Beach erosion is a major issue in beach communities. Beach erosion is the gradual loss of beach due to natural forces, human activity, or both. There are many ways to combat beach erosion including beach nourishment, citizen education, and planting vegetation along the shoreline.
We’ll also discuss why this all matters for you – beach visitors- because if we don’t take care of our beaches now, they won’t be around for future generations of swimmers, surfers, sunbathers, and more!
Beach erosion is a natural process of beach destruction by wind and wave action. However, beach erosion can also be caused by rivers carrying silt to the ocean, general climate change (mostly due to global warming), human activity near the beach such as building structures, having large vehicles near the shoreline, or even pumping sand from one beach to another beach.
The following is a list of methods that can be used to prevent beach erosion.
Beach nourishment is an effective way for combating beach erosion through adding new sediment, mostly sand but smaller gravels mixed in too, to beaches where they would naturally accumulate if it weren’t for erosion. The best time for placing beach nourishment is right after storms that have already eroded much of the surrounding area so that beach nourishment can fill in the newly eroded beach areas.
Beach erosion is important to beach visitors because it costs communities lots of money while also destroying homes and coastal businesses.
Planting native plants along the beach can prevent sand from eroding. Known as “planting sand dunes”, this is a good way to cut down on the sand erosion rate and help out beach communities. Simply planting vegetation like grasses and shrubs can increase sand levels because their roots trap sand in place while also holding water in the sand, which encourages sand accretion. Sand accretion refers to sand spreading and building upon sand dunes, which contributes majorly to sand accumulation.
Educating the public about sand erosion and other ways to combat beach erosion can be a huge help to communities as well as the ecosystem as a whole. People who visit beaches should be aware of how they can help by picking up their trash, not standing or placing heavy objects on the sand dunes because that prevents vegetation growth, and avoiding digging holes in the sand.
Breakwaters are sturdy walls built along the beach that break waves to prevent water from reaching or hitting the shore. Breakwater rocks are usually placed at least 50 meters apart so they aren’t damaged by wave action either. They create pools of calm water between them, which attracts marine life and even helps absorb some of the energy created by storm surges. Breakwaters can be made out of anything sturdy to create sturdy walls, but the most common material for this purpose is rock.
Seawalls are sturdy structures built oceanfront to reduce the impact of crashing waves. A true ‘wall’ of rocks and boulders, seawalls can vary in width and height depending on how sturdy they need to be and how much resistance is needed against waves and currents. They may not always look like a traditional stone wall, however; instead, some seawalls are a sturdy net or some other sturdy material that is woven into a fence-like structure.
In addition to helping prevent erosion, seawalls also help protect homes and businesses from crashing waves. And true to their name, they can ‘beach’ the force of ocean currents as well as large waves, making the waters near them calm for boats and sea life.
There are many different types of seawalls, but most are sturdy enough to last for decades without maintenance or repair. Depending on the type used, however, seawalls may need special care in order to last; loose rocks, for instance, can wash away in a storm.
Goins are mesh tubes that act as temporary piles within the sand. They are generally placed in a grid to prevent erosion from occurring. In order for them to work, they must be placed downwind from the area that is being protected. When placed properly, goins can prevent beach erosion by maintaining sand levels and protecting lower areas of ground from high energy waves.
Erosion Control Mats
Erosion control mats are a popular option for both cities and private homeowners. If you have recently been to the beach, then you might have seen some mats along stretches of coastline. These mats are sometimes called geotextile erosion control mats and they use large fabrics as barriers against the wind and waves created by storms or seasonal weather. By creating a barrier, these mats protect the beach from erosion and prevent the need for costly repairs to seawalls or bulkheads.
Erosion control mats are often made from thick non-woven polypropylene fibers that are durable enough to withstand wind and wave conditions. Some of these products can hold up against extreme temperatures and can last anywhere from five to ten years. Because of this, erosion control mats are often the preferred choice for anyone who needs protection for their coastline – whether they are on a public beach or want to protect their private home.
While these products are typically used along coasts, they can also be beneficial for simple landscaping projects where you want to protect the shoreline from erosion. These mats are not as good for swimming beaches, but they can provide you with protection against coastal storms or tsunamis.
People who purchase erosion control mats should be aware that these products must be weighted down and secured properly in order to offer the best protection possible. An unsecured mat could be blown by the wind or washed away in a storm, so it is important to have the products well-anchored before you install them.
A jetty is a long, thin structure that protects a beach from the winds and tides. Jetties are generally constructed of wood, earth, stone, or concrete. They extend into the water from the coast. The current flows along the surface of the jetties, slowing down to pass over them. This causes sediment (sand) close to the shoreline to settle and accumulate on the landward side of the jetty. As a result, new sand is built up around it and it gradually becomes an island. The other effect is that waves usually break on the outside of jetties, but not in the protected area. As a result, beaches face less erosion than they would without jetties.
Get the help of a specialist
If you are concerned about the condition of your coastline, then an erosion control specialist can help you come up with the right solution to prevent erosion.
An expert can examine your property and determine which type of solution would offer you the best protection against coastal storms or constant erosion. For new home construction, they may also suggest designs that are effective for your home or beachside properties, so you can implement an effective erosion control strategy even if you have limited space.