacted because seawalls are known to make beach erosion worse when slammed by waves.

    Read More