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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a beach as “the area of unconsolidated material, such as sand, pebbles, or rocks, that extends landward from the low water line to the place where there is marked change in material or physiographic form, or to the line of permanent vegetation (usually the effective limit of storm waves).”

One of the biggest envrionmental challenges beaches face today is beach erosion.  Beach erosion is the actual removal of sand from a beach to deeper water offshore.  Such erosion can result from different factors.  Erosion is the natural response of a beach to storms and calm weather.  During storms, sand from the beach goes below the water to form storm bars.  Such storm bars protect the beach from further erosion.Whereas, during calm weather smaller waves return sand from the storm bar back onto the shore.  Global warming and climate change which in turn lead to the melting of polar ice caps, cause sea levels to rise.  It also increases the severity and frequency of storms, which results in beach erosion.  Dredging close to shores also leads to beach erosion.

According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, about 80 percent of the sandy beaches along America’s coastlines have been eroding for decades.  Beach nourishment addresses the sand deficit directly through the placement of additional sediment.

Inside Beaches