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Beach dune erosion

explanatory Essay
1255 words
1255 words
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Vegetated sand ridges called dunes, built up by dry beach sand blown inland and trapped by plants and other obstructions, back most beaches. As sand accumulates, the dunes become higher and wider.
Plants play a vital role in this process, acting as a windbreak and trapping the deposited sand particles. A characteristic of these plants is their ability to grow up through the sand and continually produce new stems and roots as more sand is trapped and the dune grows.
Stable sand dunes play an important part in protecting the coastline. They act as a buffer against wave damage during storms, protecting the land behind from salt-water intrusion. This sand barrier allows the development of more complex plant communities in areas protected from salt-water inundation, sea spray and strong winds. The dunes also act as a reservoir of sand, to replenish and maintain the beach at times of erosion.
Frontal sand dunes are vulnerable. The vegetation can be destroyed by natural causes such as storms, cyclones, droughts or fire, or by human interference such as clearing, grazing, vehicles or excessive foot traffic. If the vegetation cover is damaged strong winds may cause 'blowouts' or gaps in the dune ridge. Unless repaired, these increase in size, the whole dune system sometimes-migrating inland covering everything in its path. Meanwhile, with a diminished reservoir of sand, erosion of the beach may lead to coastal recession.
To avoid this, protecting the vegetation is vital. The beach, between high and low tides, is hard-wearing but the sensitive dunes, which we cross to reach it, must be protected also. For this reason damaged and sensitive dunes might need to be fenced and access tracks for vehicles and people provided.
Processes such as waves, near shore currents and tides continually modify shorelines. The ability of beaches to maintain themselves is achieved through these natural forces. The natural process of beach renourishment, sometimes called "dynamic equilibrium", is how the beach responds to weather. When waves are high during storms or when hurricanes hit the shore, sand is carried from the beach and deposited on the ocean floor. This makes the ocean bottom flatter and makes waves break further from shore and smaller. During subtle weather or erosion, smaller waves slowly shift the sand back to the shore and replenish the beach.
When people build...

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...ready spent almost $100 million to dredge sand from the ocean floor and dump it onto 33 miles of coastline. Ocean City Beach was renourished in 1982 for five million dollars, but washed away in only two and a half months.
When beach residents demand something be done about the beach dune erosion, and all the money the is spent on contemptible endeavors to stop mother nature, a storm or hurricane will come along and wipe out the development. Then billions of dollars are spent to rebuild coastline homes and resorts, which set up a repeating cycle of economic and environmental idiocracy.
One day, in a better society, we will save our beaches from development so that everyone is free to enjoy them in an unhampered, natural state. We will stop wasting billions of dollars in our futile attempts at man-made beach resurrection and pointless rebuilding of homes and resorts. It will become clear that the development of America's coastline is too costly to maintain and is destroying our beaches. Until then we will scurry to the tiny public designated beach access areas, fight for parking spaces and sunbathing positions, and enjoy one of our planet's most beautiful assets while we can.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that vegetation ridges called dunes, built up by dry beach sand blown inland and trapped by plants and other obstructions, back most beaches.
  • Explains the role of sand dunes in protecting the coastline. they act as a buffer against wave damage during storms and protect the land behind from salt-water intrusion.
  • Explains that frontal sand dunes are vulnerable to natural causes, such as storms, cyclones and droughts. strong winds can cause blowouts or gaps in the dune ridge.
  • Explains that protecting the vegetation is vital to avoid this. the beach, between high and low tides, is hard-wearing, but the sensitive dunes, which we cross to reach it, must be protected.
  • Explains the natural process of beach renourishment, sometimes called 'dynamic equilibrium', is how the beach responds to weather.
  • Explains that when people build homes or resorts on beaches, the buildings interrupt this natural process because the sand that is usually taken by storms is removed so that humans may build.
  • Explains that hard structures like bulkheads, seawalls and groins are built on beaches to prevent erosion, but they usually backfire.
  • Explains that bulkheads and seawalls protect banks and bluffs by completely separating land from water.
  • Explains that bulkheads and seawalls are used in areas where there is significant wave action, which accelerates beach erosion.
  • States that many coastal states, including south carolina, georgia and california, have passed laws preventing the destruction of beach dunes. boardwalks and other structures that allow people to reach the beach must be approved.
  • Opines that the sea oats on the primary dunes along the oceanfront are beautiful, but the hearty grass performs a far more important function than adding its good looks to the scenery.
  • Explains that a 6-inch sea oats plant may have five-foot roots, which stabilize the dunes against erosion, and catch windblown sand to increase the size of the dune.
  • Explains that florida law prohibits the picking of sea oats, driving on the dunes, and using boardwalks when walking over them.
  • Explains that new jersey was one of the first states to start extensive armoring of its coastline.
  • Opines that instead of understanding the nature of the sea, we turn to the government and tax money to bail us out. there are fifty government-funded programs that range from building coastal highways to massive rebuilding of sandy beaches.
  • Explains that beach renourishment is environmentally sound because it causes no real harm in the long run, but the cost is incredible, and the results are short-term.
  • Explains that when beach residents demand something be done about the beach dune erosion, and all the money spent on contemptible endeavors to stop mother nature, a storm or hurricane will come along and wipe out the development.
  • Argues that america's coastline is too costly to maintain and is destroying our beaches. until then, we will scurry to the tiny public designated beach access areas and fight for parking spaces and sunbathing positions.
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