Tag Archives: Erosion

Taking stock of the world’s sandy beaches


The team found that about 31 percent of the world’s coastlines are sandy. Africa has the highest proportion of sandy beaches (66 percent) and Europe has the lowest (22 percent).

By Jessica Merzdorf, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, with Mike Carlowicz, NASA Earth Observatory;

A new survey has shown that the world’s sandy beaches have grown slightly over the past three decades. But researchers also observed a troubling trend in protected marine areas.

A team of researchers from The Netherlands used machine learning to accurately identify sandy beaches in images taken by Landsat satellites. They “taught” their image-classification software to automatically determine whether beaches around the world were sandy, rocky, or icy, and then to examine how the sandy beaches changed between 1984 and 2016.

The team found that about 31 percent of the world’s coastlines are sandy. Africa has the highest proportion of sandy beaches (66 percent) and Europe has the lowest (22 percent).

Thy also found that 24 percent of those sandy beaches—a coastline distance of almost 80,000 kilometers (50,000 miles)—had eroded at rates exceeding 0.5 meters per year. Another 28 percent of sandy beaches had accreted (grew), while 48 percent remained stable. Four of the seven largest erosion hot spots in the world were located in the United States.

The image pairs on this page show two of the extreme cases. The beaches at Schiermonnikoog, The Netherlands (above), were among the fastest growing in the study, with growth of nearly 10 meters per year. The area just south of Freeport, Texas (below), is one of the largest erosive hotspots in the world, with beach being lost at a rate of nearly 15 meters per year along a 17-kilometer (11-mile) stretch. These natural-color images were acquired by the Thematic Mapper on Landsat 5 and the Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8.

A new survey has shown that the world’s sandy beaches have grown slightly over the past three decades. But researchers also observed a troubling trend in protected marine areas.

A team of researchers from The Netherlands used machine learning to accurately identify sandy beaches in images taken by Landsat satellites. They “taught” their image-classification software to automatically determine whether beaches around the world were sandy, rocky, or icy, and then to examine how the sandy beaches changed between 1984 and 2016.

The team found that about 31 percent of the world’s coastlines are sandy. Africa has the highest proportion of sandy beaches (66 percent) and Europe has the lowest (22 percent).

Thy also found that 24 percent of those sandy beaches—a coastline distance of almost 80,000 kilometers (50,000 miles)—had eroded at rates exceeding 0.5 meters per year. Another 28 percent of sandy beaches had accreted (grew), while 48 percent remained stable. Four of the seven largest erosion hot spots in the world were located in the United States.

The image pairs on this page show two of the extreme cases. The beaches at Schiermonnikoog, The Netherlands (above), were among the fastest growing in the study, with growth of nearly 10 meters per year. The area just south of Freeport, Texas (below), is one of the largest erosive hotspots in the world, with beach being lost at a rate of nearly 15 meters per year along a 17-kilometer (11-mile) stretch. These natural-color images were acquired by the Thematic Mapper on Landsat 5 and the Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8.

Original Article, NASA / Earth Observatory (08-02-2018)

Global Study of World’s Beaches Shows Threat to Protected Areas; NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (07-18-2018)
A first-of-its-kind survey of the world’s sandy shorelines with satellite data found that they have increased slightly on a global scale over the past three decades but decreased in protected marine areas, where many beaches are eroding…

Global Study of World’s Beaches Shows Threat to Protected Areas


Cape Cod National Seashore is a protected marine area, home to a variety of ecosystems with diverse plants and animals. Credits: NASA Earth Observatory / Spencer Kennard

By Jessica Merzdorf, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

A first-of-its-kind survey of the world’s sandy shorelines with satellite data found that they have increased slightly on a global scale over the past three decades but decreased in protected marine areas, where many beaches are eroding.

Erosion in protected marine areas could threaten plant and animal species and cultural heritage sites. Worldwide, the study found that 24 percent of Earth’s sandy beaches are eroding, a coastline distance of almost 50,000 miles.

The view from space provided researchers with a more accurate picture of just how much of Earth’s shorelines are beaches. They found that about a third (31 percent) of all ice-free shorelines are sandy or gravelly. Africa has the highest proportion of sandy beaches (66 percent) and Europe has the lowest (22 percent).

Satellite image processing: Wave of the future

A team of scientists and engineers from the Netherlands used machine learning to “teach” their classification software to accurately identify sandy beaches from images taken by Landsat satellites from NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. This allowed them to quickly and automatically examine 30 years of data and determine how many of Earth’s beaches are sandy instead of rocky or icy, and how those sandy beaches are changing with time.

