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Shoreline Protection

Types Of Shorelines, Types Of Shoreline Protection

Shoreline protection is the engineering effort designed to lessen or eliminate coastal erosion. Because sea level is rising and we have chosen to develop coastal areas, shoreline erosion has become a common and urgent problem for many communities. In essence, shoreline protection consists of engineered structures or other solutions meant to slow erosion by rising sea levels and storm wave action.

The shoreline is the area located between the low tide mark and the highest point on land that storm waves impact. They are dynamic features in that they move landward or seaward depending on rise or fall of sea level and the amount of uplift or subsidence (sinking) of the area. Currently sea level is rising—in the past century it has risen more than 4.5 in (12 cm) globally. Two-thirds of the world's people currently live near shorelines. New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, and Rio de Janeiro are just a few of the major cities built near the sea.

In the past, shoreline protection was considered a local project. A single landowner or community designed a site-specific defense against erosion. While this effort might solve their erosion situation, the problem with this approach is that it often results in erosion on adjacent or nearby stretches of coast. Then the adjacent or nearby communities must also take defensive action. Unfortunately many coastal dwellers still tend to defend shorelines in this manner. However, other residents are finally beginning to grasp the concept that the shoreline environment is a system in its entirety, with many processes at work within it. If you make changes to any part of the system, a natural response, however unexpected, is likely to occur.

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