Pope, J., 2019 “Retrospective on the 1970’s ‘Low Cost Shore Protection’ program”, Shore & Beach, 87(3), 3-12. https://doi.org/10.34237/1008731
Retrospective on the 1970’s “Low Cost Shore Protection” program
U.S. Army Engineers, Retired, ASBPA Vice President
In the 1970s, the U.S. Congress authorized and funded a five-year demonstration program on low-cost methods for shore protection called the “U.S. Army Engineers Shoreline Erosion Control Demonstration (Section 54) Program.” The Section 54 also known as the “Low-Cost Shore Protection” demonstration program is revisited. Demonstration and monitoring sites including the materials, devices, vegetative plantings, approaches tested, and program findings are discussed. Simply put, a major finding of the Section 54 program was that the concept of “low-cost shore protection” was a bit naïve. However, the program did lead to a wealth of public information documents and practical coastal engineering lessons that are still resonating as home owners, communities, and engineers consider alternative approaches for managing coastal erosion. The program structure and findings are applicable 40 years later as consideration is given toward the use of Natural and Nature-based Features (NNBF) for addressing coastal erosion. Evolution in thought relative to coastal erosion and shoreline enhancement activities since the 1970s has built upon many of the lessons and concepts of the Section 54 program and other real-world coastal erosion management success-failure experiences. This growth has led to a modern appreciation that those features that emulate NNBF are promising and responsible alternative coastal erosion management strategies if proper engineering standard elements of design are included in the project.