11 February 2013

Beach Erosion

They're rebuilding the beach just outside our 14th floor window wall. While it's fascinating for us to watch the earth movers, I marvel at an individual's tolerance for repetitive tasks.
See, I've done some research into the local beach ecology and discovered that local authorities, through time and recorded observation, have concluded that erosion control of these particular Atlantic Coast beaches, along the Thimble Shoals Channel, is most effectively maintained annually. Some places can dredge and re-establish a shoreline every 4 or 5 years, but this particular stretch requires consistent annual dredging.
So, there's a dredging ship slightly south of us with yards and yards of pipe, feeding into an oil rig-like mechanism. The ship dredges sand (and water) from the ocean bottom, pumps it through the piping to the rig, which spews the sandy water onto the beach. Earth movers create a sea-wall of sand that allows mostly only water to flow back into the sea. Then, the earth movers groom the beach with the recovered sand--rebuilding the shoreline until it reaches the desired 300 feet.
They're doing this 24/7.

We're not being lulled to sleep by ocean waves. We miss that. And, the continual beep, beep signaling the earth movers backing up, could be annoying. That's one reason we've moved from the 2nd to the 14th floor.
We do have, however, a fantastic view of the dredging process. And, we've learned so much about the ecology of the area by researching and reading online. This area incorporates annual dredging costs into their fiscal budget, and that along with federal funding allows the rest of us our beach vacations.
It's always a good day when you learn something new.

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