Crabs and other small animals are also being killed as a result of beach erosion. Ultimately then, beach erosion destroys the health of the natural environment from numerous perspectives and it also generates problems for humanity.
3. Beach Erosion on the Eastern Seacoast
The seacoast is in great jeopardy of losing most of its beaches in the near future if proper and immediate action is not taken. The causes and effects of the beach erosion on the eastern seacoast are similar to those presented so far and revolve around both human made as well as natural forces. The effects will also have severe impacts upon land and maritime life, but also for humanity.
The eastern seacoast is different from other regions due to its hosting of various piers. Important icons of our history or simple facilities that increase the utility of our leisure time, the piers have sadly also had a negative impact on the well-being of the beaches in the region. Built with the aim of protecting the eastern frontage, they ended up in causing immense erosion on this side of the coast. "The effect of the [piers] has been to lessen the wave-stroke at the western end of the Dover frontage, and to protect it more to the eastward, and this, in combination with the stoppage of the supply of beach, cause considerable erosion on the eastern frontage" (Wheeler, p.211).
In the early 1990s, there has been observed an effect of beach shrinkage at an average annual rate of 1/2-1 inch per year, only due to the direct consequences of the piers. Concrete measurements have been scarce since then, but keeping in mind that the past century has seen tremendous increase in pollution and garbage dumping onto the beaches, it is only natural to assume that the beach erosion rate in the eastern seacoast is significantly higher than it was 100 years ago.
Then, another factor was the actual involvement of men in addressing the problem of beach erosion on the eastern seacoast -- this interest has been reduced simply because the region is rather rocky (the rocks reach heights up to 87 feet), with little sand and little interest in preserving beaches that could be used for swimming and sunbathing. Given this environment then, humanity exploited it in another manner -- they built residential facilities. These unfortunately sustained the process of beach erosion. The population was still unable to get the message of nature when some of these beach houses were destroyed. They simply built new ones along the eastern coast, to even further accelerate the process of beach erosion.
4. What Can Be Done?
Scott Douglass wrote a short and concise recipe for saving the American beaches from erosion. It sees that the populations reduce their negative effects upon beaches by reducing their 'noxious' activities such as dumping waste or building house onto the beaches, bringing more sand onto the beaches and combining these endeavors with additional actions to nourishing the beaches:
Drake Martin also suggests the bringing of additional sand onto the beaches, but argues that the endeavor would total up to a sum of $150 million per annum. Another potential solution refers to the creation of rivers that could drag sand to the desired locations through natural processes. However, the action would take long times to generate the desired results and risks of river deviation also exist. Third, we could build breakwaters, systems placed in the seas and oceans to limit the negative effects of waves. Finally, the population needs to stop building on the beaches, but it is rather difficult to convince individuals to give up the comfort of beachfront houses.
The common misperception of beach erosion is that the process is a natural one and there is nothing we can do about it. Today however, the principal determinate of beach erosion is in fact the human factor, rather than the natural one. And sadly enough, several beaches are likely to disappear entirely in the future if we fail to take immediate action.
Douglass, S.L., 2002, Saving America's Beaches: The Causes of and Solutions to Beach Erosion, 19th Edition, World Scientific
Drake, M., 2007, History of Beach Erosion, http://drake.marin.k12.ca.us/stuwork/rockwater/Beach%20Erosion%20-%20Water%20Project/Webpage-History%20of%20beach%20erosion.html last accessed on April 2, 2009