Beach renourishment

With sea levels rising, renourishment of beaches has become a billion dollar per year industry.  What is this process and when is it a good investment?

Beach erosion is replaced by dredging sand typically from offshore to renourish the beach.  The process is costly several million dollars per mile on the typical shorefront.  With sea level rising at 3.2 mm/year this puts more and more pressure on beaches; which means more beaches need renourishing and the new sand may not endure.  Thirty years ago there was one renourished beach, Miami Beach.  Today on the east coast there are not many major beaches that have not been renourished.  A list with costs is provided by Western Carolina University. Below are some visual examples or renourished beaches.  The key to determining if it is a good investment is:

  • What is the duration of the repaired beach?
  • Does it prevent damage?
  • Value of real estate it protects?

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