There are over 1,000 miles of pristine, beautiful beaches in the state of Florida, making nearly the entire state edged in the coast. For this reason, you can bet that there is a high chance of coastal erosion for all those that live in the area. For residents of cities situated close to the coast, this concern can be high. Continue to read to get a better understanding of coastal erosion and who is most at risk.
What is Coastal Erosion
To start, coastal erosion occurs when sand gets trapped on structures such as jetties, piers, etc... While the sand is trapped, the natural lapping of the ocean water along the shoreline continues, but there is no sand moving with the water, as it was all trapped. This can result in the water beginning to erode the shoreline, eating it up, instead of replenishing the sand as it moves. In the state of Florida, there are a few causes of this occurrence:
- A Slow Rise of Sea-Level
- Hurricanes or Other Tropical Storms
- Poorly Planned Development
- Poor Construction and Navigation Inlets
Which Areas in Florida Are Most At Risk for Erosion?
The Southeast part of Florida and the Floridan Keys are the most vulnerable regions when it concerns coastal storms, an unpreventable reason for sea level rise and therefore coastal erosion. Reports have been compiled by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on critically eroded beaches in the year 1989. Unfortunately, this number has only doubled in the year 2022, as a quarter of the state's 825 miles of sandy shoreline is in danger of collapse.
How to Prevent Coastal Erosion in Florida
There are many, many methods to prevent coastal erosion, and many are actively used in various places along the coast of Florida. Some of these methods have worked amazingly, making a difference, while others have different drawbacks and advantages. Many common methods worth noting to preventing coastal erosion are the following:
- Seawalls. The good news is that seawalls that have started to fail can be replaced by foundation professionals. The use of seawalls prevents erosion by locking the sand along the shore into place, therefore the possibility of erosion by the ocean is unlikely. With a proper seawall in place, the beach around you and your home can be safe from being slowly eaten away by the unpreventable current. If your seawall itself begins to erode, it can fail. That is why maintenance is key.
- Breakwaters. This silly-named method of preventing coastal erosion is beneficial in its construction of barriers offshore parallel to or at an angle of the shoreline. This barrier acts as a wave catcher, allowing the beach to grow all while preventing some harmful erosion. Waves that hit the breakwater deposit their harmful load of sediment along it.
- Jetties. Because Florida is home to some of the freshest catches off-water, this method of fighting coastal erosion can be handy. A line is constructed of long structures perpendicular to the coast that reaches into the ocean. The number of lines depends on the number of channels you are dealing with. This can be made from stone, concrete, steel, timber, etc... and is designed to keep sand from entering a ship channel. When sand builds along the jetties, as it will, it can be redistributed along the beach to reduce erosion.
- Vegetation and Beach Nourishment. The strategic planting of vegetation can actually make a difference in coastal erosion. The roots of many coastal plants help anchor the sand in place, ensuring it is not carried away in erosion. Areas home to seagrass and the construction of marshes are typically safe from erosion. However, this isn't always beneficial to areas particular to tourists as it can limit space and functions. Beach nourishment on the other hand is a soft solution that involves depositing sand on the beach to artificially widen it, though it can be costly and temporary.
For more information on coastal erosion, how to combat it, and where it is most prominent on the Forgotten Coast of Florida, contact us today. We can help you find the perfect home on Florida's Forgotten Coast.