Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 10:35 AM


YOUNG, Robert S.1, STANCHEVA, Margarita2, STANCHEV, Hristo2 and PALAZOV, Atanas2, (1)Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC 28723, (2)Institue of Oceanology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 40 First May Street, Varna, 9000, Bulgaria,

Over the last several decades, many of the world’s beaches have experienced rapid development. The vast majority of this development is in the form of vacation homes, investment property and the infrastructure to support tourism. As the value of coastal property has skyrocketed, the demand to protect these investments from coastal erosion and storms has grown. The result has been a massive transformation of the world’s beaches and dune systems from fully functioning, geomorphic systems with high quality habitat to non-stop engineering projects designed primarily to function as storm buffers for infrastructure. The United States has very few beaches remaining that are entirely natural.

The Bulgarian coast has also experienced significant development and alteration of both active and relict dune fields in areas. Much of this development has occurred with an inadequate coastal setback, requiring the use of coastal engineering to protect the buildings and, in some cases, beach fill projects to add sand to the beach. In other areas of the coast, engineering structures have been used to halt the retreat of coastal cliffs even where there is little of no infrastructure to protect. It must be clearly understood that all of these activities may protect buildings, but they increase the rate of erosion along the entire coast and accelerate the loss of beaches.

There are many areas along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast that remain natural and unaltered. It is critical that any beaches and dunes that still have fully functioning physical and biological systems be identified, mapped, and protected. In addition, a science-based coastal setback should be established along all coastal cliffs and beaches. As most of the world’s beaches become overdeveloped with degraded ecosystems, there remains the possibility in Bulgaria to highlight the touristic potential of those beaches and shorelines that remain natural (ecotourism). There is the possibility to attract a different kind of tourist who may be willing to spend more money for the kind of beach experience that is disappearing from the rest of Europe. This would include development set far back from the sea and very natural and pristine coastal dunes and beaches.