This article discusses “The High Cost of Preserving Vulnerable Beaches – it is a never-ending commitment. In the wake of hurricanes like Florence, the U.S. government pays to dump truckloads of sand onto eroding beaches, in a cycle that is said to harm ecosystems and disproportionately benefit the rich.
As lawmakers consider disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Florence, projects to rebuild North Carolina’s shrunken shorelines are likely to get a healthy chunk of government money.
To their advocates, these so-called beach nourishment initiatives are crucial steps in buffering valuable oceanfront properties from storm damage and boosting local economies that rely on tourism.
But such projects replenish the same vulnerable areas again and again, and disproportionately benefit wealthy owners of seaside lots.
Moreover, pumping millions of cubic yards of sand onto beaches can cause environmental damage, according to decades of studies. It kills wildlife scooped up from the ocean floor and smothers mole crabs and other creatures where sand is dumped, said Robert Young, a geology professor at Western Carolina University.