Hurricane Idalia shows nature may provide the best shoreline protection – NPR

"Living Shoreline" large dome artificial reefs are ready to be positioned off the coast of Florida (by Amanda Nalley, courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife via Flickr).

When Hurricane Idalia slammed into Florida’s Gulf Coast in August (2023), one of the hardest hit areas was Cedar Key. A nearly 7-foot storm surge battered the small fishing community…(NOAA) says Idalia caused an estimated $3.6 billion in damage…But on Cedar Key, when the water receded, scientists found some good news amid all the damage. Nature-based “living shoreline” projects built to protect roads, buildings and other structures were relatively undamaged…

A disappearing island: ‘The water is destroying us, one house at a time’ – NPR

Beach near Freetown, Sierra Leone (by jbdodane CC BY-NC 2.0 DEED via Flickr).

With nearly a third of its population living in coastal areas, and its heavy reliance on subsistence agriculture and fishing, Sierra Leone has been identified as one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change, despite having contributed just a tiny fraction of global CO2 emissions. With a GDP per capita of barely $2,000, it is also one of the least prepared to deal with those impacts….

Seaweed is mucking up beaches. This robot could stop it — and fight climate change – NPR

Sargassum sacs (by John Turnbull CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 DEED via Flickr).

In shallow waters, sargassum can smother coral reefs and alter the water’s pH balance, killing off local seagrasses and mangroves. It can choke boat motors, constricting local fishing yields if not cutting off whole marinas. Sargassum once clogged a desalination plant so badly that residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands were told the drinking water may not be safe…

At risk from rising seas, Norfolk, Virginia, plans massive, controversial floodwall – NPR

Ground level rendering of proposed pump station and expanded flood wall along the Elizabeth River (courtesy of US Army Corps of Engineers | City of Norfolk, via

The city (of Norfolk) is now moving forward with a massive floodwall project to protect itself, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The project will include tide gates, levees, pump stations and nature-based features like oyster reefs and vegetation along the shoreline. It’s one of the biggest infrastructure efforts in city history – and an example of projects the Corps has proposed up and down the U.S. coastline, from New York to Texas….

One way to save coral reefs? Deep freeze them for the future – NPR

Corals of Fagatele Bay in National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa. (by: Greg McFall courtesy of NOAA Office of Marine Sanctuaries CC BY 2.0 via Flickr).

Ocean temperatures have been extremely hot this summer, wreaking havoc on some of the world’s highly vulnerable coral reefs. With marine heat waves only expected to get worse as the climate changes, scientists are increasingly focusing on an emergency plan: collecting coral specimens and safeguarding them onshore….