Living with Florida′s Atlantic Beaches

Coastal Hazards from Amelia Island to Key West

Living with Florida′s Atlantic Beaches

Living with the Shore

More about this series

Book Pages: 360 Illustrations: 106 b&w photos, 23 tables, 56 maps Published: June 2004

Subjects
Environmental Studies, General Interest > Travel, Natural Sciences

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.

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

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.

Table of Contents Back to Top
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
147

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
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper: 978-0-8223-3289-3 / Cloth: 978-0-8223-3251-0
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