Continued and/or accelerated sea-level rise due to ongoing climate change will
lead to increased coastal erosion in the future. Simple inundation will result
in the flooding of beaches; for gently sloping beaches, the general rule of thumb
is that 50 to 100 feet of beach width will be lost for every foot of sea level
rise. Beaches and bluffs also will be exposed to greater and more frequent wave
attack, due to the elevated seas as well as to a possible increase in the
frequency and severity of storm waves.
Protecting existing structures from erosion will be difficult and expensive.
When the means of protecting structures involves armoring the coast, there will
be an inevitable additional loss of beaches as a result. This is because shoreline
protective devices halt the landward migration of the back of the beach, and
continued flooding of the seaward beach results in a reduction in beach width,
and its eventual loss entirely. The loss of beaches due to armoring and sea level
rise results in immense negative impacts, including loss of recreational value,
tourism, marine mammal haul-out area, sandy beach habitat, and buffering capacity
against future bluff erosion.
Additional information on this topic can be found at the following sites: