Thursday, August 02, 2007

A kick to the groin

A proposal to change North Carolina’s longtime ban on seawalls, jetties and groins to prevent beach erosion and allow experiments near N.C. inlets appears to be going nowhere as the 2007 General Assembly winds down. Instead the legislature may study the matter. Friday addition: Word is the study was axed in the House version last night. It’s a controversial matter because, while beach erosion causes some property owners to lose property, hardened structures such as groins, intended to protect property, also has the effect of damaging property nearby. One property owner’s salvation can become the weapon that ruins another’s property, not to mention disrupting nature’s natural processes.
Says who? The latest is a group of the region’s most prominent scientists, plus some of their national and international colleagues. In a statement published on the website of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University, the group points out that groins “will always cause erosion.”
Here are the pertinent paragraphs:
“The implication by those who are promoting the law to allow the use of groins on North Carolina ocean and inlet shorelines is that this is experimental and that if the groins don’t work they will be removed or altered. There is nothing experimental about groins. It is clear that on a shoreline where sand is transported laterally, groins will always cause erosion. The only questions are where and when will this erosion occur. Experience on many other American shorelines indicates that removal of a groin, once it is put in place, is a rare event no matter what promises are made beforehand.
“The localized and temporary updrift benefits afforded by groins rarely, if ever, justify the downdrift damage caused by increased erosion – regardless of whether it is to developed or undeveloped shorelines, inlets and islands. We urge you to maintain the State of North Carolina’s high standards for coastal management by preventing any change to the current ban on coastal hard structures. Doing so is the surest way to protect our state’s beaches for future generations.”
Here’s a link to the statement and the list of scientists who signed on to it.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't tell me we're going to have science dictating political decision making.

Beach policy will be dictated by emotions, as all policy is.

But further, what use these groins etc, if the waters rise as seems to be happening? They will be flooded as are the land they are protecting.

Anonymous said...

Protecting our beaches for future generations? There will not be beaches at this rate. The ocean eats beaches. Fort Fisher state park, the largest earthen fortification the world had ever seen at the time it was built has been eroded by 85%. Something like 1000 feet eroded between the 1930s and 1995, when the fort was allowed to install a seawall. The ocean will take what it wants unless we fight it. A line has to be drawn in the sand somewhere and now is as good a time as ever. Let's fight erosion rather than let it have its way.

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