Category Archives: Shoreline Armoring

Army Corps’ proposal for sand dunes in newest plan brings questions about cost, feasibility


Coastal restoration, living shorelines. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

A $32 billion plan for a coastal barrier system to protect the Houston-Galveston region, including 14-foot-high dune fields is seen as the latest innovation designed for Texas to engineer its way out of an existential crisis: a coastline gradually vanishing and increasingly vulnerable to massive storm surges and sea level rise…

Read Full Article; The Houston Chronicle (10-16-2019)

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.

A softer approach, living shorelines as an alternative to a hardened coast; PortCity (05-12-2018)

NOAA Study Finds Marshes, Reefs, Beaches Can Enhance Coastal Resilience, NOAA (04-29-2015)

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

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

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

Judge blocks exclusive, gated community from putting tons of rocks on public beach

PSDS
Photo source: PSDS.
“Terminal groins are shore-perpendicular structures built in attempt to slow erosion. 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.” —Rob Young, Director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines (PSDS) at Western Carolina University

Excerpts;

Residents of an exclusive gated community who want to put tons of boulders on a public beach lost a court battle this week that could delay plans to protect their homes from rising seas and coastal erosion.

In a ruling Wednesday, an administrative law judge blocked Debordieu property owners from installing rock groins that they say will stabilize the eroding beach in Georgetown County.

This ruling comes as battles simmer in South Carolina over how to deal with the effects of global warming and rising sea levels…

Read Full Article; The State (08-29-2019)

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.

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…

Post Sandy Coastal Engineering Atrocity at Village of Southampton, In Pictures, By Rob Young; (03-24-2013)
An example of brute force coastal protection at its worst: on the beach, at the village of Southampton…

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…

“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…

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.

“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…

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 (07-01-2019)
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…

Living Shoreline Permitting Made Easier


Coastal restoration, living shorelines. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

The state of North Carolina is well on its way to making it easier for property owners to build living shorelines, as it approved Feb. 27, the final adoption of temporary rule 15A NCAC 7H .2700 general permit for construction of riprap sills for wetland enhancement in estuarine and public trust waters.

Marsh sills, a type of living shoreline usually built parallel to the shore and typically made of native materials such as plants or oyster shells, are built in conjunction with existing, created or restored wetlands, to stabilize estuarine shorelines, lessen erosion and improve habitats…

Read Full Article; Coastal Review (03-01-2019)

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.

A softer approach, living shorelines as an alternative to a hardened coast; PortCity (05-12-2018)

NOAA Study Finds Marshes, Reefs, Beaches Can Enhance Coastal Resilience, NOAA (04-29-2015)

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

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…

Holden Beach Says ‘No’ to Terminal Groin, NC

PSDS
Photo source: PSDS.
“Terminal groins are shore-perpendicular structures built in attempt to slow erosion. 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.” —Rob Young, Director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines (PSDS) at Western Carolina University

Excerpts;

Holden Beach commissioners are withdrawing the town’s permit application to build a terminal groin at the east end of the barrier island.

Terminal groins are wall-like structures built perpendicular to the shore at inlets to contain sand in areas of high erosion, like that of beaches at inlets…

Read Full Article; Coastal Review (04-19-2018)

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.

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…

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…

“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…

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

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.

“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…

Living Shorelines


Coastal restoration, living shorelines. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

“Living Shoreline Techniques in the Marine District of New York, ” a document produced by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, lays out an approach to the coast that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should heed.

It “emphasizes natural and nature-based solution to erosion control that will protect New Yorkers and the environment…”

Read Full Article, Huffington Green (12-20-2017)

DEC Announces Guidance for Living Shorelines; DEC New York State (11-17-2017)
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Segos announced new guidance, “Living Shoreline Techniques in the Marine District of New York State,” that emphasizes natural and nature-based solutions to erosion control that will protect New Yorkers and the environment…

“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.

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.

On N.H.’s Coast, Preparing for Future Storms with Grass, Sand and a Bit of Time, NHPR (11-09-2017)

Living shorelines a more natural approach to preventing coastal erosion, WNCT (05-18-2016)

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…

NOAA Study Finds Marshes, Reefs, Beaches Can Enhance Coastal Resilience, NOAA (04-29-2015)

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

‘Sand mattress’ technology to combat Mother Nature at Kuhio Beach

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.”

