Tag Archives: Erosion

Togo’s battle with coastal erosion


Rising sea levels are increasing eroding the coast of Togo and destroying home and businesses. Captions and Photo source: © Daniel Addeh / IRIN

Excerpts;

Man-made coastal erosion has reached alarming proportions in Togo. It is threatening the future of two major cities, Lome and Aneho, the current and former capitals, as well as dozens of fishing villages.

Coastal erosion, in which land or beaches are worn away by the wind and the waves, is destroying around five to ten meters (16-32 feet) of shoreline every year. In some locations, up to 25 meters has disappeared over the same period.

The sea doesn’t only eat away at the shoreline, it also consumes any infrastructure, such as roads or buildings, or vegetation which may have been growing on it. Nothing remains…

Read Full Article; Deutsche Welle (04-17-2017)

Can permaculture save Togo’s precious coastline from the ravages of sand mining? A Video by DW (04-06-2017)
African countries are raising alarm because of their disappearing coastlines. Beaches erode mainly because of illegal sand mining…

Rising Seas Ruining Lives in Togo; IRIN (11-16-2015)
Togo’s former capital city, Aneho, and dozens of surrounding villages, along with the main road that links the west African country to Benin, are likely to disappear from the map by 2038, if nothing is done to reverse the erosion that is currently eating away between six and 10 meters of coastal land each year…

A Photo Gallery: “We Were Once Three Miles From the Sea” (01-03-2014)
Grain by grain, West Africa’s coasts are eroding away, the dry land sucked under the water by a destructive mix of natural erosion and human meddling… Nyani Quarmyne has poignantly photographed the impacts of climate change on people living on the Ghana coast…

Proposed Maine bill could lead to beach erosion


Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

A proposed bill allowing towns to bypass state permitting and decide for themselves when to remove ‘large’ amounts of seaweed, will lead towns to unwitingly destabilize their beaches, with grave consequences for the town’s beach and their beach goers – less sand, erosion, and a beach barren of life…

Seaweed, dried and fresh, is a necessary part of the beach environment…

Read Full Article; Bangor Daily News (04-09-2017)

Cleaning Maine’s Coastal Waters: Are Seaweed Gardens the Answer? (02-06-2017)
Seaweed cultivation has been promoted in recent years in Maine as a way to produce local nutritious food and to boost the coastal economy. Now, seaweed harvesters say their industry provides yet another benefit: environmental protection, in the form of improving water quality…

Seaweed a growing problem on Maine beaches; Portland Press Herald (09-05-2015)

Sargassum Watch Warns of Incoming Seaweed; EOS (09-02-2016)
Sargassum beaching events in the Caribbean, West Africa, and other regions have received wide media attention, prompting action by regional governmental agencies and environmental groups seeking to understand this new phenomenon…

Green And Golden Seaweed Tides On The Rise, By Victor Smetacek & Adriana Zingone
Green, brown and red seaweeds lying on the beach are part and parcel of life in many coastal regions. The amount of beached seaweed biomass started to increase along the shores of industrialized countries in the 1970s, and by the 1990s had become a nuisance along many beaches when mass-stranding events of macroalgae became known as green tides…

Seaweed Might Have The Power To Make The Oceans Less Acidic; Huffington Green (04-28-2015)
The thick, slimy brown ribbons are notorious for tangling the ankles of beachgoers and rotting in pungent piles. But kelp, according to its growing fan base, could also prove potent in protecting the health of oceans, and us…

Supervisors Seek Long-Term Plan for Goleta Beach Erosion as Emergency Costs Pile Up; CA


Severe coastal erosion, Isla Vista, Santa Barbara County. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Santa Barbara County has been unable to get the upper hand in its constant battle with Mother Nature…

Read Full Article, Noozhawk (04-11-2017)

