Costs of Shoring Up Coastal Communities–NY Times

A contentious bit of the Shoreline Master Programs is the continuing calls written into them,  for the end of shoreline armoring. There are many reasons to be in favor of ‘soft armoring’. One is, it really doesn’t work. Here’s another good reason. A lesson written large for us to learn.

For more than a century, for good or ill, New Jersey has led the nation in coastal development. Many of the barrier islands along its coast have long been lined by rock jetties, concrete sea walls or other protective armor. Most of its coastal communities have beaches only because engineers periodically replenish them with sand pumped from offshore. Now much of that sand is gone. Though reports are still preliminary, coastal researchers say that when Hurricane Sandy came ashore, it washed enormous quantities of sand off beaches and into the streets — or even all the way across barrier islands into the bays behind them. But even as these towns clamor for sand, scientists are warning that rising seas will make maintaining artificial beaches prohibitively expensive or simply impossible. Even some advocates of artificial beach nourishment now urge new approaches to the issue, especially in New Jersey.

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