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

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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Ocean Beach Erosion: New Plan Crafted

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

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

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

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

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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Attempt To Protect Houston From The Next Big Hurricane

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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Newspaper Archives Help to Understand Coastal Flooding

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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  • Recent / Shoreline Armoring

    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,

    Read More

    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.

    Read More

    Attempt To Protect Houston From The Next Big Hurricane

    November 15th, 2011

    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…

    Read More

    Newspaper Archives Help to Understand Coastal Flooding

    June 24th, 2011

    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.

    Read More

    Winthrop Beach’s Crumbling Sea wall and Acccelerated Erosion

    April 4th, 2011

    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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    County Kills Singer Island Breakwater Project, Siding With Environmentalists

    March 23rd, 2011

    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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    Storm Xynthia: A Year Later

    March 6th, 2011

    A year ago the hurricane winds of Storm Xynthia drove the sea over much of the Charente-Maritime and Vendée coastline to devastating effect. Many people lost their lives. France’s Government has set up a new coastal defence plan costing €500 million over six years.

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    Bangladesh’s Project to Develop and Protect Southern Coastal Region

    February 24th, 2011

    Bangladesh’s coastal area covers about 20% of the country and over thirty percent of the net cultivable area. The saline sea waters have been pushing up inland and progressively more and more areas are meeting a similar fate.

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    Jetties Blamed For Beach Erosion, Montauk NY

    February 14th, 2011

    The next winter storm is threatening to wash away beach-side homes in Montauk. Concerned residents, however, are not blaming Mother Nature, but rather jetties built by the Army Corps of Engineers about 20 years ago.

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    A Fiscal Analysis of Shifting Inlets and Terminal Groins in North Carolina

    January 28th, 2011

    The debate about terminal groins, shore-perpendicular structures built at inlets in attempt to slow erosion, is worth keeping an eye on, whether you live in western North Carolina or in a coastal community, because it could cost you and our state a pretty penny.

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