Goleta Beach vs. Winter Swells, Santa Barbara Independent (03-10-2017)
This is the third winter in four years that Goleta Beach Park has taken a beating in the winter swells. Even behind the boulders- dropped along 950 feet of beach at a cost of $275,000 – the park bluff is retreating, unprotected by a ripped out $350,000 barrier of plastic mesh, that had been stacked against the bluffs last spring…

Beach Bashing; UCSB Current News (02-14-2017)
New research conducted by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists and their colleagues at UC Santa Barbara and six other institutions found that during the 2015-16 El Niño winter beach erosion on the Pacific coast was 76 percent above normal, and that most beaches in California eroded beyond historical extremes…

Goleta Beach, California
An ongoing problem concerning Goleta Beach is coastal erosion; sand and sediment is constantly being washed away and the beach is narrowing…

Comments on Goleta Beach Project Coastal Development Permit
Open Letter from Dr. Orrin Pilkey, James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Geology Duke University presented to the California Coastal Commission, May 5, 2015.

City of Santa Barbara Sea-Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment: A summary Report, By Nicole L. Russell and Gary B. Griggs, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz (06-04-2014)
Gobal sea level is rising. As a result, many coastal communities will face tough choices for adapting to the future conditions and/or dealing with the consequences. The city of Santa Barbara faces a dilemma: Protect oceanfront development and infrastructure or remove barriers and let beaches migrate inland…

Iconic Refugio Beach Palms May Soon Be History; Noozhawk (02-21-2016)
Refugio State Beach is one of the true gems of the Gaviota Coast, California. Statuesque palm trees lining the cove give a distinctive and majestic look to the area. But over the past few winters, those iconic palm trees have gotten closer and closer to the tide line, because of a severe lack of sand on the beach…

Disappearing Beaches: Modeling Shoreline Change in Southern California; USGS (03-27-2017)
Using a newly-developed computer model, scientists predict that with limited human intervention, 31 to 67 percent of Southern California beaches may become completely eroded (up to existing coastal infrastructure or sea-cliffs) by the year 2100 under scenarios of sea-level rise of one to two meters…

Severe West Coast Erosion During 2015-16 El Niño; USGS (02-14-2017)

Californians Fight Over Whether Coast Should Be Rugged or Refined, The New York Times (02-09-2016)

Stay or go? Some towns are eyeing retreat from sea, AP (06-02-2012)
Pounded by erosion, some communities hugging California’s shoreline are eyeing a retreat from the sea. There’s a growing acknowledgement that the sea is relentless and erosion will worsen with rising seas fueled by global warming. Up and down the California coast, some communities are deciding it’s not worth trying to wall off the encroaching ocean. Until recently, the thought of bowing to nature was almost unheard of…

Let’s end war with ocean, Op-Ed by Orrin H. Pilkey
The immediate future most certainly holds more miles of sandbags, resulting in more narrowed and ugly beaches.But this trend can be halted and reversed. Now is the time to make peace with the ocean.The time is now to stop sandbagging, both physically with no more shore-hardening structures, and politically with no more exceptions to the intent of the rules, no more undermining existing legislation, and a return to enforcement…

We Need to Retreat From the Beach, An Op Ed by Orrin H. Pilkey.

Disappearing Beaches: Modeling Shoreline Change in Southern California


Bedrock exposed at low tide along the beach at Isla Vista, California (Credit: Alex Snyder, U.S. Geological Survey. Public domain.)

By USGS;

Using a newly-developed computer model called “CoSMoS-COAST” (Coastal Storm Modeling System – Coastal One-line Assimilated Simulation Tool) scientists predict that with limited human intervention, 31 to 67 percent of Southern California beaches may become completely eroded (up to existing coastal infrastructure or sea-cliffs) by the year 2100 under scenarios of sea-level rise of one to two meters.

