Category Archives: Erosion

Coastal erosion: The homes lost to the sea; Video

houses-coastal-erosion-uk1
Severe coastal erosion and falling houses, Happisburgh, England. Photo source: ©© Martin

Excerpts;

As sea level rise, a senior figure in the Environment Agency says he wants the country to start “difficult conversations” about which areas should be protected and which should not…

Read Full Article and Watch Video, BBC News (02-13-2020)

Sinking England, A National Geographic Video (11-25-2011)
All may seem calm on the beautiful stretches of british coastline, but there is a battle being fought on the beaches of Britain. It is a fight for survival against the mighty forces of the North Sea. Erosion of this coastline have been going on for thousands of years, but things have gotten much worst. The country is gradually tilting into the ocean.

East Riding Coastal Erosion, In Pictures; Guardian UK (06-25-2014)

One in ten historic coastal landfill sites in England are at risk of erosion; Science Daily (11-16-2017)
Coastal erosion may release waste from ten per cent of England’s historic coastal landfills in the next forty years, according to research from Queen Mary University of London and the Environment Agency…

Floods and erosion are ruining Britain’s most significant sites; Guardian UK (02-07-2017)
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…

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)

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…

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

Coastal Warning: An Unwelcome Messenger on the Risks of Rising Seas; By Orrin H. Pilkey, Yale E360 (12-06-2018)

Surrendering to rising seas; Scientific American (08-2018)
Coastal communities struggling to adapt to climate change are beginning to do what was once unthinkable: retreat…

The only answer to rising seas is to retreat; By Orrin H. Pilkey & Keith C. Pilkey; The News & Observer (10-18-2017)
Except for the timing, there is no controversy among scientists regarding sea level rise. Defending the coast and holding the shoreline in place ultimately will be futile. With a three-foot or a six-foot sea level rise, we will retreat, probably beginning within the next 50 years…

In the Afro-Caribbean heart of Puerto Rico, locals fight erosion


Loizá, Puerto Rico. Photo source: ©© Scott Allen

Excerpts;

Loíza, Puerto Rico, is filled with palm trees, unassuming bars, bomba music, beautiful beaches — and strong-willed locals who refuse to be forgotten.

The waves crashed loudly on the collapsed ruins of the Paseo del Atlántico, a walkway that once partially protected residents here from the volatile ocean. Erosion along this northernmost coast of Puerto Rico, nearly 20 miles east of San Juan, precipitated the promenade’s destruction for more than a decade and, in 2012, it finally fell into the Atlantic, exposing the Parcelas Suárez neighborhood to the water’s edge.

“The sea demands the space that we take away,” says Irizarry, sitting before an eroding Loíza beach…

Read Full Article, USA Today (02-06-2020)

“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…

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

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.

Seawalls: Ecological effects of coastal armoring in soft sediment environments; Science Daily (07-24-2017)
For nearly a century, America’s coasts — particularly those with large urban populations — have been armored with human made structures such as seawalls. These structures essentially draw a line in the sand that constrains the ability of the shoreline to respond to changes in sea level and other dynamic coastal processes…

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.

Beach rebuilding efforts won’t stave off climate change impacts forever; Guardian UK (09-20-2018)

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…

For now, river deltas gain land worldwide

Nile Delta Desert Islands
Nile Delta Desert Islands, batik on silk by © Mary Edna Fraser
52” x 36”, 1999

Excerpts;

Researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), and colleagues found that delta areas worldwide have actually gained land in the past 30 years, despite river damming. However, recent land gains are unlikely to last throughout the 21st century due to expected, accelerated sea level rise. The researchers published their findings in the journal Nature.

River deltas rank among the most economically and ecologically valuable environments on Earth. People living on deltas are increasingly vulnerable to sea-level rise and coastal hazards such as major storms, extremely high tides, and tsunamis. Many deltas experience a decline in sediment supply due to upstream damming, making them even more vulnerable. However, the new study found that long-term, large-scale, upstream deforestation has resulted in soil erosion that increased the amount of sediment transported to many deltas…

Read Full Article, WHOI (01-23-2020)

Chinese paddlefish extinct after surviving 150 million years

dam-construction-china
Chinese companies and Chinese banks are now the biggest builders and financiers of global dam building. Chinese banks and companies are involved in some 307 dams in 74 different countries, particularly in Africa and Southeast Asia, including Kamchay Dam (Cambodia), Bakun Dam (Sarawak, Malaysia), Myitsone Dam (Burma) and Merowe Dam (Sudan). Captions and Photo source: ©© International Rivers

Excerpts;

The Chinese paddlefish — one of the world’s largest freshwater fish — has officially been declared extinct after surviving some 150 million years.

