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  • List of Figures, Tables, and Risk Maps xi

    Preface xvii

    1 From Fort Clinch to Fort Taylor: East Florida’s Dynamic Coast 1

    Coastal Images 3

    Geology: The Basis of Environment 4

    Coastal Landforms 14

    Coastal Processes and the Importance of Sand 14

    Climate: A Fundamental Component of Environment 16

    Prehistoric Life: Early Humans 18

    Access: The Key to Development 19

    Lighthouse Lessons 21

    Population Explosion in the Coastal Zone 24

    Prospects of the Future 27

    2 The Vulnerable Coast: Living With Storms 28

    Hurricanes 33

    Hurricane Probability 35

    Ranking Hurricane Intensities 38

    Hurricane History: A Stormy Past 39

    Early Hurricanes 40

    Recent Hurricanes 41

    Winter Storms 43

    Other Storm Related Hazards 44

    Coastal Storm Processes 44

    Natural Processes: Energy in Motion 45

    Wind 45

    Storm Waves 45

    Currents 45

    Storm Surge 45

    Storm-Surge Ebb 47

    Human Coastal Modifications: Altering the Response to Natural Processes 47

    3 The Variable Coast: Beaches, Barrier Islands, and Coastal Processes 49

    The Significance of Barrier Islands in Hazard Evaluation 51

    Barrier Island Evolution 53

    Stationary or Grounded Barrier Islands 55

    Rolling Sandbars: How Islands Migrate 56

    The Role of Shoreface in Barrier Island Evolution 59

    Geologic Framework of the Coast: Know Your Shoreface 59

    Beaches: Nature’s Shock Absorbers 61

    How Does the Beach Responds to a Storm? 61

    How Does the Beach Widen? 62

    Where Does Beach Sand Come From? 65

    Why Are Our Shorelines Retreating? 65

    If Most Shorelines Are Eroding, What is the Long-Range Future of Beach Development? 65