“Beaches are perhaps the most iconic feature of California, and the potential for losing this identity is real. The effect of California losing its beaches is not just a matter of affecting the tourism economy. Losing the protecting swath of beach sand between us and the pounding surf exposes critical infrastructure, businesses and homes to damage. Beaches are natural resources, and it is likely that human management efforts must increase in order to preserve them,” said lead author of the study, Sean Vitousek, who was a post-doctoral fellow at the U.S. Geological Survey when he conducted this study. Vitousek is now a professor in the Department of Civil & Materials Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Exposed bedrock on the beach during very low (negative) tide at Isla Vista, California (Credit: Alex Snyder, U.S. Geological Survey. Public domain.)

Although a majority (72 percent) of beaches in Southern California show historical trends of accretion or getting larger (due to large artificial beach nourishments since the 1930s), future predictions indicate that nearly all of the beaches will experience erosion (will get smaller) due to accelerated sea-level rise.

“Beaches in Southern California are a crucial feature of the economy, and the first line of defense against coastal storm impacts for the 18 million residents in the region. This study indicates that we will have to perform massive and costly interventions to preserve these beaches in the future under the erosive pressures of anticipated sea level rise, or risk losing many of the economic and protective benefits beaches provide,” said USGS geologist and coauthor, Patrick Barnard.

Important for coastal hazard assessment and management planning, CoSMoS–COAST is a numerical model used to predict shoreline-change due to both sea level rise and changing storm patterns driven by climate change.

The model takes into consideration sand transport both along the beach (due to longshore currents) and across the beach (cross-shore transport) by waves and sea-level rise. Although Southern California beaches are a complex mixture of dunes, bluffs, cliffs, estuaries, river mouths, and urban infrastructure, the model is applicable to virtually any coastal setting. Additionally, the CoSMoS model uses information about historical shoreline positions and how beaches change in response to waves and climate cycles such as El Niño, to improve estimates and improve confidence in long-term prediction of coastline changes in Southern California.


Beach loss and armoring at Goleta Beach, very low (negative) tide(Credit: Daniel Hoover, U.S. Geological Survey. Public domain.)

Although shoreline change is very hard to predict, scientists are confident in the accuracy and reliability of the model’s predictive capability applied to the forecast period (2010-2100), because of how accurately the model is able to reproduce the historical shoreline change between 1995 and 2010.

“The public already has to overcome obstacles in getting to the beach, from limited public transportation to illegally blocked pathways,” said California Coastal Commission Executive Director John Ainsworth. “The prospect of losing so many our beaches in Southern California to sea level rise is frankly unacceptable. The beaches are our public parks and economic heart and soul of our coastal communities. We must do everything we can to ensure that as much of the iconic California coast is preserved for future generations.”

The full report, “A model integrating longshore and cross-shore processes for predicting long-term shoreline response to climate change,” is published online by the American Geophysical Union in their “Journal of Geophysical Research.”


Exposed bedrock on the beach, below the University of California, Santa Barbara. (Credit: Daniel Hoover, U.S. Geological Survey. Public domain.)


Installing large boulders as rip rap to armor the shore against further erosion at Goleta Beach in Southern California. The tide is very low (negative). (Credit: Daniel Hoover, U.S. Geological Survey. Public domain.)


An example of the shoreline data for La Jolla Shores, used in the CoSMoS COAST model. The many squiggly colored lines indicate the changing location of the shoreline through time. [Basemaps from Google Earth] (Credit: Sean Vitousek, U.S. Geological Survey. Public domain.)

Original Article And Learn More, USGS (03-27-2017)

Goleta Beach vs. Winter Swells, CA; Santa Barbara Independent (03-10-2017)

Beach Bashing; UCSB Current News (02-14-2017)
New research conducted by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists and their colleagues at UC Santa Barbara and six other institutions found that during the 2015-16 El Niño winter beach erosion on the Pacific coast was 76 percent above normal, and that most beaches in California eroded beyond historical extremes…

Severe West Coast Erosion During 2015-16 El Niño; USGS (02-14-2017)

Calif. City Tries Shifting Sands Amid Disappearing Beaches


Southern California. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Today, with sea level rise and erosion threatening to eat away at the sandy expanses and damage city infrastructure, Santa Monica is testing a softer intervention.

