Answering Water-Caused Recession with Modern Beach Erosion Solutions

Beach erosion is a serious issue. In fact, it’s more impacting than you might suspect at first. In a related study, beaches were analyzed along the Atlantic Coast, where many bunkers that were used by the Germans during World War Two still lie. According to analysis, over the past 60 some-odd years, most of these bunkers are now mostly underwater, about two-thirds of the way submerged, an estimated 200 meters of total recession since the war (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_recession_of_beaches). This is telling of the ongoing erosion that is occurring due to the forces of Mother Nature and the ocean. Put into a more modern subtext, this same erosion is occurring around the world, at some of the most popular islands and also at some of the most popular and frequented beaches, like Miami Beach. Fortunately, there are some modern beach erosion solutions that are being implemented in countries worldwide that can help prevent these devastating effects from destroying our most cherished waterside attractions.

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Adding sand is not the most sustainable option. For countless years, this has really been the governmental quick fix to eroding beaches. A popularly used method in coastal areas, particularly those that attract tourists each season, it is the most commonly used modern method right now. Experts warn, however, that’s it’s not a permanent solution, and it’s costly. Adding more sand to replaced lost sand does not stop erosion. It makes the beach prettier, sure, but the sand will still eventually erode away to the underlying problem. Miami Beach is a good example of how long this method can sustain a beach. During the 1980s it was entirely reshaped with new sand, and still is standing strong today, more than 30 years later.

During the ‘40s, groins were designed by the Army Corps of Engineers and were placed along waterways subject to erosion to prevent it from occurring. The most famous beach these groins were placed at was Coney Island Beach in New York. Groins act as water breaking devices, and consist of metal and concrete. They have also been placed as far out as 300 yards to break incoming waves and reduce the impact they have upon the shoreline. The groins have a downside: they also trap sand, which suffocates beaches that are located downstream.

A relatively newer solution consists of something that is being called underwater stabilizers. This solution is currently in place at an estimated 100 waterways worldwide. An array of plastic barriers that have a unique shape are placed in strategic positions lining the water of the shore. Basically, the design takes on the force of the incoming waves and uses the inertia to revert the wave energy, essentially spilling the wave back out to sea instead of allowing it to erode the beach.

In the U.S., Congress is currently reviewing an act called the Water Resources Development Act of 2000. The act outlines current erosion control methods and policies. If it were amended, one could expect some government funded solutions to be in place in the years to come. Until then, private companies are still devising and patenting the most effective solutions of the present era.

How Cable Concrete Helps Prevent Soil Erosion

Cable concrete slabs are a very commonplace solution for preventing the erosion of soil during the present day. The goal of these carefully designed and placed concrete slabs is to help protect the soil from erosion due to the wind, water runoff, rain, hail, snow or other elements that commonly denigrate the top soil layers. While there are a number of other considerations that can be explored when trying to protect the top soil layers, by and far the cable concrete option is considered to be the most effective. There are a variety of reasons why this is so. Keep reading to learn more about how this solution could work in helping to protect the integrity of the soil on a land plot that you own or manage.

 Encourages Vegetative Growth

The unique design of the cable concrete slabs helps encourage and facilitate growth of vegetation. It’s no mystery that vegetation is your best natural defense against soil erosion. The precise placement of the slabs ensures that there is ample room between each slab to allow for vegetation growth in between. This growth will occur over time and add an additional barrier of protection to the soil as a result.

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 Acts as Small Wind Barrier/Retaining Wall

The cable concrete solution also incorporates another popular solution that’s been used for years in preventing the erosion of soil: a wind barrier. Previously, other natural and artificial solutions have been consider which include: barrier walls, wind breakers, shrub or vegetation barriers, tree lines and others. The slabs, when positioned properly and when built tall enough, also double as a wind barrier or breaker to add a further element of protection to the top soil layers.

 Enables Easy Access by People

If you have ever looked at an array of cable concrete slabs in place, you will notice the amount of room that exists between each slab. This is not just for the enabling of water runoff or vegetative growth, but to also allow for easy access by people. This ensures that these slabs can be accessed and maintained at all times without risking damage to the area.

 Able to Contour to Gradient of Ground

One of the reasons why these slabs are so popular is that they are affordable, accessible and versatile. Since they are made from concrete, they can be multifarious in their application. When considering sloped or graded areas of ground, often anchoring is a necessity. With cable concrete, however, it may be avoided if the slope or gradient is permitting enough, because it can be more tailored to contour to the existing gradient of the ground.

 Veritable, Versatile Solution

As with any solution, how applicable it is will easily determine how effective it can be implemented. Cable concrete has quickly become the preferred solution for prevention of soil denigration because it’s versatile. The slabs can be made in a number of uniform sizes that enable them to be placed just about anywhere that there is soil. The solidity of the concrete state ensures that these slabs are long-lasting after being placed, providing a longer-acting solution that requires minimal maintenance.

 

 

Soil Erosion

Soil erosion happens naturally. Water and wind have always washed soil down rivers and to the sea, whittling away at the arable land in one place so that nature can make more somewhere else. Where human activity is concerned, this otherwise natural phenomena can unfortunately proceed much more quickly than would be natural. Accelerated by issues like improper landscaping or overused farmland, this kind of erosion can result in considerable human and economic damage.

What leads to erosion?

Water or wind are inevitably the causes of soil erosion. Flowing across soil or meadows, water may etch deep ravines or turn hillsides into catastrophic waves of mud. Wind can pick up exposed soil and carry it hundreds of miles, making useless dust where previously productive farmland used to be. As water flows faster and wind picks up speed, the amount of damage goes up. If plants stand in their path, they slow down or stop — and do far less harm as a result.

What kind of erosion is caused by water?

Flowing water tends to be responsible for tunnel, gully, stream bank, or sheet and rill erosion.

Tunnel erosion is subsurface erosion that happens when water carves out routes in the soil as it makes its way through burrows, root channels, and cracks.

Gully erosion is characterized by sharp-edged channels cut at least a half-meter deep in the land. It’s caused by surface water flows concentrating together and etching the land as they go.

Stream bank erosion happens when sudden or intermittent peak flows in a creek or stream make the stream cut wider and deeper channels through the land.

Sheet and rill can be caused by both water and wind. Rain, wind, or shallow water flows may all strip away surface soil. If the water creates a channel deeper than a half meter, it’s called a gully. Channels less than a half-meter are referred to as rills.

What kind of erosion is caused by wind?

Blowing wind generally causes wind and coastal erosion, but may also be responsible for sheet and rill erosion as mentioned previously.

Wind erosion is a catch-all term for the erosion that occurs mostly in farming, where soil components blow away from spots where the wind can access the fragile surface directly.

Coastal erosion is a sub-type of wind erosion that occurs on the coast, when vegetation leaves sand dunes exposed to the wind.

What can you do to stop and prevent erosion?

Plants are the best measure against soil erosion. They act to shield the land from the scouring action of wind and water, by slowing down either. Plant roots fix soil to the spot and help keep it from washing away. When raindrops fall, plant leaves break their impact and reduce the raindrops’ ability to remove soil. In wetlands, the plants may be all that prevents soil from washing away immediately.

Whether you’re looking to hold your front yard in place or ensure a healthy place to plant your crops, making sure plants are always growing on the soil will preserve it for years to come. You can get even better results by encouraging diversity and allowing native plants to flourish: indigenous plants are better adapted to the land and will do more to preserve it.