2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)
Paper No. 33-6
Presentation Time: 3:10 PM-3:30 PM


WANLESS, Harold R., Geological Sciences, Univ of Miami, P.O. Box 249176, Coral Gables, FL 33124, hwanless@miami.edu

Southeast Florida's beaches, heavily developed and imperiled by rising sea level, continue to be seriously mismanaged, uneconomically maintained, and an increasing environmental stress to adjacent marine habitats. Broward County heads the list of counties that stretch from St. Lucie southwards to Miami-Dade. Five serious problems plague the stability of these barrier island shorelines: inlet disruption of littoral drift; beach management that enhances shore erosion (lack of shore vegetation, inappropriate vehicular traffic, structural protections that enhance erosion); historically very poor quality renourishment sediment (in size and durability); strong resistance of shore consulting and dredging firms and counties to embrace an understanding of sandy shore dynamics; and a philosophy that renourishment projects are a solve-all management approach to maintaining our beaches and protecting our infrastructure. This has led to seriously destabilized beaches, major economic waste, and severe environmental degradation to adjacent marine waters and associated valuable sandy bottom and hardbottom communities. Many of these sandy shorelines may well not survive this global warming century of rapidly rising sea level. It is economically and environmentally critical that both the future risks be understood and that lessons from the repeated failed history of beach management be learned. Continued mismanagement will shorten the inhabitable lifetime of this developed sandy coast by decades and at great economic and environmental cost.

2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 33
Identifying America’s Most Vulnerable Oceanfront Communities: A Geological Perspective
Colorado Convention Center: 708/710/712
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Sunday, 28 October 2007

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 39, No. 6, p. 96

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