Category Archives: Shoreline Armoring

Seawalls: Ecological effects of coastal armoring in soft sediment environments

seawall-sb-cc
Seawall, Butterfly Beach, Santa Barbara, California. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

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. While the resulting ecological effects have been studied more in recent years, the research largely has been conducted in specific settings, making it difficult to generalize these effects across ecosystems and structure types.

A new study by a team of UC Santa Barbara marine scientists and colleagues from three coastal sites in the National Science Foundation’s Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) network provides a key first step toward generalizing ecological responses to armoring across the wide diversity of coastal settings where these structures are used. The team’s findings appear online and will be published this fall in a special issue of the journal Estuaries and Coasts, “Impacts of Coastal Land Use and Shoreline Armoring on Estuarine Ecosystems…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (07-24-2017)

Is the coast clear? Not in many beachfront areas; NSF (07-24-2017)
Marine scientists evaluate coastal armoring and its ecological effects…

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(05-24-2015)
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…

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

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…

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…

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)
The resilience of coastal communities to storms, flooding, erosion and other threats can be strengthened when they are protected by natural infrastructure such as marshes, reefs, and beaches, or with hybrid approaches, such as a “living shoreline”…

Australia: Erosion rate rise along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road prompts effort to bolster beach sand dunes

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

Excerpts;

More than 16,000 cubic metres of sand is being moved along beaches at Apollo Bay to protect the Great Ocean Road from coastal erosion…

The sand works will add an extra three metres of dunes along a 500-metre stretch of the coast…

Read Full Article; ABC News Australia (05-21-2017)

“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…

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)

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

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

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.”Captions.
“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.”

Inventory Tracks ‘Armoring’ of Beaches, Inlets

post-sandy-fire-island
Fire island, NY. Aerial pictures of Fire island, after superstorm Sandy devastated the area. Photograph courtesy of: © Rob Young and Andy Coburn, Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines / Western Carolina University

Excerpts;

The Beach and Tidal Habitat Inventories, which was compiled by Tracy Rice, a coastal geologist who is with Terwilliger Consulting Inc. in Pennsylvania, covers the East Coast from Maine to the North Carolina-South Carolina border, and is based on Google Earth data that show changes in the beaches and inlets from Hurricane Sandy, and by man, from 2012 through 2015. It’s intended to be used by beach managers, local, state and federal agencies and others who are involved in coastal environmental and marine life issues, but it’s freely available to anyone.

“Part of what we wanted to do is look at the beaches and inlets prior to Sandy, and then to look at them after Sandy and see how much damage the storm did and what humans did to the beaches and inlets,” she said.

Examples of manmade changes include erection of sand fences, beach re-nourishment projects and other hard structures, such as groins and jetties…

Read Full Article; Coastal Review (04-17-2017)

“Beach and Tidal Habitat Inventories,” released by the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative.
This project inventoried modifications to both tidal inlet and sandy, oceanfront beach habitats along the Atlantic coast from Maine through North Carolina. Three distinct time periods were assessed: before Hurricane Sandy (early 2012), immediately after Hurricane Sandy (November 2012), and three years after Hurricane Sandy (2015) to document modifications to sandy beaches and tidal inlet habitat in response to the stormy. The inventories and series of reports were generated using Google Earth imagery.

Bills would ease rules on sandbags, pumping sand from shoals; NC



“A continuous sandbag wall on North Topsail Beach, N.C. shows the shore-hardening effect of such structures on beach loss, either by initial placement or by causing beach narrowing and loss. The photo was taken in October 2016 after Hurricane Matthew passed through the area. Note that the row of buildings is sitting on the beach and will suffer the same fate as other houses that have been lost in storms there (e.g., Hurricane Fran)”. —© William Neal, Orrin Pilkey & Norma Longo.
Photo courtesy of: Ken Blevins/Wilmington StarNews.

