This is a website that features all aspects of coastal development with an emphasis on beach preservation, including a very good explanatory article on the problems associated with various shoreline engineering methods.  Here are but a few quotes:

“The benefits of (shoreline engineering) are usually short-lived. Locally, shoreline engineering may actually cause shoreline retreat.”

“Construction by man on the shoreline causes shoreline changes. The sandy beach exists in a delicate balance with sand supply, beach shape, wave energy, and sea-level rise. This is called the dynamic equilibrium. Most construction on or near the shoreline changes this balance and reduces the natural flexibility of the beach.”

“Shoreline engineering destroys the beach it was intended to save. If this sounds incredible to you, drive to New Jersey or Miami Beach and examine their shores. See the miles of “well protected” shoreline-without beaches!”

“The cost of saving beach property through shoreline engineering is usually greater than the value of the property to be saved.”

“Once you begin shoreline engineering, you can’t stop it!…Its failure to allow the sandy shoreline to migrate naturally results in a steepening of the beach profile, reduced sand supply, and therefore, accelerated erosion. Thus, once man has installed a shoreline structure, “better” -larger and more expensive-structures must subsequently be installed, only to suffer the same fate as their predecessors.”

http://coastalcare.org/educate/shoreline-engineering/

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