Category Archives: Poor Coastal Development

As SC island homes fall into ocean, owners behind them wonder if they’re next


Photo courtesy of: “the Western Carolina University Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines

Excerpts;

This small slip of land on the eastern tip of Beaufort County is the legacy of an opportunistic time when a wave of businessmen descended on the South Carolina coast keen-eyed for fragments of paradise to package and sell off…

Read Full Article; Post & Courier (02-01-2020)

Sea rise along South Carolina coast accelerating faster than realized, researcher says; Post And Courier (02-01-2019)
Within 50 years, the sea off Charleston will be rising about one inch every five years — twice as fast as it was rising about a century ago and one-third faster than it was in 2000…

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?..

Coastal Hazards & Targeted Acquisitions: A Reasonable Shoreline Management Alternative: North Topsail Beach, North Carolina Case Study; by the Western Carolina University Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines (July 1, 2019)
This study is the first of several case studies to be released by the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines examining the feasibility and economics of targeted acquisition strategies in oceanfront, resort communities. Buyouts of vulnerable properties have become an increasingly popular tool for reducing future exposure in flood-prone communities across the U.S.

Sea Level Rise Will Reshape U.S. Population In All 50 States; Yale E360 (04-19-2017)
Sea level rise could cause mass migrations that will affect not just the United States’ East Coast, but reshape communities deep in the heart of the country, according to new research…

Coastal residents need to set aside money now to cope with future flooding; Sun Sentinel (07-10-2018)
Sea-level rise is a national economic insecurity. According to the National Ocean Service, 39 percent of the U.S. population in 2010 lived in counties that are on shorelines…

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…

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…

Series of coastal engineering projects underway amid race to save Waikiki Beach

waikiki-beach-renourishment
Waikiki beach-renourishement. A section of Hawaii’s famed Waikiki Beach is starting to erode, 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. Captions and Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

A $700,000 — 95-foot-long sand bag groin made of 83, 10,000-pound bags of sand — installed in November to restore the coastline and slow erosion at Kuhio Beach, is to be followed by another more expensive project.

The more than $2 million project — proposed by the DLNR — that will launch next month, will involve replacing the Royal Hawaiian groin with a stable, sloping rock groin, as well as pumping dredged sand in…

Series of coastal engineering projects underway amid race to save Waikiki Beach; Hawaii News Now (02-20-2020)

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

Waikiki Beach Eroding Less Than A Year After $2.2M Sand Restoration; Pacific Business News (06-24-2013)
A section of Hawaii’s famed Waikiki Beach is starting to erode, 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…

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…

70 Percent of Beaches Eroding On Hawaiian Islands Kauai, Oahu, and Maui, USGS (Uploaded 05-08-2012)

Hawaii’s Beaches Are in Retreat, and Its Way of Life May Follow, The New York Times

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…

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.

20,000 deaths since 1999: New report reveals deadly impact of extreme weather in France

xynthia-mayor-official
La Faute sur Mer’s mayor (left) and Vendée’s senator (right) in front of an aerial view of the 2 inundated towns of L’Aiguillon and La Faute sur Mer, Vendée, France. Photo source: ©© Sénat

Excerpts;

France is one of the most exposed countries in the world to the risks of extreme weather, a new report has found, with nearly 20,000 deaths linked to heatwaves, floods and storms in the last 20 years.

The report from the global climate charity Germanwatch ranked 183 countries around the world according to how exposed they are to extreme weather events – such as heatwaves, storms and flooding – linked to climate change.

France was ranked in the top 20 most exposed countries in the world, in the same bracket as India and Madagascar.The worst affected countries in the world were Puerto Rico, Honduras, Myanmar and Haiti…

Read Full Article; The Local Fr (12-14-2019)

À La Faute-sur-Mer, le temps n’a pas effacé le cauchemar de la tempête Xynthia; Le Figaro (02-21-2020)
Ten years after Xynthia storm devastated France, scars still remain.

La Faute-sur-Mer and l’Aiguillon-sur-Mer beaches, Vendée, France; By Claire Le Guern (03-2010)
The very last day of February 2010. It is 4:00 am. Howling winds, whipping rains, infuriated seas, and eight meter high (26 feet) crashing waves, are muffling the desperate cries for help…4:00 am… Twenty nine human lives are being swept away, drowned in the frigid and salty ocean waters. They were in their sleep, in their beds, in the comfort of their home. They did not understand, they could not react, most of them too old, too frail, or much too little to run for safety and climb on the rooftops, like most of the survivors did…
When daylight unveiled the disaster, French Prime Minister François Fillon held an emergency cabinet meeting and afterward called the storm a “national catastrophe.” French President Nicolas Sarkhozy, declared: “We have to find out how families in France in the 21st-century can be surprised in their sleep and drowned in their own houses.” Mr. Sarkozy added, “We have to shed light as urgently as possible on this unacceptable and incomprehensible tragedy.”
As much as this tragedy is utterly unacceptable, it is all too comprehensible and sadly, previously announced by warnings from many scientists, locals, and even more relevantly by an official 2008 report from the Vendée Equipment Department, DDE. The risks of marine submersion were known to the Vendée DDE, which strongly addressed and questioned coastal safety, citing in particular the fragile sea walls in L’Aiguillon-sur-Mer and La Faute-sur-Mer, as well as their existing location and development in flood-prone areas. “There is no doubt about the vulnerability of the Vendée coast to marine submersion”…

A French beach cleared of homes shows NC the way; By Orrin H. Pilkey; News Observer (02-24-2019)

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?..