In a partnership with the nonprofit Bay Foundation, 3 acres of the beach’s north end have been seeded with native California dune plants…

Read Full Article, Next City (03-16-2017)

“Living Shorelines” Will Get Fast Track to Combat Sea Level Rise, Scientific American (07-06-2016)
As sea levels rise along U.S. coasts, it may soon get easier for people and local governments to obtain federal permits to build what are known as “living shorelines,” natural or nature-based structures designed to protect communities and infrastructure from extreme storms and flooding even as they protect habitat…

Living shorelines a more natural approach to preventing coastal erosion, WNCT (05-18-2016)
For centuries, large bulkheads have been used to help control erosion along coastlines. More recent research suggests that a natural approach may be a better alternative. Having nature on your side, especially during a storm or hurricane, is proven to provide better protection from coastal erosion…

Californians Fight Over Whether Coast Should Be Rugged or Refined, The New York Times (02-09-2016)

Living Shorelines: Better Than Bulkheads, Coastal Review Online (02-08-2016)
More than 14,000 miles – 14 percent of continental U.S. coastline — has been armored with hardened structures. Hardened structures cause elevated rates of erosion on the shoreward side of the structure…

Rethinking Living Shorelines, By Orrin H. Pilkey, Rob Young, Norma Longo, and Andy Coburn;Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines / Western Carolina University, March 1, 2012, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University
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.

NOAA Study Finds Marshes, Reefs, Beaches Can Enhance Coastal Resilience, NOAA (04-29-2015)

Goleta Beach vs. Winter Swells, CA


Goleta Beach, California. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Goleta Beach County Park is still a muddy mess, three weeks after heavy surf clawed out a big chunk of parkland, displaced benches and barbecue grills, undermined the pier, and, for good measure, ripped out a $350,000 barrier of plastic mesh that had been stacked against the bluffs last spring.

Piles of kelp, logs, and mangled plastic have been hauled away, and work crews are shoring up the Goleta Pier landing. The excavators have finished dropping boulders along 950 feet of beach, filling in the gaps between older rock barricades, and lengthening the whole structure by a third. The $275,000 project was the best way to protect the beloved picnic tables and 600 free parking spaces of the county’s most heavily used park, officials said.

“The county has exhausted a lot of emergency options, and that’s where we’ve ended up,” said Brian Yanez, who took over as deputy parks director last fall.

Environmentalists say the new boulders have obliterated the last bit of Goleta Beach that was available for public use, except at very low tide. For about the 20th time in as many years, the county is transporting more sand to the beach this week ​— ​about 300 truckloads from creek catch basins. If past experience is any guide, it won’t last long.

As the climate warms, extended droughts and extreme surf may increasingly threaten the California coast, scientists say. This is the third winter in four years that Goleta Beach Park has taken a beating in the winter swells. Even behind the boulders, the park bluff is retreating…

Read Full Article, Santa Barbara Independent (03-10-2017)

Sand Berm May Not Be Enough to Protect Goleta Beach from Winter El Niño Storms, Noozhawk (12-08-2015)

Beach Bashing; UCSB Current News (02-14-2017)
New research conducted by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists and their colleagues at UC Santa Barbara and six other institutions found that during the 2015-16 El Niño winter beach erosion on the Pacific coast was 76 percent above normal, and that most beaches in California eroded beyond historical extremes…

Severe West Coast Erosion During 2015-16 El Niño; USGS (02-14-2017)

Goleta Beach, California
An ongoing problem concerning Goleta Beach is coastal erosion; sand and sediment is constantly being washed away and the beach is narrowing…

Storm Waves Crash Through Wharf Restaurant, California, Keyt News (03-01-2014)

Comments on Goleta Beach Project Coastal Development Permit
Open Letter from Dr. Orrin Pilkey, James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Geology Duke University presented to the California Coastal Commission, May 5, 2015.

