Reduce Beach Erosion
A Basic Primer on Beach Erosion Problems and Gabion Solutions
Beaches are among the world's most beautiful and desirable landscapes. Not surprisingly, many coastal communities have been quick to take advantage of these outstanding natural world features. Homeowners, commercial enterprises and casual beachgoers alike prize smooth sand and pebble beaches created when wave and water currents lay down fine sediments in gentle sloping deposits, sometimes stretching for miles along coastal and littoral zones. Beach ecosystems can be rather fragile, and rising sea levels, strong waves and currents and frequent high-energy storms can lead to dangerous beach conditions, increased beach erosion, and property damage.
Gabion Supply is your go-to resource to help manage beach erosion problems and solutions. Here we provide a basic primer on some typical beach erosion issues with a focus on the best available gabion product solutions for beach property owners and coastal communities.
What Is Beach Erosion?
Wind, water, tides, and currents naturally nourish the beach by transporting and depositing fine sand and sediments, but these same processes also wear away and remove sand and sediment from beaches. Gentle wave actions create gently sloping beaches. Longshore currents approach the beach to lay down fine sand, coral fragments and silty sediments. Stronger, more powerful storm waves and currents wash away the gentle slopes, transport fine materials far offshore, and leave a rougher, lower and rockier surface.
Beach erosion occurs on any sandy beach in all types of freshwater or saltwater beach situations. Some beach erosion is seasonal — small summer waves bring abundant finer materials to build up the beach, and stronger, more powerful winter waves crash on the beach face and drag material far offshore.
What Causes Beach Erosion?
Wind and waves are the main cause of beach erosion. Climate change, more intense storms and storm surges, and sea level rise influence beach development over the long term and are expected to lead to more beach erosion. Even human activities, such as coastal development, sand mining and upstream dam developments, reduce sediment supply, disrupt shorelines and alter beach dynamics. Some human activities are very beneficial for beaches. For example, beach nourishment projects bring sand to the beach, perhaps from offshore dredging locations or from an inland location. Conservation of natural coastal ecosystems and strategic vegetation planting efforts protect beaches and help reduce beach erosion by disseminating wave energy before it can reach the beach.
Are There Different Types of Beach Erosion?
The most common type of beach erosion occurs when sand and sediment are removed at a high rate, sometimes in spectacular tropical storm conditions with powerful wave action. The result is usually a beach with a dramatically rougher, lower and steeper beach face. Eroded beaches are often narrow and steep, and if prolonged beach erosion occurs, a rocky or coral base layer might become exposed. In severe cases, a dangerous and unstable cliff face might develop. Other types of erosion on beaches, such as the creation of gullies and rills, occur when large amounts of water rapidly inundate the beach surface. This type of beach erosion is usually part of an overall beach replenishment problem resulting in smaller and steeper beaches over time.
When Does Beach Erosion Occur?
Most beach erosion occurs when high-energy storm waves and currents strike the beach with high impact. The wave action moves sand and sediment offshore. If the longshore current is interrupted, the sediment supply — often called the longshore drift — may be significantly reduced, leading to a loss of beach integrity and structure. Sometimes the longshore drift is intensified by coastal structures resulting in localized heavy sedimentation and silting up of offshore locations. Coastal property owners know that a seemingly stable and long-lasting beach can suddenly experience massive beach erosion during a single storm event. Repeated beach erosion processes can result in the complete loss of the beach environment and extensive changes to the shoreline.
How Do You Prevent Beach Erosion Using Gabions?
Gabions are an excellent structural solution to beach erosion. Stainless steel or wire mesh gabions filled with rock or concrete and properly located on the beach reduce wave energy striking the beach. Erosion control bags are another viable option. Every beach erosion situation is unique, so it is important to think about the right marine gabion solution for your problem. Gabions have different construction specs, long-term retention properties and strength characteristics. A UV-stabilized polypropylene geogrid gabion is an affordable option, and a stainless steel gabion installation is long-lasting and aesthetically pleasing. Options for gabion wire mesh size and diameter, as well as the fill material, exist for virtually any beach erosion problem.
Solving beach erosion problems with the most effective gabion solutions is our passion here at Gabion Supply. We offer the widest range of gabions in all types and sizes to fit any beach erosion situation. We'll work with you to find the most effective solution and the right product for your particular beach project. Call us today to get started!