Download Against the Tide: The Battle for America's Beaches by Cornelia Dean PDF

By Cornelia Dean

American citizens like to colonize their seashores. but if storms threaten, high-ticket beachfront development constantly takes priority over coastal environmental matters -- we rescue the structures, no longer the seashores. As Cornelia Dean explains in opposed to the Tide, this trend is resulting in the fast destruction of our coast. yet her eloquent account additionally bargains sound recommendation for salvaging the stretches of pristine American shore that remain.The tale starts with the story of the devastating storm that struck Galveston, Texas, in 1900 -- the deadliest common catastrophe in American historical past, which killed a few six thousand humans. inaccurate citizens built a wall to avoid one other tragedy, however the barrier ruined the seashore and finally destroyed the town's booming lodge enterprise. From harrowing bills of traditional mess ups to lucid ecological reasons of normal coastal strategies, from studies of human interference and development at the shore to clear-eyed elucidation of public coverage and conservation pursuits, this publication illustrates in wealthy aspect the conflicting pursuits, momentary responses, and long-range imperatives which have been the hallmarks of America's love affair together with her coast.Intriguing observations approximately America's shorelines, prior and current, comprise discussions of typhoon Andrew's attack at the Gulf Coast, the 1962 northeaster that ravaged a thousand miles of the Atlantic shore, the beleaguered shorelines of recent Jersey and North Carolina's swiftly vanishing Outer Banks, and the sand-starved coast of southern California. Dean presents dozens of examples of human makes an attempt to tame the sea -- in addition to a wealth of lucid descriptions of the ocean's counterattack. Readers will take pleasure in opposed to the Tide's painless path in coastal tactics and new viewpoint at the seashore.

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Extra info for Against the Tide: The Battle for America's Beaches

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A portion of the island where 250 or more homes once stood was cut off, reachable only by an amphibious vehicle Suffolk County had acquired for that purpose from the army. Ninety of the houses were still standing, but not even their owners were allowed to visit. The place was simply too dangerous. To make matters worse, marauders from the mainland began taking their powerboats across Moriches Bay to the island, where they vandalized and robbed the houses that remained. Homeowners in the affected area had already filed a class-action suit against Suffolk County and now expanded it to include the state and fed- Storms in 1991 cut an inlet at Westhampton Beach.

Storm waves wash over them, carrying sand to the back side in overwash fans of sediment. Marsh plants colonize these sand deposits and trap still more sand. As the islands erode on the ocean side, they grow on the sound side, maintaining their overall shape as they shift inland to higher ground. If the island is frail, storms may break through it, allowing subsequent high tides to carry even more sand through the breach to the back side of the island, where it collects in flood tide deltas. On the East and Gulf coasts, where the land slopes gently toward the coast, an island can slowly move out of the way of rising seas, if the change in sea level is slow enough.

In this way, these beaches, too, maintain their form, even as they move inland. The continuing violence of the tectonic collisions on the West Coast is pushing the land up, so there is somewhat less erosion caused directly by sea level rise. On the other hand, water depth drops off dramatically close to shore, and beaches hug the shoreline. Although many stretches of the West Coast are lined with barrier spits that resemble East Coast beaches, the typical West Coast beach is a narrow strip of sand backed by steep cliffs.

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