City of Santa Barbara Sea-Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment: A summary Report, By Nicole L. Russell and Gary B. Griggs, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz (06-04-2014)
Gobal sea level is rising. As a result, many coastal communities will face tough choices for adapting to the future conditions and/or dealing with the consequences. The city of Santa Barbara faces a dilemma: Protect oceanfront development and infrastructure or remove barriers and let beaches migrate inland…

Iconic Refugio Beach Palms May Soon Be History; Noozhawk (02-21-2016)
Refugio State Beach is one of the true gems of the Gaviota Coast, California. Statuesque palm trees lining the cove give a distinctive and majestic look to the area. But over the past few winters, those iconic palm trees have gotten closer and closer to the tide line, because of a severe lack of sand on the beach…

Stay or go? Some towns are eyeing retreat from sea, AP (06-02-2012)
Pounded by erosion, some communities hugging California’s shoreline are eyeing a retreat from the sea. There’s a growing acknowledgement that the sea is relentless and erosion will worsen with rising seas fueled by global warming. Up and down the California coast, some communities are deciding it’s not worth trying to wall off the encroaching ocean. Until recently, the thought of bowing to nature was almost unheard of…

Californians Fight Over Whether Coast Should Be Rugged or Refined, The New York Times (02-09-2016)

We Need to Retreat From the Beach, An Op Ed by Orrin H. Pilkey.

Plan for the recovery of beaches, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico

cancun-erosion
Cancun beach erosion. Photo source: ©© John M

Excerpts;

The government of Quintana Roo has announced a program to rehabilitate and maintain the state’s beaches, which in some areas are losing between two and six meters of sand every year.

Ecology and Environment Secretary Alfredo Alejandro Guillermo said the investment would begin with restoring reefs and beach vegetation to combat erosion in Cozumel, Solidaridad, Tulum, Puerto Morelos and Benito Juárez. Two major beach destinations — Cancún and Playa del Carmen…

Read Full Article, Mexico News Daily (02-25-2017)

Cancun’s Beaches: Vanishing Sand and Wasted Money; USA Today (12-04-2010)

The Battles For The Beaches of Cancun; The Independent (05-08-2010)

Coastal Erosion Threatening Beach Property In Yucatan; The Yucatan Times (12-23-2013)

Rethinking Living Shorelines, By Orrin H. Pilkey, Rob Young, Norma Longo, and Andy Coburn;Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines / Western Carolina University, March 1, 2012, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University
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.

NOAA study finds ‘living shorelines’ can lessen climate change’s effects, NOAA (12-22-2015)

Severe West Coast Erosion During 2015-16 El Niño


Refugio beach erosion, February 2016. Refugio State Beach is one of the true gems of the Gaviota Coast, 20 miles west of Santa Barbara, California. Photo: © SAF – Coastal Care

By USGS;

In a study released today, U.S. Geological Survey scientists and their colleagues document how the 2015-16 winter featured one of the most powerful El Niño climate events of the last 145 years.

Investigating 29 beaches along the U.S West Coast from Washington to southern California, researchers found that winter beach erosion was 76 percent above normal, by far the highest ever recorded, and most beaches in California eroded beyond historical extremes. If severe El Niño events such as this one become more common in the future as studies suggest, this coastal region, home to more than 25 million people, will become increasingly vulnerable to coastal hazards, independently of projected sea level rise.

The authors assessed seasonal changes on 29 beaches along approximately 2000 kilometers (1243 miles) of the U.S. West Coast. Surveying the beaches included making 3-D surface maps and cross-shore profiles using aerial lidar (light detection and ranging), GPS topographic surveys, and direct measurements of sand levels, combined with wave and water level data at each beach, collectively spanning 1997-2016. Winter beach erosion or the removal and loss of sand from the beach is a normal seasonal process, but the extent of erosion can be more severe during El Niño events than in other years.

