What is Coastal Erosion and What We Can Do to Help
Nothing is more pleasant than a walk on the beach under a pink and orange sunset. Beaches embody relaxation and beauty, presenting joy to people across the world. The coastline attracts millions of people, and for good reasons. However, between waves, weather, and, unfortunately, water pollution, the beaches and coastlines are degrading with time. While this might seem like a natural occurrence, the prognosis has become increasingly devastating. U.S. Aqua Services is a dredging company that also plays a role in the outcome of coastal erosion. Today, we thought it would be beneficial to go over coastal erosion, why it’s important, and what we can do to help.
What is Beach/Coastal Erosion
Imagine a beach. When the waves crash, they deposit sand and sediment onto the beach. When they retract, they take with them sand from the shore. This is a natural process and doesn’t damage the shore. However, when something like a tropical storm or hurricane comes through, the waves become significantly more powerful and disrupt the even distribution of sand and sediment. One of the most common effects of these powerful waves is an eroded beach and dispersed sandbars. As the coastline erodes, problems begin to arise.
Why is Coastal Erosion Problematic?
There are several reasons why coastal erosion is problematic. First, as the coast erodes, the waves come closer and closer to the land and infrastructure surrounding the ocean. This puts coastal towns and cities at risk of damage. In the event that a storm sweeps through that area, the town is going to be much more vulnerable as the waterline is dangerously close to all of the roads, buildings, and homes.
Coastal erosion can also have a negative effect on the habitats of protected wildlife and plants. The dunes surrounding many shorelines are home to fragile habitats that are at an especial risk if coastal erosion continues to creep towards land. As the waves devastate the dunes, beaches, and other landscapes close to the coastline, the plants and animals are at risk of displacement, which can eventually lead to endangerment and extinction if left unchecked.
What we’ve also been noticing is the effects of ocean acidifications. The beaches are home to microbiomes which are especially sensitive to changes in pH. Microbiomes, while seemingly invisible, are essential to life, decomposition, and other natural processes. As acidic ocean waves crash into dunes and other habitats, these biomes are at risk of dying.
While we can go on and on about the negative implications that follow coastal erosion, we think it would be more beneficial to use this space for discussing what we can do to help!
Can It Be Helped?
Coastal erosion isn’t a death sentence for the beaches and dunes around the world. Every person counts towards making a difference and helping, and our dredging company urges everyone to become more knowledgeable about this unfortunate phenomenon and how to become engaged in action.
It’s speculated that with rising ocean and atmospheric temperatures induced by global climate change, the intensity and frequency of storms will also rise. Because the waves brought on by intense storms is one of the main instigators of coastal erosion, we can do our part to try to erase that part of the question. Do your part to save energy, recycle, and choose products that don’t leave a heavy carbon footprint when produced. Even the most simple things can help.
U.S. Aqua Services has also been doing our part to assist in preventing coastal erosion — it’s our job, in fact! When our dredging company works at a marina, we’ll often use the sediment and sand that we pick up and transport it to coasts and beaches that have been damaged. When doing this, we’ll always make sure that the sediment that we transport isn’t going to damage the beaches and wildlife surrounding the areas where we deposit the sediment.
Coastal erosion is especially problematic and relevant. Our dredging company is working hard to do our part in preventing the damaging effects caused by coastal erosion, but we can only do so much! We recommend you keep up to date on this phenomenon and see how you can do your part. Thanks for reading and please check back regularly for updates!