The giant species, which measured as long as 23 feet and weighed as much as 1,100 pounds, has been killed off by overfishing and dam construction…

Read Full Article; NY Post (01-09-2020)

China’s Great Dam Boom: A Major Assault; Yale E360 (12-08-2013)
China is engaged in a push to build hydroelectric dams on a scale unprecedented in human history. While being touted for producing lower-emission electricity, these massive dam projects are wreaking havoc on river systems across China and Southeast Asia…

Small Dams On Chinese River Harm Environment More Than Expected, study finds, NSF (05-30-2013)

Himalayas to Become The Most Dammed Region In The World, IPS News

DamNation; a Documentary That’s Testing the Waters of Corporate Social Responsibility; Produced by Stoecker Ecological and Felt Soul Media” and presented by Patagonia.

World War II Hazards Emerge on Massively Eroded Australian Beach


Australia. Photo source: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Unprecedented coastal erosion on an Australian beach has uncovered thousands of potentially hazardous spiky World War II tank traps…

Read Full Article; Weather News (12-03-2019)

D-Day’s Legacy Sands, Omaha Beach; By Earle F. McBride & M. Dane Picard; Coastal Care’s Beach of the Month June 2012
Before dawn on June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops began storming the shores of Normandy, France, in what would be the turning point of World War II. Troops poured out of planes and off ships along an 80-kilometer stretch of coastline. Omaha Beach sand retains evidence of the Invasion…

Engineers hope high-tech sandbags will keep the beach in Waikiki from disappearing

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Coastal erosion, Hawaii. “Sandbagging is pretty much an exercise in futility. The only benefit is psychological, the feeling of doing something…” Captions and Photo source: ©© Davidd

Excerpts;

A fresh round of repairs to Hawaii’s most famous beach have been completed ― and engineers hope their latest idea will do more to help the shoreline from washing away.

Over the last three weeks, and at a cost of roughly $700,000, engineers worked to install a 95-foot sandbag groin at Waikiki Beach, along with hauling in tons of new sand to help replenish it…

Read Full Article; Hawaii News (11-29-2019)

‘Sand mattress’ technology to combat Mother Nature at Kuhio Beach; KHON News (12-17-2017)

Waikiki Beach Is Totally Man-Made And Disappearing. Can Hawaii Save It?Huffington Green (03-10-2015)

Doubling of Coastal Erosion by Mid-Century in Hawai’i, Science Daily (03-24-2015)
Chronic erosion dominates the sandy beaches of Hawai’i, causing beach loss as it damages homes, infrastructure, and critical habitat. Researchers have long understood that global sea level rise will affect the rate of coastal erosion. However, new research indicates that coastal erosion of Hawai’i’s beaches may double by mid-century…

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.

Seawalls: Ecological effects of coastal armoring in soft sediment environments; Science Daily (07-24-2017)
For nearly a century, America’s coasts — particularly those with large urban populations — have been armored with human made structures such as seawalls. These structures essentially draw a line in the sand that constrains the ability of the shoreline to respond to changes in sea level and other dynamic coastal processes…

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

Living on the shores of Hawaii: natural hazards, the environment, and our communities, A book by Chip Fletcher; Robynne Boyd, William J. Neal and Virginia Tice.
“Living on the shores of Hawaii: natural hazards, the environment, and our communities” addresses a wide range of environmental concerns within the context of sustainability and their influence on the future of Hawaii…

Sandbagging at the Shore: North Carolina’s Coastal Sand Bags and Political Sandbaggers; By William Neal, Orrin Pilkey & Norma Longo;
The wonder of modern English is how social use of language expands and changes the meaning of words. Sand bag is a bag filled with sand used for temporary construction—quickly made, easily transported, and easily removed. Typically, sandbagging is the emplacement of sand bags to construct a temporary protective wall or barrier, such as a dike or dam to hold back flood waters, or protection on the battlefield. But the term ‘sandbagging’ has taken on an array of other meanings…

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.

waikiki-beach-renourishment
Waikiki beach-renourishement, 2012. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care.
“Hawaii’s famed Waikiki Beach started to erode again, less than a year after the completion of a $2.2 million project to replenish the sand on about 1,730 feet of shoreline that had been suffering from chronic erosion.”
“Development is absolutely responsible for the majority of the beach nourishment,” Andrew Coburn, assistant director of The Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University, said. “Well over 99 percent of the shorelines that are nourished are developed so there is some economic value placed behind them.”

Your favorite beaches around the world could disappear because of the climate crisis, development


Photograph: © Coastal Care

Excerpts;

It’s easy to see why millions of people flock to the beach every year.

They are dynamic places — and not just because they’re great for relaxing, surfing or people watching. With each crashing wave and changing tide, billions of pieces of sand and rock are constantly rearranged. This is what nature intended.

What it did not, some scientists say, are the buildings that tower over some of the world’s most popular beaches…

Read Full Article; CNN (10-25-2019)

Developers don’t get it: climate change means we need to retreat from the coast, Guardian UK (15-03-2016)
It is preposterous to build in areas that are bound to flood. So why are real estate companies still doing it?..

