Category Archives: Poor Coastal Development

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…

Managing the ‘mega-houses’

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Aerial pictures of North Carolina’ s coast, after superstorm Sandy devastated the area. Highway 12. Photo courtesy of: © A PSDS / WCU Photo Gallery.

Excerpts;

As Dare County municipalities try to address concerns about the proliferation of “mega-houses” and their impact on the character and environment of beach communities, the town councils in both Southern Shores and Duck met last week to explore new approaches to the issue…

Read Full Article; ObSentinel (11-13-2018)

Is Your Home At Risk Of Flooding From Rising Seas By 2050? Check This Map; BuzzFeed News (11-13-2018)

Coastal property was once king. Fears of climate change are undermining its value; The WSJ (10-31-2018)
In a growing number of coastal communities, homes near the sea are appreciating more slowly than those inland. That’s bad news for people on the beach, good news for those farther away…

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…

Coastal homes could see flood insurance premium going up again, and that’s only the beginning; Miami Herald (07-24-2018)

Climate gentrification: the rich can afford to move – what about the poor? Guardian UK (09-25-2018)

Sea level rise is already eroding home values, unbeknownst to their owners; NOLA (08-21-2018)

Rising seas threaten nearly $1 trillion worth of US homes, and most of them are moderately priced; CNBC (10-18-2017)

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…

How rising seas and coastal storms drowned the U.S. flood insurance program, Yale E360 (04-19-2017)
Sea level rise and more severe storms are overwhelming U.S. coastal communities, causing billions of dollars in damage and essentially bankrupting the federal flood insurance program. Yet rebuilding continues, despite warnings that far more properties will soon be underwater…

The next five years will shape sea level rise for the next 300, study says; The Washington Post (02-20-2018)
Peaking global carbon dioxide emissions as soon as possible is crucial for limiting the risks of sea-level rise, even if global warming is limited to well below 2 degrees C. A new study analyzes for the first time the sea-level legacy until 2300 within the constraints of the Paris Agreement…

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…

Sea-level rise and the precious commodity of sand

elwha-dam-2011
Elwha River Dam, the largest dam removal project ever attempted in the U.S, 2011. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

The sand used to construct towns and cities leads to development that then impedes sand’s natural flow from watersheds, diminishing one of its best sources of replenishment…

Read Full Article; The Coast News (05-17-2018)

Dams – Cutting off our Beach Sand; By Gary Griggs (12-19-2014)

DamNation; a Documentary That’s Testing the Waters of Corporate Social Responsibility; Produced by Stoecker Ecological and Felt Soul Media” and presented by Patagonia.
DamNation is a feature documentary, shown this week at SXSW in Austin, Tx. DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature…

Let’s Talk About Sand: “Sand Wars” Film Director Denis Delestrac, At TEDxBarcelona

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, Rarer Than One Thinks.”
“Sand Wars” film documentary by Denis Delestrac – first broadcasted on the european Arte Channel, May 28th, 2013 in its french version: “Le Sable: enquête sur une disparition”, where it became the highest rated documentary for 2013 – expressly inspired the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to publish this 2014-Global Environmental Alert.

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Mutlti-Awards Winner Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (©-2013)
“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…”

Despite Rising Seas and Bigger Storms, Florida’s Land Rush Endures


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

Excerpts;

Florida was built on the seductive delusion that a swamp is a fine place for paradise.

Only, now there is a twist: Florida is no longer the swampy backwater it once was. It is the nation’s third most populous state, with 21 million people, jutting out precariously into the heart of hurricane alley, amid rising seas, at a time when warming waters have the potential to bring ever stronger storms…

Read Full Article; The New York Time (09-18-2017)

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

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?..

Miami’s fight against rising seas, BBC (04-04-2017)
In the battle against rising seas, Florida – which has more to lose than almost anywhere else in the world – is becoming ground zero…

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…

A swath of Miami Beach was washing away. The fix? Dump 285,000 tons of sand on it; Miami Herald (03-28-2017)

Shrinking Shores: Florida reneges on pledges to its beaches; The Naples Daily News (11-17-2016)
The shores shrink, the tourists scatter, the tax base shrivels. That’s what troubles many communities across the state forced to shoulder the expensive burden of beach renourishment…

Sand’s end, The Verge (11-17-2016)
Miami Beach has run out of sand. Now what?..

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

When rising seas transform risk into certainty; The New York Times (04-18-2017)

Sea levels rose faster in 20th century than in previous 2,700 years, says study; CNN (02-23-2016)
Scientists have modeled a history of the planet’s sea levels spanning back 3,000 years, and concluded that the rate of increase last century “was extremely likely faster than during any of the 27 previous centuries.”

“Retreat from a Rising Sea: Hard Choices in an Age of Climate Change,” A book by Orrin H. Pilkey, Linda Pilkey-Jarvis, and Keith C. Pilkey
“Retreat from a Rising Sea: Hard Choices in an Age of Climate Change” is a big-picture, policy-oriented book that explains in gripping terms, what rising oceans will do to coastal cities and the drastic actions we must take now to remove vulnerable populations.