Regardless of climate change, beaches and coasts are affected by storms and shifting land. Weather and geology must be defended against if people want to protect their waterfront properties and sanctuaries. The simple answer seems to be build a wall. That can feel like a good, positive, proactive action; but it isn’t necessarily good protection. Natural buffers like wetlands and natural shoreline are actually more resilient.
In the central Outer Banks of the North Carolina, Irene damaged 76 percent of bulkheads surveyed. Across marsh sites within 15 miles of the hurricane’s landfall, the storm had no effect on marsh surface elevations. Although the storm temporarily reduced the density of vegetation at those sites, the plants recovered to pre-hurricane levels within a year. – TakePart
Climate change is more gradual than a storm and, at least for some locations, enabling natural solutions may be more effective than pouring more concrete. A high enough storm surge, or enough of a shift in the bedrock, or a enough of a shift in the sea level will inundate any protection – unless we turn the shoreline into unnatural fortresses barricading ourselves in.
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