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Protecting Shorelines

Humans attempt to protect shorelines from erosion by constructing breakwaters, groins and seawalls.

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Bringing Sand to the Beach

Bringing Sand to the Beach

Credit: Miamiboyz
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Miamimetroarea.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

If there’s one thing a South Florida beach has it's sand, right? That’s true for now, but may not be true in the near future.

News You Can Use

  • Florida is a limestone shelf. The high point, Britton Hill, is 345 feet (105 m) above sea level. Britton Hill is in the northern part of the state. In the Miami metropolitan area, the highest point is 53 feet (16 m) above sea level. Tourists visit South Florida for the culture, food and business community. As you can see in the photo, Miami Beach is a well developed city.
  • But the thing that draws most people to Florida is its coastline. Without a lot of effort, Florida may someday be reclaimed by the ocean. One line of defense from the encroaching sea is sand. But Miami and the rest of South Florida are running out of it.
  • Credit: NOAA
    Source: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/dredging.html
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    South Florida has been replacing their beaches with dredged-up sand [Figure2]

Can You Apply It?

With the link below, learn more about South Florida’s sand problem. Then answer the following questions.

  1. Why is South Florida losing sand?
  2. Where has South Florida gotten sand up until now? Why is that source no longer available?
  3. What is one option for where South Florida could get sand? What are the drawbacks to this?
  4. What is the new innovative, green idea for getting sand to South Florida?
  5. What are the possible downsides to this plan?

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    Image Attributions

    1. [1]^ Credit: Miamiboyz; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Miamimetroarea.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
    2. [2]^ Credit: NOAA; Source: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/dredging.html; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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