The Environmental Cost of Erosion

There are thousands of articles, anecdotes, and scientific studies showing how severe erosion is affecting our precious shorelines. [Image below shows scarping, a common symptom of worsening erosion.]

Image shows scarping, a common symptom of worsening beach erosion.

If you have been fortunate enough to grow up near the beach, you’ve probably noticed how different the beaches look today. You may have noticed how there is less wildlife or plant life, or how the dunes seem smaller or are “protected” by snow fencing. You may remember having a “long walk on hot sand” to get to the water from the boardwalk. And now, the boardwalk was pulled up or completely washed away.

You are not imagining it. Chances are good that you live in an area where erosion is eating away at the beaches and dunes. It’s an epidemic affecting coastlines worldwide. While it is sad to see for the people who love their beaches, it is absolutely devastating to the plants and animals that rely on healthy shorelines for survival.

endangered sea turtles preparing to nest on sandy beach
endemic beach rose and dune plants help hold critical sand dunes in place

Beaches and dunes are a critical ecosystem, rich in biodiversity. Healthy beaches that are growing, known as being in a state of “net accretion”, provide a continuous supply of sand to build and maintain healthy dunes.

Here are a few reasons as to why healthy beaches are important:
(And, what many of us already lost to severe beach erosion)

  • Stable beaches and dunes are a natural storm-buffer zone, protecting the land, homes and infrastructure.
  • Dune grasses trap more and more windblown sand, helping to continuously grow the dunes. Plant life only thrives in stable environments.
  • Beaches and dunes are critical nesting areas for turtles, horseshoe crabs, Grunion (Leuresthes Tenuis), countless crustaceans and migratory birds. Beaches and wetlands are crucial to their survival.
  • Wide beaches, dunes and wetlands are critical in slowing our fresh-water runoff.
  • Shore plants absorb CO2 and nitrogen before it reaches the ocean. Chemicals, such as lawn fertilizers that run into storm sewers after a big rain, travel to the shoreline and pollute the nearshore causing algal blooms and contributing to hypoxia (low oxygen levels in the water that kill the animals that live there). Some types of algal blooms (like “red tide”) are downright dangerous and toxic to humans.
  • And probably the most important reason: Wide beaches and healthy coastlines provide a natural barrier that protects our inland freshwater table (drinking and irrigation water for our food) by preventing salination, contamination, and depletion.

EnviroShore Systems has environmentally friendly technology that reverses beach erosion and builds beaches using nature’s wave energy – no dredging, no seawalls, and no rock groins.