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

Erosion Worsens at Topsail North Beach, NC

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.

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Seawall ‘Option’ Won’t Wash

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

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

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.

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Parting the Sea to Save Venice

The sea has protected Venice since the fifth century, when people moved to the fish-shaped islands of Rialto for safety from mainland invaders. Over the next thirteen centuries, the seafaring city-state grew in power and strength. But the tide has turned, and the sea that once protected Venice now threatens it.

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Drowning In Money: The Untold Story Of The Crazy Public Spending That Makes Flooding Inevitable

Every year billions are spent in Britain and Europe on policies that wreck homes and lives through flooding…

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Controversy Brews Over Coastal Adaptation Project

Plans for adapting to climate change in Cartagena, Colombia, were first outlined back in 2004, and continue to advance in spite of the voices raised in protest. While the authorities applaud the plans, many local people have their doubts…

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Fragile Western Isles Ecosystem Under Threat

The traditional crofting way of life is under threat in Scotland’s Western Isles because of a fundamental misunderstanding of how Atlantic wave action affects their coastlines, a University of Ulster academic has revealed.

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New NOAA Website Offers Tips to Prepare For Coastal Flooding

Coastal flooding is often the greatest threat to life and property during and after storms.

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  • Recent / Shoreline Armoring

    Parting the Sea to Save Venice

    March 30th, 2014

    The sea has protected Venice since the fifth century, when people moved to the fish-shaped islands of Rialto for safety from mainland invaders. Over the next thirteen centuries, the seafaring city-state grew in power and strength. But the tide has turned, and the sea that once protected Venice now threatens it.

    Read More

    Drowning In Money: The Untold Story Of The Crazy Public Spending That Makes Flooding Inevitable

    January 13th, 2014

    Every year billions are spent in Britain and Europe on policies that wreck homes and lives through flooding…

    Read More

    Controversy Brews Over Coastal Adaptation Project

    January 28th, 2013

    Plans for adapting to climate change in Cartagena, Colombia, were first outlined back in 2004, and continue to advance in spite of the voices raised in protest. While the authorities applaud the plans, many local people have their doubts…

    Read More

    Fragile Western Isles Ecosystem Under Threat

    November 21st, 2012

    The traditional crofting way of life is under threat in Scotland’s Western Isles because of a fundamental misunderstanding of how Atlantic wave action affects their coastlines, a University of Ulster academic has revealed.

    Read More

    New NOAA Website Offers Tips to Prepare For Coastal Flooding

    July 2nd, 2012

    Coastal flooding is often the greatest threat to life and property during and after storms.

    Read More

    Ocean Beach Erosion: New Plan Crafted

    April 15th, 2012

    The silver tide that surges through Ocean Beach from dawn to dusk is a surfer’s delight. For San Francisco, however, it is an unrelenting test of nature.

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    Panel Rejects Plan for Matunuck Retaining wall, Rhodes Island

    April 12th, 2012

    A state environmental panel has rejected plans by South Kingstown officials to build a 200-foot retaining wall to protect the only road leading in and out of Matunuck, RI, from beach erosion.

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    Rethinking Living Shorelines

    March 13th, 2012

    In response to the detrimental environmental impacts caused by traditional erosion control structures, environmental groups, state and federal resource management agencies, now advocate an approach known as “Living Shorelines” that embraces the use of natural habitat elements such as indigenous vegetation, to stabilize and protect eroding shorelines. By Orrin H. Pilkey, Rob Young, Norma Longo, Andy Coburn.

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    Dungeness’s strange beauty under threat from shingle plan

    January 15th, 2012

    One of Europe’s most beautiful seascapes is in danger of being destroyed by a botched attempt to shore up its beach defences,

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    Hundreds Evacuated Amid Dutch Dike Break Fears

    January 6th, 2012

    Police and military personnel evacuated 800 people from four villages in the low-lying northern Netherlands amid fears of a dike break following days of drenching rains. A quarter of the Netherlands is below sea level and 55 percent of the country is considered susceptible to flooding.

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