Travel and tourism (T&T) is America’s largest employer and earner of foreign exchange, and beaches are its leading tourist destination. T&T jobs in the U.S. are difficult to offshore or automate, and their number has been growing at a rate 60% greater than overall job growth. America ran a trade deficit of $502 billion (one billion equals 1,000 million) in 2016, but T&T produced its largest trade surplus of $84 billion, including a surplus of about $28 billion with China. International tourists alone spend $245 billion annually in the U.S., which is more than the $190 billion value of the entire U.S. agricultural crop. T&T generates over $60 billion in local and state taxes that could pay the wages of every firefighter and police officer or every secondary school teacher in the country. Surveys show that beaches are by far the leading U.S. vacation destination with more day visits than are made to all national and state parks and government lands combined. However, the federal government’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) gives low budgetary priority to beach tourism and opposes beach nourishment, despite beach tourism supporting 2.5 million jobs, generating $45 billion annually in taxes, and returning $230 in federal taxes for every $1 the federal government spends on beach nourishment. In contrast, OMB gives high priority to navigation channel dredging that allows foreign products to enter the country more cheaply, costing millions of American jobs and billions in taxes. Foreign countries are increasing T&T infrastructure investments, including beach nourishment, at a faster rate than the U.S. and are grabbing an increasing share of the world market.
Closing of the last coastal sand mine in the U.S. by Edward B. Thornton
The scientific basis and activism leading to the decision to close the last coastal sand mine located in Marina, California, are described. Historically, five dragline sand mines operated from 1927 to 1989, with a sixth mine owned by Cemex hydraulically mining sand using a dredge boat on a pond located on the beach from 1965 to the present. Combined, they represented the highest shoreline mining operation in the U.S. and resulted in the highest average beach erosion rate in California. Three sediment budgets are presented to solve for the river contribution, the impact of sand mining and future projection without sand mining. It is shown that the Cemex mine is almost solely responsible for the high recession rates of beach sand in Southern Monterey Bay. The concerted activism by individuals and environmental groups acting in concert with government agencies was required to make change. Together, the California State Lands Commission, California Coastal Commission, and the City of Marina acted to close the Cemex mine. Without sand mining and not accounting for sea level rise, it is projected that the shoreline on average will accrete at 0.5 m/yr owing to the input of sediments from the Salinas River.
Contribution of seiche to beach profile evolution in eastern Lake Erie by Ali Farhadzadeh, Mahsa Ghazian Arabi, and Henry Bokuniewicz
Extreme coastal events initiate free-oscillations in water levels in enclosed bodies of water. These fluctuations, known as seiches, are periodic and have low frequencies. Seiching oscillations can lead to an unexpected rise in water level, resulting in coastal flooding in low-lying areas. In this study, the effects of seiches on beach morphology in eastern Lake Erie were evaluated. The evaluation was done using numerical modeling of beach responses to waves under actual and artificially created seiche-free water levels. The numerical model CSHORE, a process-based nearshore morphodynamics model, was used with inputs based on both the actual and filtered (seiche-free) water levels for a 186-day duration. To that end, the seiche-free water level time-series was created by filtering the oscillations falling within the frequency band that corresponds to the dominant seiching modes. This involved removing the seiching oscillations in the frequency domain using a band-pass filter and then reconstituting the signals in the time domain. For the selected time span, the CSHORE model results indicated that for a beach of 2,000 m long on the eastern shoreline of Lake Erie, the net volume of the eroded beach under the actual lake level, that included seiching oscillations, was nearly 760 m3 (less than 1%) more than that induced by the seiche-free water level.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Community Rating System (CRS) is an effective but not well-known program that provides real flood risk reduction returns to communities that participate and to their citizens that carry flood insurance. CRS communities realize lowered flood impacts and lowered insurance premiums. Given the increased frequency of severe flooding events, improving aspects of CRS could expand community participation and reduce the impacts (and therefore the costs) of flood disasters. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), in collaboration with the Graham Institute of Sustainability at the University of Michigan, sought to explore with experts working on community investment in flood mitigation and familiar with the CRS what research might lead to more communities participating in CRS and doing so at higher, more meaningful levels. EDF in particular was interested in whether better reflection of the hazard reducing roles of natural infrastructure in the CRS would advance inclusion of these measures in community plans. Through a facilitated workshop, experts concluded that compelling data can and should be generated to increase the number of coastal communities taking actions to mitigate flood hazards and improve their resilience to climate change aggravated flooding. Because smaller and less flood-prone communities have historically been less likely to participate in CRS, experts suggested that improvements to CRS be complemented with other means to measure, encourage, and reward their flood hazard mitigation actions.
Lynn Scarlett was invited to present at ASBPA’s 2018 Coastal Summit in Washington, DC, to discuss the topic of innovative financing for coastal resilience. This is a transcript of that speech.