Excerpts;

The Senate and House are finalizing another set of enviromental regulations, including one that loosens rules on sandbag walls and another that would allow using sand from Diamond Shoals for beach nourishment without testing it first…

Read Full Article; The Outers Banks Voice (04-05-2017)

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…

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…

Let’s end war with ocean, Op-Ed by Orrin H. Pilkey


Sandbagged, trashed beach at South Nags Head, N.C. in February 1987, with some evidence of bags that have been torn or ruptured and have leaked sand. The scarp under the houses indicates that storm waves are topping the bags, and buildings were damaged or lost in the end. Captions and Photo courtesy of: © Orrin Pilkey.

Excerpts;

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…

Read Full Article; Star News Online (04-05-2017)

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…

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.

Sandbags remain hard problem to solve along N.C. coast


Sandbags and coastal flooding,North Carolina. Photo source: ©© NCDOTcommunications

Excerpts;

Make an earnest effort to remove the sandbags from your beach.

That was the message the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission (CRC) sent Wednesday in Atlantic Beach to an engineer representing The Riggings, a Kure Beach condominium complex that has emerged as the poster child for how the supposed-to-be-temporary fix has become permanent in some spots.

Under state law, sandbags are only supposed to stay on the beach for a two- to five-year window. The 48-condominium complex has been protected by sandbags since it was built in 1985 between Fort Fisher and a coquina rocks outcrop…

WATCH: PHOTOS: Recent history of sandbags along the N.C. coast

Read Full Article, Star News Online (02-08-2017)

The short-sighted politics of sea-level rise in North Carolina; By Orrin Pilkey, News Observer (09-30-2016)

New Rules to Ease Sandbag Restrictions, NC; Coastal Review Online (11-21-2015)

Sandbagged: The Undoing of a Quarter Century of North Carolina Coastal Conservation, Op Ed by Gary Lazorick (07-04-2011)
Rows of houses with overlapping sandbag walls create huge problems. The walls do as much damage to the beach as hardened seawalls. Removing the sandbags from one property potentially damages all of the others…

Seawall ‘Option’ Won’t Wash, Post & Courier, (10-23-2014)
Hard erosion control devices aren’t generally allowed on South Carolina beaches, and with good reason. Here’s why: Seawalls actually can accelerate erosion, often on adjacent property.

“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…

North Carolina Should Move With Nature on Coast, News Observer (01-05-2015)

Shifting sands: Santa Cruz, scientists, Boardwalk fighting battle against erosion

santa-cruz-coastalcare
Santa Cruz, California. Photo source: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Millions of people come to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk each year to body surf, enjoy the rides or simply soak up the California sun. But few of them notice the dramatic, relentless changes in the city’s coastline that are wreaking havoc on the beloved amusement park…

Read Full Article, The Santa Cruz Sentinel (01-21-2017)

Shifting sand differs on developed, undeveloped beaches; The Brunswick News (06-14-2016)

Shifting Sands and Rising Seas, By Celie Dailey & Orrin H. Pilkey (07-12-2011)

“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…

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…

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 a more natural approach to preventing coastal erosion; (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…

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

Our Ocean Backyard – Collected Essays; A Book by Gary Griggs

“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…

Vietnam battles erosion of beaches – and of tourism

vietnam-erosion
Cua Dai beach (Hoi An, Vietnam 2016). Photo source: ©© Paul Arps

Excerpts;

Walking along Cua Dai is like visiting a beach-restoration technology exhibition, with efforts ranging from stone seawalls to fiber-and-sand wave breakers…

Read Full Article; CSM (11-30-2016)

Coastal Erosion Reaches Alarming Levels in Vietnam; IPS (11-29-2012)

Vietnam UNESCO Heritage Threatened by Erosion as Dams Stop Sedimentation; Thanhnien News (06-12-2015)

Vietnamese beaches hit by worst toxic chemical spill have been deemed safe for swimming; Radio Free Asia (08-23-2016)

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…

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.

“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.

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