Excerpts;

Erosion in Waikiki has been a long-time concern and the City and County of Honolulu is once again looking for solutions to combat the problem…

Read Full Article, KHON News (12-17-2017)

Waikiki Beach Is Totally Man-Made And Disappearing. Can Hawaii Save It?Huffington Green (03-10-2015)

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…

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…

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…

Protecting The Netherlands’ Vulnerable Coasts With A ‘Sand Motor’; NPR (11-25-2017)

Are we loving our beaches to death? Survey says ‘yes’; Bay of Plenty Times (01-13-2017)

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…

“”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…

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.

How can we save America’s vanishing beaches? California shows the way, according to Surfrider report


Refugio Beach, severe coastal erosion, February 2016. Refugio State Beach is one of the true gems of the Gaviota Coast, 20 miles west of Santa Barbara, California. Photo: © SAF – Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Shorelines are shrinking. Storms are flooding streets and battering homes. Coastlines around the country are being hit by climate change. And, perhaps surprisingly, California is offering an example of how the coast can be saved…

The response to sea level rise in California also has been “good,”according to the report, as California State law now requires cities and counties to include climate issues when formulating long-term general plans…

The grades issued by the Surfrider Foundation reflected numerical scores for each state, from 1 (bad) to 3 (good), based on the presence and strength of specific policies related to beach preservation. Category scores were added up and translated into overall letter grades, A to F…

Read Full Article, OC Register (11-09-2017)

Californians Fight Over Whether Coast Should Be Rugged or Refined, The New York Times (02-09-2016)

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…

Sea-Level Rise Poses Hard Choice for Two Neighborhoods: Rebuild or Retreat? Take Part (04-25-2015)

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 (May 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…

The only answer to rising seas is to retreat; By Orrin H. Pilkey & Keith C. Pilkey; The News & Observer (10-18-2017)

” 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

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…


Heavily polluted beach, Long Beach, Southern California. This is sadly too common of a sight, on too many Southern California beaches. There is still a long way to go for the general health of our beaches and coastal environment… Captions and Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


Severe coastal erosion, Isla Vista, Santa Barbara County. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Study: NC gets ‘D’ for climate change policies


North Carolina. Photograph courtesy of: © William Neal, Orrin Pilkey & Norma Longo.

Excerpts;

Days after a federal report issued a harsh warning about climate change, an environmental group said North Carolina’s policies leave the state among the most ill-prepared on the East Coast to deal with the effects of rising seas…

Read Full Article, Star News Online (11-07-2017)

Sandbagging at the Shore: North Carolina’s Coastal Sand Bags and Political Sandbaggers; By William Neal, Orrin Pilkey & Norma Longo; (04-2017)
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…

In NC, dangerous delays and delusions on sea-level rise; Op Ed by Orrin H. Pilkey & Keith C. Pilkey; The News & Observer (07-09-2016)

The State That ‘Outlawed Climate Change’ Accepts Latest Sea-Level Rise Report; WUNC (05-05-2015)

North Carolina Sea Level: No more head-in-the-sand? Yale Climate Connections (04-09-2016)

That ‘More Realistic’ Sea-Level Report? Not Good News for NC, By Robert S. Young, Ph.D.; News Observer (05-06-2015)

Nature Confronts Politics in North Carolina; (05-26-2015)
As local politicians underestimate rising sea levels, coastal communities are coming up with their own plans…

Denying Sea-Level Rise: How 100 Centimeters Divided The State of North Carolina, By Alexander Glass and Orrin Pilkey (04-23-2013)

Watching The Rising Tides Along North Carolina’s Coast, (11-15-2013)
Professor Robert Young, director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines and a professor of coastal geology at Western Carolina University, with North Carolina Public Radio host Frank Stasio, discussing the consequences of climate change and how rising sea levels have a strong effect on the beaches of North Carolina…

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

Pilkey: The Paris agreement, climate change, NC coast and rising seas; News Observer (06-03-2017)
Now that we as a nation have divorced ourselves from the Paris Agreement on reduction of carbon emissions and global climate change, it’s time for us to do some self-examination. We assume that our abstention will ultimately add to the carbon-emissions problem, perhaps discourage other countries and have some impact on sea-level rise…

Florida without its beaches: Seawall dooms state oceanfronts, By Robert Young


Seawall and beach erosion. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection issued an emergency authorization last week that will allow individual property owners in a portion of St. Johns County to build new seawalls without the typical engineering and scientific analysis.

This is a terrible mistake for the communities impacted. It is poor coastal management. And it will set a terrible precedent for future storm impacts in other areas of the state…

Read Full Article; Orlando Sentinel (09-25-2017)

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

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…