    4 The Fortified Coast: Living With Coastal Engineering 67

    Shoreline Armoring: Engineering Structures 68

    Shore-Parallel Structures on Land: The Seawall Family 69

    Impacts of Seawalls 73

    Passive Beach Loss 73

    Active Beach Loss 73

    Placement Beach Loss 73

    Seawalls, Sediment Loss, and Narrowing Beaches 73

    Shore-Parallel Structures Offshore: Breakwaters 76

    Shore-Perpindicular Structures: Groins and Jetties 77

    Impacts on Groins 77

    Engineering Structures: A Final Word 80

    Coastal Armoring Policy 81

    “Alternative” Devices 83

    Redistributing Sediment: Dredging/Filing, Trucking, Scraping, and Bypassing 86

    Beach Dredge-and-Fill Projects 86

    Trucking Sand 92

    Beach Scraping 92

    Sand Transfer Plants 95

    Dune Building 95

    Plugging Dune Gaps 95

    Principles of Sand Fencing and Artificial Plantings 96

    Relocation: Managed Retreat 97

    Are Variances Eroding Beach Protection Efforts? 98

    Truths of the Shoreline 98

    5 Environmental Effects of Beach Management 100

    The Shelf Settling 100

    How Marine Animals Can Be Affected by Engineering Projects 102

    Beach Engineering Methods and Environmental Effects 104

    Large Dredge-and-Fill Projects 105

    Engineering Methods 105

    Historical Perspectives on Beach Dredge and Fill 106

    Environmental Effects 107

    Mid-Shelf Areas (35-60 Feet) 107

    Intermediate Shelf Areas (12-35 Feet) 108

    Nearshore and Onshore Areas (0-12 Feet) 109

    Inlet Channel Maintenance 110

    Nearshore Berms 110

    Importing Aragonite Sand 111

    Sand Transfer Plants 112

    Comparative Environmental Effects of Beach Engineering Methods 113

    The Chronic Absence of Cumulative Impact Assessments 114

    Natural Stressors 114

    Historical Reef Burials 115

    Mitigation and Artificial Reefs 116

    Just The Facts 117

    The Scale of Past and Future Dredge-and-Fill Projects 118

    Current Understanding of Faunas and Impacts of Beach Engineering 118

    6 The Rules of the Coast: Assessing Hazards 120

    The Flexible Coast 121

    Selecting Your Coastal Site 124

    Stability Indicators: Reading Nature’s Record at the Coast 127

    Terrain and Elevation 127

    Vegetation 127

    Seashells 130

    Soil Profiles 130

    Coastal Environments: Your Site in the Bigger Coastal Picture 131

    Primary Dunes 131

    Dune Fields 132

    Overwash Fans 133

    Grasslands 133

    Inlets 134

    The Infrastructure Coast: Water Resources, Services, and Utilities 134

    Finger Canals 135

    Site Evaluation Checklist: Vulnerability and Risk Potential
    Escape Routes: Have an Emergency Plan 138

    Know the Escape Route Ahead of Time 138

    Use the Route Early 139

    7 The Nitty-Gritty Coast: Evaluating Your Coastal Site 140

    Nassau County 142

    Duval County

    St. Johns County 153

    Flagler County 164

    Volusia County 169

    Brevard County 177

    Indian River County 189

    St. Lucie County 193

    Martin County 199

    Palm Beach County 205

    Broward County 215

    Dade County 222

    Miami Beach: The Endpoint 232

    Monroe County/Florida Keys 232

    The Environment 235

    Look What They’ve Done to Our Keys! 237

    The Storm Threat 241

    The Next Step 247

    8 The Built Coast: Construction Guidelines 249

    Can We Learn from Past Experience? 249

    Coastal Realty versus Coastal Reality 249

    The Structure: Concept of Balanced Risk 250

    Can We Rely on Building Codes? 251

    Coastal Forces: Desing Requirements 251

    Lessons from Previous Storms 253

    The National Flood Insurance Program 255

    Construction Type 255

    House Selection 255

    Strengthening the Exterior Envelope 256

    Doors 257

    Windows 257

    Structural Integrity 257

    Building Shape 257

    Roofs 258

    Connectivity, High-Wind Straps, and Tie-Downs 262

    Keeping Dry: Pole or “Stilt” Houses 263

    Piling Embedment 265

    Connection of Piling to the Floor and Roof 267

    Breakaway Walls below Elevated Buildings 267

    Concrete Slabs below Elevated Buildings 267

    Utility Systems 267

    Dry Flood-Proofing 268

    An Existing House: What to Look for, Where to Improve
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  • Description

    From Amelia Island just south of Georgia to Key West’s southern tip, beaches are one of Florida’s greatest assets. Yet these beaches are in danger: rapid structural development on a highly erodible coast make them vulnerable to some of nature’s greatest storms. The same development that has been driven by the attraction of beautiful beaches and coastal amenities now threatens those very resources. In turn, coastal structures are at risk from sea-level rise, shoreline retreat, winter storms, and hurricanes. Most of the methods for reducing losses associated with storms protect property only in the short term—at a growing cost in dollars and loss of natural habitat in the long term.

    Living with Florida’s Atlantic Beaches is a guide to mitigating or reducing losses of property, human life, and natural resources by living with, rather than just at, the shore. This illustrated volume provides an introduction to coastal processes and geology as well as a brief history of coastal hazards and short-sighted human responses. This is the first volume in the Living with the Shore series to discuss the significant long-term impact of dredge-and-fill beach construction on living marine resources. Guidance is provided for long-term risk reduction in the form of tips on storm-resistant construction and site evaluation; maps for evaluating relative vulnerability to hazards are also included. A brief review of coastal regulations will help property owners understand and navigate the various permit requirements for developing coastal property. Living with Florida’s Atlantic Beaches is an invaluable source of information for everyone from the curious beach visitor to the community planner, from the prudent property investor to the decision-making public official.

    About The Author(s)

    David M. Bush is an associate professor in the Department of Geosciences at the State University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia.

    William J. Neal is a professor in the Department of Geology at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan.

    Norma J. Longo is a geologist in Durham, North Carolina.

    Kenyon C. Lindeman, a biologist, is a senior scientist with Environmental Defense in Miami, Florida.

    Deborah F. Pilkey is an engineer in Simi Valley, California.

    Luciana Slomp Esteves is a coastal geologist at the Laboratory of Oceanographic Geology at Fundacao University in Rio Grande, Brazil.

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