Surrendering to rising seas; Scientific American (08-2018)

The only answer to rising seas is to retreat; By Orrin H. Pilkey & Keith C. Pilkey; The News & Observer (10-18-2017)
Except for the timing, there is no controversy among scientists regarding sea level rise. Defending the coast and holding the shoreline in place ultimately will be futile. With a three-foot or a six-foot sea level rise, we will retreat, probably beginning within the next 50 years…

The end of the world’s most famous beaches – II ; By Orrin H. Pilkey and J. Andrew G. Cooper; (08-01-2019

” The Last Beach,” a book by Orrin H. Pilkey And J. Andrew G. Cooper
“In The Last Beach, the authors describe the top five threats to beaches around the world. Even a quick overview of these threats suggests a strategy for confronting the degradation and loss of beaches. It’s no surprise that a comprehensive, long-term beach protection strategy requires significant changes to our economic system, a system that has overdeveloped and polluted beaches to the extent that they have become unhealthy places to swim or even play in the sand…”—Countercurrents

‘Sand wars’: the battle to replenish Florida’s beaches amid climate crisis


A Gulf Coast of Florida community. Captions and Photograph courtesy of:© Orrin H. Pilkey and J. Andrew G. Cooper

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…Sand business is estimated to be a $70 billion industry, worldwide…!” Captions by “Sand Wars” Multi Award-Winning Filmmaker: Denis Delestrac (©-2013).

Excerpts;

Surfside’s postcard beach is experiencing a disappearing act amid hurricanes. rising sea levels – and a worldwide sand shortage…

Read Full Article; Guardian UK (10-25-2019)

Florida has spent more than $100 million pouring more sand onto beaches in the past three years. Is it time to wave a white flag? Sun Sentinel (06-08-2018)
In South Florida’s war against the tides, it may be time to recognize that discretion is the better part of valor. For the past 70 years, the state of Florida has spent more than $1.3 billion on packing sand onto eroding beaches.

Column: The future of Florida’s beaches and the public’s right to know; Op Ed. by Orrin Pilkey (12-07-2015)

Column: High-rises spell the end for Florida beaches; By Orrin H. Pilkey and J. Andrew G. Cooper; Tampa Bay (07-25-2017)
Floridians are becoming more attuned to sea level rise and more familiar with nuisance flooding related to the rising sea. However, we believe there is less recognition that by century’s end it is likely that most of Florida’s major beaches will be permanently gone…

Gone with the wind: storms deepen Florida’s beach sand crunch; Reuters (02-16-2018)
Costs of so-called beach renourishments are a fraction of the total, measured in hundreds of millions of dollars, but the effort is crucial for Florida’s $67 billion tourism industry. And while sand needs are surging, there is not enough to go around…

Can Adding Sand to Beaches Save Them? How Stuff Works (04-13-2018)
The question is, can beach nourishment keep up with the ever-increasing forces of climate change or, like Sisyphus forever pushing his boulder up the hill, is adding sand to beaches an expensive, temporary fix to a long-term problem?..

Sand washes away as quickly as it can be dumped, Bathtub Beach, FL, TCPalm News (11-17-2017)
Between 2004 and 2014, some $13.6 million was spent on beach renourishment in Martin County, Florida. About $7.1 million came from local funds — your tax dollars. In the past two years, more than $6 million from a variety of sources has been spent to renourish and restore dunes at Bathtub Beach alone…

South Florida, Out of Beach, Wants to Buy Sand from the Bahamas, Slate (11-02-2017)
Miami-Dade County lost 170,000 cubic yards of sand during Hurricane Irma. It’s the latest blow to South Florida beaches in perennial decline. Nearly half the state’s coast—411 miles’ worth of beach—is considered “critically eroded.”

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 Wars” film documentary by Denis Delestrac – first broadcasted on the european Arte Channel, May 28th, 2013, where it became the highest rated documentary for 2013 – expressly inspired the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to publish this 2014-Global Environmental Alert.

The Conservation Crisis No One Is Talking About, TakePart (09-21-2016)
Beaches around the world are disappearing. No, the cause isn’t sea-level rise, at least not this time. It’s a little-known but enormous industry called sand mining, which every year sucks up billions of tons of sand from beaches, ocean floors, and rivers to make everything from concrete to microchips to toothpaste…

The hidden environmental toll of mining the World’s sand; Yale E360 (02-05-2019)
Sand mining is the world’s largest mining endeavor, responsible for 85 percent of all mineral extraction. It is also the least regulated, and quite possibly the most corrupt and environmentally destructive…

The Economist explains: Why there is a shortage of sand; The Economist (04-24-2017)
It may be plentiful, but so is the demand for it…

The world is running out of sand, The New Yorker (05-29-2017)

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (©-2013)
Is sand an infinite resource? Can the existing supply satisfy a gigantic demand fueled by construction booms? What are the consequences of intensive beach sand mining for the environment and the neighboring populations…? This investigative documentary takes us around the globe to unveil a new gold rush and a disturbing fact: the “Sand Wars” have begun…


Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care


BE THE CHANGE:

PETITION: Take Action To End Global Beach Sand Mining, Coastal Care

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Illegal beach sand mining, near Tangier, Morocco. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care