In the past, answering these questions required years of expensive, labor-intensive research, and the results of previous attempts to measure Earth’s beaches varied widely.

“It only took about two months’ calculation time to generate this data set of annual shorelines between 1984 and 2016 for the entire world,” said Arjen Luijendijk, a coastal development expert at Deltares, an independent research institute studying deltas, river basins and coasts. “The alternative of taking aerial images, placing the images in world coordinates, and sometimes manually detecting shorelines, takes weeks or months to capture a coast longer than 50 miles.”


Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary holds shipwrecks, archaeological artifacts and a variety of natural resources. Credits: NOAA/CINMS/Claire Fackler.

Taking this kind of global snapshot gives scientists a clearer idea of what large scale processes govern the growth and retreat of beaches around the world, Luijendijk said.

The team found that many of the world’s non-protected beaches are undergoing change too, but not uniformly. About 24 percent of sandy beaches worldwide are eroding, while 27 percent are growing.

Additionally, about 16 percent of all beaches are eroding at rates designated “intense” or “extreme,” and 18 percent are growing at the same rates.

Globally, all of this averages out to a slight average increase over the last 30 years, meaning that our sum total of sandy beaches is increasing slightly.

The researchers were able to break down these results by continent to find that beaches in Australia and Africa are experiencing more erosion than growth. The opposite is true for all other continents, where on average beaches are growing.

“At this point we think the continental differences in beach erosion and accretion are largely influenced by human interventions along the coast,” Luijendijk said. “Our next steps will focus on distinguishing the human impact from the natural dynamics and trends.”

The researchers give several examples of locations where human activities have sped up erosion or growth: Mining sand from Vietnam’s Mekong River delta for use in making concrete and asphalt has caused steadily high rates of erosion that could jeopardize this biologically diverse region, as well as threaten the sustainability of its fishing industry. On the other hand, the Tweed River Entrance Sand Bypassing Project, established in 2001 in New South Wales, Australia, pumps sand from the Tweed River to three beaches in Queensland, enlarging those beaches and improving navigation at the river mouth.

Protected marine areas: At risk

In protected marine areas, Luijendijk said, we have an idea of what might happen in areas without human intervention. Because there is typically much less human influence in these areas, scientists can glimpse what natural processes might do to the world’s sandy shores.


Many sandy beaches, like this one in Mariana Islands, Guam, are undergoing change, and scientists are using satellites to track global trends of growth and erosion. Credits: NOAA/David Burdock.

Protected marine areas include sanctuaries and reserves, national parks, wildlife refuges and national monuments, and may be designated for their biological, ecological or cultural value. The United States has more than 1,200 such zones encompassing more than 1 million square miles, including Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts, Indiana Dunes State Park, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the Hawaiian archipelago.

Some of these areas were designated to protect vulnerable plant and animal species or connect delicate ecosystems. These areas are home to humpback whales and sea turtles, reefs and mangroves that protect the land from erosion and natural disasters, and species who are found in only one habitat in the world. Losing land area could upset the balance of these areas and endanger their future.

Other protected areas surround important cultural artifacts or sites, such as shipwrecks, harbors or the stone idols (ki’i) of Hawaii. These areas not only preserve the history of cultures from all over the world, but benefit the country economically by attracting tourists and researchers.

Next steps

The team’s next step is to expand the model and use it to look at finer-grained details of the world’s beaches: Seasonal variations in shorelines, examining the difference between human-caused and natural processes and their effects, and adding more data to study tides and water levels on single satellite images instead of composites. They will also look beyond sandy beaches to coastal cliffs.

“Studying the behavior of sandy beaches at a global scale provides unique information on the universal causes and processes governing the retreat and accretion of coasts around the world,” Luijendijk said.

To read this paper, visit Nature
Coastal zones constitute one of the most heavily populated and developed land zones in the world. Despite the utility and economic benefits that coasts provide, there is no reliable global-scale assessment of historical shoreline change trends. Here, via the use of freely available optical satellite images captured since 1984, in conjunction with sophisticated image interrogation and analysis methods, we present a global-scale assessment of the occurrence of sandy beaches and rates of shoreline change therein…

To learn more about Landsat, visit Landsat Science

Original Article, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (07-18-2018)

Sea Level Rise Could Double Erosion Rates of Southern California Coastal Cliffs


Severe coastal erosion, Isla Vista, California. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

By USGS;

Coastal cliffs from Santa Barbara to San Diego might crumble at more than twice the historical rate by the year 2100 as sea levels rise.

