Shoreline Erosion | Coastal Armoring + Engineering

March 17, 2023

Broad Beach, Malibu, California "Rip Rap Under Attack" (by LA Waterkeeper CC BY 2.0 via Flickr).

Beach Houses Around the Country Are at Risk of Sinking, and Coastal Enclaves Are at War About How to Save Them – Robb Report

For some homebuyers, the fantasy of coastal living will forever outweigh the risks. But rising sea levels and shifting sands can mean getting closer to the ocean than you might have intended.

It was after a beachside housewarming party in Southern California that the neighborhood snitch was unmasked. Residents of the cliff-top community had gathered to eat lobster and indulge in a favorite local pastime: grumbling about coastal-protection rules that stop them from reinforcing the eroding bluffs beneath their homes under the theory that any hardening of the shore will exacerbate beach erosion. 

“A new neighbor had moved in and done this beautiful remodeling job on a house that was in a huge state of disrepair,” recalls one guest and longtime resident. “And he had this incredible party [with] music playing, and everyone had the most wonderful afternoon. Later we found out that one neighbor turned him in to the city because he found out he’d built a home office,” which the tattletale suspected contravened the area’s strict environmental regulations. 

The party guests were appalled when they saw the neighbor’s name on the official complaint. “We said, ‘OK, this Mr. Nosy Pants is in there, you know, having his lobster tail and his shrimp cocktail and meanwhile taking notes furiously,’ ” says the resident, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Soon after, others in the community realized the same person was also ratting on them to the authorities for unpermitted home repairs. 

“He ended up in litigation with several neighbors,” says the resident, who hired an attorney herself after receiving an inspection notice from the city during what she describes as a simple bathroom-retiling project. In a yet-to-be-resolved case, she’s suing the neighbor for harassment, trespassing and false claims. “This is how coastal homeowners live…” 


More on Shoreline Erosion | Coastal Armoring + Engineering . . .

Collaroy Beach (by Mark D CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr).

Beach erosion: Satellites reveal how climate cycles impact coastlines – UNSW Sydney

New research shows coastlines across the Pacific Ocean may respond differently to El Niño and La Niña cycles.

Researchers from UNSW Sydney have analyzed millions of satellite photos to observe changes in beaches across the Pacific Ocean. The findings, published in Nature Geoscience today (Feb. 10), reveal for the first time how coastlines respond to different phases of the El-Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle…

Miami Beach - South Pointe Park - Atlantic Ocean Beach (by Jared CC BY 2.0 via Flickr).

Coastal residents fear ‘hideous’ seawalls will block waterfront views – the Guardian

There were more than a few issues with a recent federal plan to wall Miami off from the dangers of climate change.

The $5bn proposal involved building a massive concrete seawall in the fragile marine ecosystem of Biscayne Bay. It included using taxpayer money to elevate private waterfront mansions, while constructing a wall through the middle of downtown and sometimes low-income neighborhoods…

Views of the Santa Cruz, California coast before (Sept. 13, 2022) and after (Jan. 5, 2023) the powerful storms of early January 2023. (by USGS, public domain)

USGS Remote Sensing Data Tracks Coastal Erosion from California Storms – USGS

The USGS has collected and released topographic data that show the erosional effects of the January 2023 storms on the coast for the Santa Cruz region of California…Comparing the data with pre-storm conditions mapped in September 2022 provide “before” and “after” perspectives of the effects of the January storms. These data have been released under USGS Emergency Use Data authorities for data that have immediate or time-sensitive relevance to public health and safety…

An aerial view of the damage Hurricane Ike inflicted upon Gilchrist, Texas (by Jocelyn Augusitno/FEMA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons).

Shelter from the Storm – Science

A plan to wall off Houston and nearby industry from flooding caused by hurricanes will cost tens of billions of dollars. Will it be enough?

Plans for one of the world’s biggest and most expensive flood barriers were born in a second-floor apartment here in this city on the Gulf of Mexico, as water 4 meters deep filled the street below. In September 2008, Bill Merrell, an oceanographer at Texas A&M University, Galveston, was trapped with his wife, daughter, grandson, and “two annoying chihuahuas…”

Aftermath of Hurricane Ian, September 28, 2022 (by Florida Fish and Wildlife CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 via Flickr)

To Save America’s Coasts, Don’t Always Rebuild Them – New York Times

Federal and state taxpayers have spent billions of dollars over the past four decades pumping up beaches in front of coastal properties in what are known as beach nourishment projects. In Florida alone, almost $3 billion in public funds has been spent just to keep beaches in front of investment homes and oceanfront infrastructure…

Coastal Erosion along Old Bar Beach, Australia (photo © SAF)

A 7m wall has gone up on a Sydney beach: are we destroying public space to save private property? – The Guardian

“We really didn’t want to build a wall,” says Bob Orth.

But Orth is one of 10 residents of Collaroy, on Sydney’s northern beaches, who have each paid $300,000 to do just that.

And not just any wall. Construction began in December on a seven-metre-high sheer concrete structure below the residents’ properties, which overlook a beach that has become notorious for dramatic erosion every time there is a big storm.

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