Beach Management and Erosion Prevention
Beach is a relatively short term for a stretch of land that includes water. Beaches normally range greatly in length from several hundred meters to a few kilometers. Some have small rocky beaches, while other are hundreds of kilometers wide. Some have soft, gradual waves, while other are abrupt and rugged. The most common types of beaches include flat sandbars, rocky beaches, bays and coral cays.
Coastal erosion refers to the movement of sand away from the coastline. This is primarily due to the rise and fall of sea levels as well as precipitation and wind. Coastal erosion can cause permanent damage to beaches, making them unfit for human exploration or tourism. This can adversely affect the local economy as beach visitors often spend part of their holiday in the area. Coastal erosion also contributes to flood during periods of heavy rainfall. Severe coastal erosion can result in the loss of habitats for wildlife, submerging low-lying areas and creating islands.
Coastal erosion can be prevented through proper planning and maintenance. Dredging, which refers to raising and lowering of structures to create channels, is essential to prevent surf against rising tides and to maintain flat beaches. It is important to raise the structures to a level higher than the surrounding soil, to prevent slopes from eroding away. This allows for more efficient use of beach space during high waves. Seismic studies also indicate that some beaches suffer from less wave erosion if they are located near naturally active volcanoes.
There are many ways to reduce coastal erosion, including building structures that keep out water and other activities that disturb the environment. Seawalls can be constructed to keep sand at the edge of the beach. Some beaches may also need to be reinforced with stone or steel to strengthen their hold on the sand. A sea wall has been used to build a long stretch of sand along the beach in Japan; this has helped to protect the structure against tidal erosion.
Some beaches may not need seawalls, due to natural currents moving across the beach. However, these beaches should be watched carefully, as strong winds can move the sand off into other areas, eroding the sand in an area that seawalls cannot protect. Seawalls can also help to protect sand from sliding around obstacles like jagged rocks or other items. In addition to keeping the sand from sliding off in areas where waves are strong, they also help to position the sand correctly, so that it does not break up too much when a wave hits. Without a seawall or other barrier, the sand would wash into the other areas during high tides and cause erosion.
Seawalls can also help keep erosion at bay when a tide goes out and a wave comes in. If a tide goes out by a large amount during a storm, then the seawalls will catch most of the waves crashing against them. If the tide goes out by a smaller amount, then more of the waves hit the seawalls and wash away smaller pieces of the sand. The bigger sizes of the waves hitting the beaches create stronger forces on the sand, which gradually erode the sand. In some cases, larger waves will break smaller pebbles, leaving them broken and in disrepair. Having a seawall or other barrier will help prevent these small pieces of broken sand from being carried farther into other areas of the beach.