The Cost of Beach Erosion and Beach Replenishment Essay

4861 Words 20 Pages
Sand Dollars

Abstract
The beach is a main catalyst in attracting individuals to cities and towns along the United States’ shoreline. It is a very valuable natural resource that is diminishing gradually. I provide background information regarding the process of both beach erosion and beach replenishment. Then I analyze two cities that underwent beach nourishment, Miami Beach and Bradley Beach, by comparing the financial aspects of the projects for these Florida and New Jersey beaches. This includes amount of sand needed, area covered, cost of project, and methods of finance. Since Miami Beach completed the nourishment project in the 1980s, there is data regarding the benefits already realized from the project. Payback from Miami Beach
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These factors are increasing the rise in the sea level, the main cause of beach erosion. However, it is not the only source of beach depletion. Other causes of deterioration include the natural makeup of beaches, with less solidifying materials washing away more easily,weather patterns, and storms. As a result of all the factors, the shoreline is gradually shrinking. In the 1920s and 1930s, the United States Army Corps of Engineers began to develop plans to arrest the beach erosion process. They created bulkheads and seawalls that ran parallel to the shore. These constructions were made of steel, concrete, and sometimes stone. Another method involved perpendicular structures called sea groins, or jetties. Jetties extended into the ocean and were also built of stone. Onshore prevention techniques included the building of sand dunes. These erosion controls were, and still are, known as “hard” methods, meaning that physical and unnatural structures are added to the natural makeup of the beach. They attempt to reduce wave attack and flood hazards while enhancing the coastline by stabilizing the beach. However, the hard methods may be undesirable because they can cause downdrift erosion. Endeavors to saveone area of the shoreline by using a hard structure can erode another strip of the beach. The shoreline will eventually wear away up to the construction. Hard methods of beach protection do not add “sand to the beach system to

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