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
- The addition of sand to a beach allowing it to widen and build out seaward.
- 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
- 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 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
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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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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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.
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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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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To protect Houston and Galveston from future hurricanes, a Rice University-led team of experts recommends building a floodgate across the Houston Ship Channel adding new levees to protect densely populated areas on Galveston Island and the developed west side of Galveston Bay…
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A unique study using over 70 years of information from local newspapers has helped to examine the incidence and location of coastal floods in the Solent region of southern England.
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Once a playground for the elite, who traveled from as far as Chicago to spend time at the hotels that lined the Winthrop beach in the early 20th century, the beach has been eroding over the past century. The process was accelerated by the installation of walls that were put up, which removed the source of natural sediment that once helped create the beach. Visitors can find evidence of what waves can do to manmade structures.
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Palm Beach County commissioners killed a controversial proposal Tuesday to build a series of breakwaters off of Singer Island intended to buffer its beach from eroding.
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