Stabilizing Shorelines

Stabilizing Shorelines

The coastline are undergoing changes through time which can be attributed to natural processes while others are attributed to human activities though most of them are due to both factors. This calls for human intervention which involves attempts to stabilize or what can be termed as hardening of the shoreline. This approach taken will lead to various long-lasting consequences on the natural system both locally as well as the area surrounding; these effects can be both positive and negative. This paper will therefore look at various techniques and efforts that have been used in the stabilization of shores throughout the world and further establish if they are temporary or permanent. Finally it will look at how development of coastal areas has played a role to shoreline erosion.

When it comes to the efforts to be applied so as to ensure that shores are stabilized one must first recognize erosion problems. There is loss of soil and ultimately the value of shoreline and hence this is a problem that needs urgent action against. Stabilization of the shoreline can be done through the construction of various beach structures which all act in a similar way in that they act as an imposition of a physical barrier in the area near the shore zone and hence block flow of littoral drift which goes ahead to interrupt the natural equilibrium. They therefore are designed to withstand force of wave action. This are the hard stabilization methods and they include; sea wall structures that are built at the edge of the water and from concrete or large stone. They serve the purpose of bearing full brunt of wave action hence protects the face of the cliff. Revetments from broken concrete are devices that are powerful in reducing the wave action energy and can be repaired at low costs. The fact that their surface is irregular then they offers protection from wave run-up or breaking up shoes movement up the shore. Groins on the other hand are sediment traps which jut out at right angles from the shore and they pick up sediments that have been carried along-shore drift as they move to the up current side. The sediments never reach the groin’s downstream hence the beach narrows therefore multiple groins are constructed. Connections of breakwaters to the shoreline at the end or separate from it are done so as to bear the wave’s brunt hence calmer water shoreward is produced. Jetties are also used to ensure that a channel is kept open and are located on each side of channel outlet (Net Industries and its Licensors, 2013)

Apart from the hard structures there are also some soft methods of stabilization which are now becoming more prevalent as the main method or in conjunction with the hard stabilizing practices. Beach nourishment is one of the soft shoreline protection methods in use that involves pumping of sand into the beach and rebuilding dunes and upper beach that was in existence before (World press 2012).it is very advantageous since the nourishment of the beach often extends time until when erosion undermines structures that are found behind the beach. It also provides a beach that is wider and more usable hence recreation areas are made better. All this methods are temporary ways of beach stabilization and they have to be continuously redone so that they can be effective.

Shoreline erosion is either temporary or permanent loss of sand from the beach. There are various human factors that bring about shoreline erosion .the coastal area is a region that experiences a lot of flooding therefore so that the flooding can be limited and enable people store water there are various structures that are constructed. Rivers that flow naturally act as sources of beach sand that replenishes grains that have been washed to sea by high tides. The construction of dams however change the natural course of rivers hence the beaches are robbed off new sand hence this factor contributes to beach erosion (Johnson, 2006). To avoid the loss of the coastal land both the government and people build structures so that the sea can be held back and prevent loss of sand. However these are the structures that accelerate erosion instead of reducing it. At the same time the structures that are build to limit erosion will in the long run increase erosion in the long run. Therefore the development of the coastal area brings more harm than good to the shoreline.


Johnson, S.C. (2006). The Making of a Natural Sandy Beach: Have Rivers in Southern California Ever Been an Important Source of Sand? Retrieved February 21, 2013 from Industries and its Licensors.(2013). Shoreline Protection – Types Of Shoreline Protection.retrieved February 21,2013 from of Minesota.(2008). Stabilizing Your Shoreline to Prevent Erosion.retrieved February 21,2013 from press.(2012). Stabilizing The Unstable.retrieved February 21,2012 from