U.S. Geological Survey scientists combined several computer models for the first time to forecast cliff erosion along the Southern California coast. Their peer-reviewed study was published in a recent issue of the American Geophysical Union’s Journal of Geophysical Research – Earth Surface.

The research also showed that for sea-level rise scenarios ranging from about 1.5 feet to 6.6 feet by 2100, bluff tops along nearly 300 miles of Southern California coasts could lose an average of 62 to 135 feet by 2100 – and much more in some areas.

“Sea cliff retreat is a serious hazard,” said USGS research geologist and lead author Patrick Limber. “Unlike beaches, cliffs can be stable for decades between large landslides that remove several feet of bluff top.”

USGS developed this forecast to help managers and policy makers understand how the coastline is going to respond to sea level rise over the 21st century, enabling them to make better-informed decisions.


Map of Southern California coastline showing cliff retreat forecasts using 6.6 feet of sea level rise. Orange and red circles indicate extreme erosion beyond 167 feet. (Public domain)

Coastal cliff erosion rates vary depending on sea level rise, wave energy, coastal slope, beach width and height, and rock strength.

USGS researchers combined five different computer models that forecast how cliffs crumble in a manner similar to how meteorologists blend several hurricane forecasts to get the best predicted path of the storm. This is the first time anyone has reported an “ensemble forecast” for cliff retreat that produces a range of values for each section of coastline instead of each model yielding one number. Scientists used earlier studies to supply the erosion models with sea level rise values from 1.6 to 6.6 feet, long-term wave energy forecasts, and other data.

The study also noted that without the supply of sand from eroding cliffs, beaches in Southern California may not survive rising sea levels – and bluff-top development may not withstand the forecasted 62 to 135 feet of cliff recession. “Consequently,” wrote the study’s authors, “managers could be faced with a difficult decision between prioritizing private cliff-top property or public beaches by permitting or prohibiting cliff armoring, respectively.”

Yet these forecasts have limits. “There’s a lot about cliff erosion that we still don’t understand,” said Limber. “Caution should be exercised when applying this on a site-specific scale because the uncertainty is large. More research needs to be done so that the uncertainty is reduced.”


This simple diagram shows the factors that can affect coastal cliff erosion, including sea level rise, wave energy, coastal slope, beach width, beach height, and rock strength. (Public domain)

This study is part of a broader USGS-led effort to forecast climate change impacts across the Southern California coast using the Coastal Storm Modeling System.

“Coastal change, cliff retreat, sea level rise, and extreme storms could expose more than 250,000 residents and $50 billion in property to erosion or flooding in Southern California by the end of the century,” said Patrick Barnard, a USGS research geologist and co-author of the journal article.

The new study, “A model ensemble for projecting multi-decadal coastal cliff retreat during the 21st century,” by Patrick Limber, Patrick Barnard, Sean.

Original Article, USGS (07-09-2018)

California cliffs at risk of collapse identified; Science Daily (12-20-2017)
Danger – Unstable Cliffs – Stay Back: The yellow warning signs that pepper coastal cliffs from northern California to the US-Mexico border may seem overly dramatic to the casual observer. But actively eroding cliffs make up the majority of the California coastline…

Disappearing Beaches: Modeling Shoreline Change in Southern California; USGS (02-14-2017)
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…

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…

Worst erosion in 150 years tears 180 feet from SF’s Ocean Beach; SF Gate (02-15-2017)
The beaches lining the coast between Mexico and Canada form a protective barrier that keeps the turbulent ocean from eating away at seaside cliffs and flooding low-lying coastal towns and cities, scientists say…

Sea-Level Rise Poses Hard Choice for Two Neighborhoods: Rebuild or Retreat? Take Part (04-25-2015)

California Coastal Armoring Report: Managing Coastal Armoring and Climate Change Adaptation in the 21st Century;By Molly Loughney Melius, Fellow, Stanford Law School Margaret R. Caldwell, Diretor, Environment and Natural Resources Law & Policy Program, Stanford Law School (May 2015)
In response to erosion and storm events, Californians have built seawalls, revetments, and other “coastal armoring” structures along significant portions of California’s coast. Coastal armoring now occupies more than 110 miles, or at least 10 percent, of the overall California coastline. This coastal armoring has diminished California’s beaches and habitat, irreversibly altered bluffs, caused increased erosion to neighboring properties, and marred the natural beauty of the coast…

The only answer to rising seas is to retreat; By Orrin H. Pilkey & Keith C. Pilkey; The News & Observer (10-18-2017)

Scenic Hwy. 1 to reopen — 547 days after you could last drive the coast to Big Sur


Pacific coast. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Highway 1 up the Big Sur Coast will reopen from Cambria to Carmel by Friday, July 20.