“Wave conditions and coastal response were unprecedented for many locations during the winter of 2015-16. The winter wave energy equaled or exceeded measured historical maximums along the U.S. West Coast, corresponding to extreme beach erosion across the region,” said USGS geologist and lead author of the report, Patrick Barnard.

The 2015-16 El Niño was one of the three strongest events ever recorded, along with El Niño winters of 1982-83 and 1997-98. While most beaches in California eroded beyond historical extremes, some beaches fared better. “The condition of the beach before the winter of 2015 strongly influenced the severity of erosion and the ability of the beach to recover afterward through natural replenishment processes,” said UC Santa Barbara marine ecologist and co-author David Hubbard.

Rivers still supply the primary source of sand to California beaches, despite long-term reductions in the 20th century due to extensive dam construction. But as California is in the midst of a major drought, the resulting lower river flows equated to even less sand being carried to the coast to help sustain beaches.

“From a water resources perspective, this El Niño was largely considered a dud due to the unusually low rainfall, particularly in Southern California, which received 70 percent less rainfall than in the last two big El Niños. However, the waves that attacked our coast, generated from storms across the North Pacific, were exceptional and among the largest ever recorded,” said Barnard. “Further, the lack of rainfall means the coastal rivers produced very little sand to fill in what was lost from the beaches, so recovery has been slow.”

According to Scripps Institution of Oceanography co-author Bonnie Ludka, “Artificial beach nourishments (mechanically imported sand) placed prior to the winter of 2015-16 also protected some Southern California shorelines from retreating beyond landward extremes.” Unlike California, many of the Pacific Northwest beaches had been gaining sediment in the years leading up to the 2015-16 El Nino, due, at least in part, to a series of mild winter storm seasons that prevented these beaches from eroding to such extremes.

Although Pacific Northwest beaches were buffered from catastrophic damage, study co-author and Oregon State University coastal hazards expert Peter Ruggiero said, “several beaches did experience significant retreat and it may take a while for those beaches to rebuild. We’re not completely recovered yet and it may take years for some beaches to build back up. After the 1997-98 El Niño, it took some beaches a decade to recover.”

The full report, “Extreme oceanographic forcing and coastal response due to the 2015-16 El Niño,” was published online today in the journal “Nature Communications.”

Original Article And Learn More, USGS (02-14-2017)

Beach Bashing; UCSB Current News (02-14-2017)
New research conducted by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists and their colleagues at UC Santa Barbara and six other institutions found that during the 2015-16 El Niño winter beach erosion on the Pacific coast was 76 percent above normal, and that most beaches in California eroded beyond historical extremes…

Floods and erosion are ruining Britain’s most significant sites


Birling Gap, UK. Photo source: ©© Paul Symes

Excerpts;

Climate change is already wrecking some of Britain’s most significant sites, from Wordsworth’s gardens in Cumbria to the white cliffs on England’s south coast, according to a new report.

The report was produced by climate experts at Leeds University and the Climate Coalition, a group of 130 organisations including the RSPB, National Trust, WWF and the Women’s Institute…

Read Full Article, Guardian UK (02-07-2017)

Study reveals huge acceleration in erosion of England’s white cliffs, Guardian UK (11-07-2016)
The iconic white cliffs of southern England are eroding 10 times faster than they have over the past few thousand years, due to human management and changes in storm intensity…

Popular Coastal Attraction Suffered 7 years’ Worth of Erosion in 2 Months, UK; BBC News (03-02-2014)

Growing Climate Change Threat to Britain’s Historic Coastline, The Telegraph UK (06-12-2015)

Coastal Erosion: A series of Special Reports, Guardian UK (08-17-2015)

This Sinking Isle: The Homeowners Battling Coastal Erosion, Guardian UK (04-17-2015)
As sea levels rise, thousands of people on the coast of Britain have been forced to move inland…

Sinking England, A National Geographic Video (11-2011)