Building Beaches: Beach Nourishment in the United States

16 Responses

  1. Lea says:

    Hi Edgeeffects,
    Thank you for postign your article, I found it interesting.
    Keep posting !

  2. Lucas Weaver says:

    Great article! I was only interested in finding out if beach nourishment was a thing. To read all of this was fascinating!

  3. Marilyn Gabriel says:

    We are being asked whether to support beach re-nourishment in Sarasota County to help support another county, Charlotte County (12/2016). We live in Englewood on Manasota Key. There is bird preserve and turtles. I am very concerned and don’t support beach re-nourishment. Can you share your thoughts for 2016-2017?

    • Thanks for reading and responding.

      Unfortunately, I don’t deal with bird nesting in that particular piece and that’s another huge area that I should probably write about. A quick review of the literature suggests that the relationship between beach nourishment and bird nesting and migration is a difficult one to suss out because of the interaction of timing, type of nourishment, and species.

      But it doesn’t look like there’s a really good understanding of the impact of these processes on birds more generally.

      My thoughts are only that, with the continued (and probably more rapid than we thought) rise of coastal waters, coastal engineering is going to become more, not less, common. And especially in Florida, where tourism linked to the beach is a major source of revenue, the contrasting concerns of beach leisure and beach habitat for wildlife are going to be in constant conflict. And judging by the continued focus in that (my) State on a. ignoring climate issues and b. ignoring environmental concerns, I imagine that beach nourishment is going to win every single time. If you are concerned, the most important thing is probably to question the methods of nourishment- where are they getting the sand, are they nourishing at the right time of year to not conflict with migration or nesting, have they taken these timing concerns into account for best practice, what research do they have on impacts to local wildlife and what researchers are they talking to and working with to monitor these impacts (there’s a really great marine lab-the mote marine laboratory- in Sarasota so scientists are all around)? Those questions can help protect wildlife and go a long way in making people think about best practices.

  4. Charlie Blalock says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on beach nourishment. I am in a coastal community in North Carolina and we are struggling with the cost of maintaining our beach. The beach is our economic engine, without it we stand to lose just about everything that keeps us a viable community.

    • Samantha Kay Muka says:

      North Carolina is at the forefront of this discussion. There’s been a lot of conversation about beach building there, especially because it has always involved accepting funding from federal sources and many groups see this as a major problem. The studies that show the decrease in land and housing prices from beach erosion are largely coming out of that debate in North Carolina in the last few years. Robert S. Young is at Western Carolina University and wrote a great piece in the NYTimes about this topic as well (called the Beach Boondoggle).

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