Coastal restoration. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care
A study published last August by one team of academic researchers estimates that more than 14,000 miles – 14 percent of continental U.S. coastline — has been armored with hardened structures. That’s a conservative estimate.
“Without substantial changes to coastal management policies and development practices, the U.S. coastlines will likely lose their natural defenses,” according to the paper.
Hardened structures may protect against erosion, but ironically, they also 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.
“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…