Problematic Coastal Development
August 16, 2022
A video of a North Carolina beach house being dismembered by a voracious ocean was a viral hit this spring. But it won’t be long before the novelty wears off. As sea level rises and storm surges grow more intense, beach towns on every coast of the United States will soon be sacrificing more real estate to Poseidon. A 2018 study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that more than 300,000 coastal homes, currently worth well over $100 billion, are at risk of “chronic inundation” by 2045.
Photo: Rising ocean and shoreline erosion at South Nags Head, North Carolina © Orrin Pilkey & Norma Longo
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Flooding caused by rising tides, hurricane-force winds and rain deluges, has left a glut of damaged properties in South Carolina’s real estate market, specifically in cities along the coast.
A $100 million project for a high-end resort on Bay Point Island didn’t meet Beaufort County’s definition of “ecotourism” in December. But now they do.
A golf course and hotel owned by President Donald Trump has been refused planning permit to build a sea wall designed to protect the fairways from coastal erosion by authorities in Ireland.
A $700,000 — 95-foot-long sand bag groin made of 83, 10,000-pound bags of sand — installed in November to restore the coastline and slow erosion at Kuhio Beach, is to be followed by another more expensive project.
France is one of the most exposed countries in the world to the risks of extreme weather, a new report has found, with nearly 20,000 deaths linked to heatwaves, floods and storms in the last 20 years.
It’s easy to see why millions of people flock to the beach every year. They are dynamic places. With each crashing wave and changing tide, billions of pieces of sand and rock are constantly rearranged. This is what nature intended. What it did not, some scientists say, are the buildings that tower over some of the world’s most popular beaches.
Surprising to me, the French are ahead of the United States, and particularly ahead of North Carolina’s policies on preparation for the rising sea’s impact. The problems of the French coast are much like the problems of the Carolinas.
People tend to respond to immediate threats and financial consequences – and Florida’s coastal real estate may be on the cusp of delivering that harsh wake-up call.
The picturesque Kerala backwaters in southern India, increasingly popular with tourists, form a network of engineered canals, lagoons, lakes, and rice paddies. But a fatal monsoon deluge has highlighted the global problem of how developed wetlands often lose their capacity to absorb major floods.