Travelers from near and far have been unable to traverse the so-called Big Sur Highway portion of Highway 1 since Jan. 20, 2017, when Caltrans stopped traffic along the internationally acclaimed All-American Highway and scenic byway because of landslides in several areas…

Read Full Article; The Tribune San Luis Obispo (07-03-2018)

Beach bashing: Last year’s El Niño resulted in unprecedented erosion of Pacific coastline, Science Daily (02-14-2017)

Sea-level rise and the precious commodity of sand

elwha-dam-2011
Elwha River Dam, the largest dam removal project ever attempted in the U.S, 2011. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

The sand used to construct towns and cities leads to development that then impedes sand’s natural flow from watersheds, diminishing one of its best sources of replenishment…

Read Full Article; The Coast News (05-17-2018)

Dams – Cutting off our Beach Sand; By Gary Griggs (12-19-2014)

DamNation; a Documentary That’s Testing the Waters of Corporate Social Responsibility; Produced by Stoecker Ecological and Felt Soul Media” and presented by Patagonia.
DamNation is a feature documentary, shown this week at SXSW in Austin, Tx. DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature…

Let’s Talk About Sand: “Sand Wars” Film Director Denis Delestrac, At TEDxBarcelona

Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks: A UNEP report (GEA-March 2014)
Despite the colossal quantities of sand and gravel being used, our increasing dependence on them and the significant impact that their extraction has on the environment, this issue has been mostly ignored by policy makers and remains largely unknown by the general public.
In March 2014 The United Nations released its first Report about Sand Mining: “Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks.”
“Sand Wars” film documentary by Denis Delestrac – first broadcasted on the european Arte Channel, May 28th, 2013 in its french version: “Le Sable: enquête sur une disparition”, where it became the highest rated documentary for 2013 – expressly inspired the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to publish this 2014-Global Environmental Alert.

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Mutlti-Awards Winner Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (©-2013)
“Sand is the second most consumed natural resource, after water. The construction-building industry is by far the largest consumer of this finite resource. The traditional building of one average-sized house requires 200 tons of sand; a hospital requires 3,000 tons of sand; each kilometer of highway built requires 30,000 tons of sand… A nuclear plant, a staggering 12 million tons of sand…”

A softer approach, living shorelines as an alternative to a hardened coast

coastal-restoration-nyc
Coastal restoration, New York. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Research over the last decade points toward the pursuit of living shorelines for coastal landowners seeking erosion control.But, with regulatory lag and miles of shoreline lost each year to harsh structures, it’s not always easy…

Read Full Article; PortCity (05-12-2018)

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.

“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.

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

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

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…

“Seawalls Kill Beaches,” Open Letters by Warner Chabot And Rob Young, (10-03-2014)

“Engineering away our natural defenses: An analysis of shoreline hardening in the US,” A Study by By Rachel K. Pittman, ResearchGate (08-08-2015)
Rapid coastal population growth and development are primary drivers of marine habitat degradation. Although shoreline hardening, a byproduct of development, can accelerate erosion and loss of beaches and tidal wetlands, it is a common practice globally. 22,842 km of continental U.S. shoreline, 14% of the total, has been hardened…

“North Carolina: The Beaches Are Moving,” A Video featuring Orrin Pilkey, PhD
World famous coastal geologist Orrin H. Pilkey takes us to the beach and explains why erosion has become a problem…

New model could help rebuild eroding lands in coastal Louisiana


Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care

Excerpts;

As coastal lands in Louisiana erode, researchers, environmentalists and engineers are all searching for ways to preserve the marsh coastline…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (05-07-2018)

Hotting up: how climate change could swallow Louisiana’s Tabasco island; Guardian UK (03-27-2018)
With thousands of square miles of land already lost along the coast, Avery Island, home of the famed hot sauce, faces being marooned…

Coastal erosion poses multibillion-dollar risk to Baton Rouge economy, LSU study says; Business Report (03-22-2017)
While Baton Rouge is not on the “front lines” of Louisiana’s coastal land loss crisis, billions of dollars worth of economic activity are at risk for the city as the Gulf of Mexico continues to swallow wetlands, which are key storm buffers along the coast, according to a new LSU study…

On the Louisiana Coast, A Native Community Sinks Slowly into the Sea; Yale E360 (03-15-2018)
The Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians of southern Louisiana have been called America’s first climate refugees. But two years after receiving federal funding to move to higher ground, the tribe is stuck in limbo, waiting for new homes as the water inches closer to their doors…

