What is Coastal Erosion?
Coastal erosion occurs when the waves that lap at the coast slowly wear away at the shoreline. As these waves wash over the shore, they carry sand and sediment with them and redistribute it to the ocean floor or to other areas. Erosion can be worsened by factors such as high winds, wave currents, and tidal currents. Because all of these conditions are common in Florida, beach erosion is a common occurrence in the state. That is why finding ways to stop coastal erosion is even more important to residents of Florida than those of other states.
Why Do We Need to Prevent Beach Erosion?
If you live in Florida, you have likely seen the damage that can result from beach erosion. The process of erosion slowly eats away at the coastline. This is a danger for anyone who has a home or business near the coast since it can eventually lead to the ground under your home being eroded away. In addition, erosion can cause water to collect around your foundation. When this happens, the water can weaken your concrete foundation, or it can seep through the porous surface of your foundation and cause moisture issues in your home or business. All of these problems related to erosion can require expensive repairs.
That is why it is vital for Florida residents to know about ways to prevent beach erosion. Preventing beach erosion near your home or business could help ensure that your foundation does not suffer failure and that you do not have to deal with water seepage.
Ways to Prevent Beach Erosion
There are several different methods that have been used in various places to prevent beach erosion. Some of these methods have worked fairly well, but there are always different drawbacks and advantages to each. Some of the most common methods to prevent coastal erosion are as follows:
- Groins: These are long, wall-like structures that are built on beaches and extend into the ocean perpendicular to the shoreline. The idea behind groins is that they act as a barrier to longshore currents. This allows them to control and modify the movement of sand. As the longshore current hits the groin, it loses velocity and dumps sand and sediment on the upcurrent side of the wall. While this catches sand on the upcurrent side of the wall, it leads to more erosion on the downcurrent side of the wall, where the waves once again pick up sand and sediment.
- Jetties: This solution involves constructing a line (2 or more depending on the number of channels) of long structures perpendicular to the coast that reach into the ocean. These are usually made from stone, concrete, steel, or timber, and are designed to keep sand from entering a ship channel. As sand builds up on against the upcurrent side of the jetties, it can be redistributed along the beach to further reduce erosion. However, much like groins, erosion still occurs on the downcurrent side of the jetties.
- Breakwaters: These are barriers that are constructed offshore parallel to or at an angle to the shoreline. Breakwaters act as a wave barrier, allowing the beach to grow while preventing harmful erosion. As waves hit the breakwater, they deposit their load of sediment along it. However, any part of the coast not protected by the breakwater continues to experience erosion.
- Beach Nourishment: This is a soft solution (one that does not require a hard structure) that involves depositing sand on the beach in order to artificially widen it. Although this solution can be effective, it is costly and temporary.
- Vegetation: Strategic planting of vegetation can be used to help control erosion. the roots of coastal plants help to anchor the sand and ensure that it is not carried off in erosion. This is why many areas plant seagrass and build marshes along coasts to prevent erosion. However, this solution means that the beach may not be as functional as it once was, particularly if it is a tourist area.
- Seawalls: Seawalls are one particularly effective way to prevent erosion. These are structures that are built along the coastline to stop waves from ever coming into contact with the sand/shore on the opposite side. While seawalls tend to be quite effective at preventing erosion, they are only able to protect the coast that they are installed along.
These are some of the methods that are commonly used to prevent beach erosion. If you are looking for ways to prevent beaches from eroding near your home or business, one simple method is to have a seawall installed or to invest in seawall repairs for existing seawalls. Learn more about seawalls in Florida from the experts at Seawall Professionals of Florida. We offer free quotes for seawall erosion repair – contact us now to talk to our team.