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

Coasts in Peril? A Shoreline Health Perspective; By Andrew Cooper & Derek Jackson


Black Rock, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Photo courtesy of: © Andrew Cooper

Excerpts;

Most assessments of coastal vulnerability are undertaken from the perspective of the risk posed to humans, their property and activities. This anthropocentric view is based on widespread public perception (a) that coastal change is primarily a hazard to property and infrastructure and (b) that sea defenses (whether soft or hard) are required to mitigate and eliminate coastal hazards. From the perspective of coastal ecosystems, such a view is both perverse and damaging. In this paper we present an alternative approach to coastal assessment that centers on the physical integrity of the coast and its associated ecosystems both now and in the near-future. The shoreline health approach represents a new paradigm for coastal management and is intended to provide a much-needed ecosystem perspective. Its premise is to categorize coasts on the degree to which their ability to function morphodynamically has been compromised by human intervention. We present an expert assessment approach involving five categories that range from “Good Health” (with “Health Warning” and “Minor Wounds” sub-divisions), through “Minor Injury,” “Major Injury,” “On Life Support” to “Deceased.” We illustrate the concept using tabulated examples of each category from cliffed, clastic and delta coasts and demonstrate its utility through two applications. This approach has the potential to quantify the degree to which coastal ecosystems have been damaged and to focus attention on the cumulative impact of human activities on coastal ecosystems…

Read Full Article; By Andrew Cooper & Derek Jackson, in Frontiers Media (10-02-2019)

A French beach cleared of homes shows NC the way; By Orrin H. Pilkey

xynthia-mayor-official
La Faute sur Mer’s former mayor (left) and Vendée’s senator (right) in front of an aerial view of the 2 inundated towns of L’Aiguillon and La Faute sur Mer, Vendée, France. In April 2016, overturning a previous 4 years jail sentence, the former mayor has been handed in appeal, a two-year suspended sentence in connection with the deaths of 29 people during Storm Xynthia in 2010. Captions: Coastal Care. Photo source: ©© Sénat

Excerpts;

Surprising to me, the French are ahead of the United States, and particularly ahead of North Carolina’s policies on preparation for the rising sea’s impact.

The problems of the French coast are much like the problems of the Carolinas…

Read Full Article; News Observer (02-24-2019)

Coastal Warning: An Unwelcome Messenger on the Risks of Rising Seas; By Orrin H. Pilkey; Yale E360 (12-06-2018)
Marine scientist Orrin Pilkey has long been cautioning about sea level rise and the folly of building and rebuilding along coastlines. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, he talks about why an eventual retreat from oceanfront property on the U.S. coast is inevitable…

Florida is drowning. Condos are still being built. Can’t humans see the writing on the wall?


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

Excerpts;

People tend to respond to immediate threats and financial consequences – and Florida’s coastal real estate may be on the cusp of delivering that harsh wake-up call…

Read Full Article; Guardian UK (02-15-2018)

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

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: 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…

Reinforce and Build: The vicious cycle driving development on Florida’s most fragile beaches; by John Platt, Hakai Magazine (12-20-2016)

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…

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…

Factbox: Sifting Through U.S. Beach Sand Numbers; Reuters (02-16-2018)

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?..

“A Never-Ending Commitment”: The High Cost of Preserving Vulnerable Beaches; ProPublica (09-27-2018)
The U.S. government pays to dump truckloads of sand onto eroding beaches, in a cycle that is said to harm ecosystems and disproportionately benefit the rich…

A look at the billions of dollars behind beach renourishment: Is it worth it? WMBF (10-15-2018)

The end of the world’s most famous beaches; By Orrin H. Pilkey and J. Andrew G. Cooper (07-2017)
All over the world there are beaches lined with condos, hotels, restaurants and the like, in high-rise buildings (i.e., skyscrapers). Such beaches are generally the nation’s premier tourist areas, important to the local people and the local economy and prime spots for national and international vacationers. The powers that be in most of these places continue high-rise construction and seem oblivious of the sea level rise…

In India, Nature’s Power Overwhelms Engineered Wetlands


Kerala flood. August 22, 2018. NASA Earth Observatory images by Lauren Dauphin, using modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2018) processed by the European Space Agency and Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey. Image and captions source: NASA Earth Observatory

Excerpts;

The picturesque Kerala backwaters in southern India, increasingly popular with tourists, form a network of engineered canals, lagoons, lakes, and rice paddies. But a fatal monsoon deluge has highlighted the global problem of how developed wetlands often lose their capacity to absorb major floods…

Read Full Article; Yale E360 (12-20-2018)

Before and After the Kerala Floods; NASA / Earth Observatory (08-25-2018)
Swollen rivers have altered the landscape in India’s state of Kerala. Residents in India’s state of Kerala are reeling from a “once-in-a-century” flood that displaced nearly a million people…

New Rules Ahead For Building Near Inlets, NC

inlet-hatteras
Hurricane Irene Opened New Inlets on Hatteras Island. Photograph courtesy of: Rob Young and Andy Coburn, Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, Western Carolina University

Excerpts;

New boundaries and rules governing development at about half of North Carolina’s inlets may be adopted next year.

Currently a little more than 2,800 acres of land is designated within inlet hazard areas, or IHA, boundaries at 10 of the 19 active inlets in the state…

Read Full Article; Coastal Review (12-10-2018)

The Benefits Of Inlets Opened During Coastal Storms (03-21-2013)
An open letter from the community of coastal scientists regarding the benefits of inlets opened during coastal storms…