Magazine article The Futurist

Battles on the Beaches

Magazine article The Futurist

Battles on the Beaches

Article excerpt

Shoreline communities hope to build better futures for their favorite ecosystems.

Oceanfront homeowners have long battled nature, trying to keep the waves from washing away their property, expensive homes, and businesses. Some scientists say that development actually causes beach erosion, but people continue to pour more and more of their own--and taxpayers'--money into developing and propping up the shoreline.

The traditional tactic has been to build walls to protect beaches from the force of tides. But Virginia Beach, Virginia, began a major project last summer to dredge up 3.5 million cubic yards of sand from the Chesapeake Bay, using it to add more than 300 feet of beach to the community's oceanfront.

The $22.5-million "Big Beach" expansion project is part of a five-year, $125-million Erosion Control and Hurricane Protection Project, managed jointly by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Virginia Beach. "Not only is this project beneficial to locals and visitors, but it creates a healthier beach environment and ecosystem overall," according to city coastal engineer Phill Roehrs. "Virginia Beach takes pride in its effort to help sustain the oceanfront for years to come. …

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