Beach Nourishment: The Magic Bullet for Georgia’s Shore?
Schmitt, Michelle A.
Haines, Andrew C.
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In recent years, shoreline development has increased exponentially, especially in the Southeast. As a result, concern about coastal erosion has mounted. In order to minimize the economic risk of shoreline erosion and to address recreational and business interests, coastal managers have adopted various beach modification practices, including beach nourishment. Each of these has significant financial, hydrological, and ecological impacts, with associated political consequences. By altering the physical structure of the beach and the near-shore environment, beach nourishment can have significant short and long term effects on beach ecology, including the invertebrates, birds, fish, and even nesting sea-turtles. Economically, beach nourishment procedures are very expensive because it enlists a large amount of equipment and man-hours, requires costly maintenance, monitoring, and assessment, and lasts only a few years. This paper will focus mainly on the many potential economic and biological impacts of beach nourishment, leading to recommendations about the precautions and analysis needed in responsibly undertaking such projects.