Along with the nature ebb and flow of tides, storm patterns and a changing climate continue to alter the face of beaches along the East Coast of the United States.
Beach nourishment programs, where new sand is added to coastal beach areas, continues apace from Massachusetts to Florida.
According to the beach nourishment database developed by the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University (WCU), from about 1944 to 2006, approximately $2.6 billion dollars has been spent adding some 147,523,758 feet of sand to coastal areas.
Florida topped the list, spending approximately $1 billion nourishing its beaches. New Jersey ranks second, spending $544 million to keep the Jersey shore appealing to visitors.
The pros and cons of beach nourishment programs have been heavily debated. One primary concern about the programs is the use of taxpayer money to support private, coastal landowners. It's another of the reverse socialistic policies that has entered American mainstream conversations. Private landowners privatize their profits and benefits while they socialize their costs.
On the other hand, proponents can point to other examples where beach nourishment programs can help draw tourists and add to the areas income base.
The Human Dimension of Beach Nourishment provides fairly comprehensive coverage for both sides of the issue.
© 2011. Patricia A. Michaels. All Rights Reserved.