Coastal erosion is a naturally occurring phenomenon resulting from the continuous action of wind and water. Both act to remove small pieces of land from one location and deposit them elsewhere. Weather events such as hurricanes and nor’easters speed the erosion process, as do tidal waves. Currently, rising sea levels resulting from melting polar ice decrease available land as well. While erosion has always been a factor of coastal living, increasing populations along the worlds shorelines, makes understanding its significance more important than ever (Evans, 2010). Those living in the coastal regions must understand the erosion process if they want to protect their property. However, they must also understand they can only do so much, and some of what they do may even make matters worse (Singer, 1999). Understanding natural processes and working with them usually has a much better result than working in ignorance against them. Although most understand that not all coastal regions erode at the same rate, the reasons for increased erosions in one place over another often evade researchers. In addition to weather events and rising sea levels, ocean floor topography and coastal soil types also affect erosion rates. According to Evans (2010), “There is significant debate about how to best manage coastal resources to cope with the changing shoreline. When and where will the coast change? And what, if anything, should we do about it?” In spite of such debate, there are still regulations designed to protect areas appearing to be in greater erosion danger. Since the mid 1970s, the Coastal Zone Management Act has mandated that local governments “must regulate activities” in “erosion hazard areas” (Singer, n.d., p. 221). Sadly, many human endeavors dramatically increase coastal erosion, even ones designed to prevent it. Dams may hold water and keep current sand in place, but they also prevent the deposit of new nutrient rich sand....
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