Rising water is swallowing up the Louisiana coastline: the $50 billion battle plan; CBS News (01-18-2017)
The geography of the Louisiana coastline is quickly changing. A state-commissioned report predicts rising water could swallow more land along the Gulf of Mexico, if nothing is done to address damage caused by climate change and commercial activity. A new master plan of 2017 calls for an investment of more than $50 billion over 50 years…

Climate change will redraw Louisiana’s flood risk maps, Newsweek (08-18-2016)

New study shows impact of human-made structures on Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, Science Daily (06-29-2016)

Resettling the First American Climate Refugees – Louisiana; The New York Times (05-03-2016)

The First Official Climate Refugees in the U.S. Race Against Time; National Geographic (05-27-2016)

Gulf Eats Away at Coast Outside Levee-Protected New Orleans, AP (09-14-2015)
In the past century, more than 1,880 square miles of Louisiana land has turned into open water — an area nearly the size of Delaware. And the loss continues unabated, with an estimated 17 square miles disappearing on average each year…

Piling sand to stop erosion ultimately made the land sink, study says; NOLA (12-26-2015)

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

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.

Erosion at New York’s Hart Island graveyard unearths human bones


City Island and Hart Island, off Orchard Beach, Pelham Bay and Pelham Bay Park, Bronx, New York, are the largest of the Pelham Islands. Captions and Photo source: ©© Doc Searls

Excerpts;

Hart Island, a massive burial ground near the Bronx borough of New York City, is eroding, unearthing human bones along the shoreline. Advocates said the city hasn’t done anything – until now…

Read Full Article; CBS News (04-25-2018)

Cemeteries in the Sea; By William J. Neal & Orrin H. Pilkey
Cemeteries by the sea are silent sentinels. Like lighthouses and coastal fortifications, they bear dates of former times when they were on high and dry land…

Cooks government ready to deal with vulnerable cemetery, Radio NZ (02-22-2016)
The Cook Islands government says work on a retaining wall that will protect a cemetery from losing more graves to the sea is going to start immediately…

Kiwi graves disappearing off cliffs in Rarotonga ‘like no one cares’, TVNZ (02-23-2013)
A cemetery in the Pacific nation literally washing away, and the Cook Islands government is refusing to do anything about it…

Rising Seas Wash Dead Away from Marshall Islands Graves, Guardian UK (06-06-2014)

Holden Beach Says ‘No’ to Terminal Groin, NC

PSDS
Photo source: PSDS.
“Terminal groins are shore-perpendicular structures built in attempt to slow erosion. When a groin works as intended, sand moving along the beach in the so-called downdrift direction is trapped on the updrift side of the groin, causing a sand deficit and increasing erosion rates on the downdrift side. This well-documented and unquestioned impact is widely cited in the engineering and geologic literature.” —Rob Young, Director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines (PSDS) at Western Carolina University

Excerpts;

Holden Beach commissioners are withdrawing the town’s permit application to build a terminal groin at the east end of the barrier island.

Terminal groins are wall-like structures built perpendicular to the shore at inlets to contain sand in areas of high erosion, like that of beaches at inlets…

Read Full Article; Coastal Review (04-19-2018)

Terminal Groins Don’t Stop Erosion; Coastal Review (05-03-2016)

The Negative Impacts Of Groins, (02-12-2009)
The negative impact of groins on downdrift shorelines is well understood. When a groin works as intended, sand moving along the beach in the so-called downdrift direction is trapped on the updrift side of the groin, causing a sand deficit and increasing erosion rates on the downdrift side. This well-documented and unquestioned impact is widely cited in the engineering and geologic literature.

A Fiscal Analysis of Shifting Inlets and Terminal Groins in North Carolina, By Rob Young Director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University (01-28-2011)
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…

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…

“Engineering away our natural defenses: An analysis of shoreline hardening in the US,” A Study by By Rachel K. Pittman, ResearchGate (08-08-2015)
Rapid coastal population growth and development are primary drivers of marine habitat degradation. Although shoreline hardening, a byproduct of development, can accelerate erosion and loss of beaches and tidal wetlands, it is a common practice globally. 22,842 km of continental U.S. shoreline, 14% of the total, has been hardened…

Coastal erosion needs our attention, South Coast Today (01-04-2016)

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.

“North Carolina: The Beaches Are Moving,” A Video featuring Orrin Pilkey, PhD
World famous coastal geologist Orrin H. Pilkey takes us to the beach and explains why erosion has become a problem…