Beach Erosion Post-Sandy

What Makes a Healthy Coastline?

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Short Beach in Branford, Connecticut, pounded by waves during Superstorm Sandy.
Sandy's slow movement brought more water onto the Connecticut shoreline than during Irene. Photo:Jan Ellen Spiegel
Betsey Wingfield of CT DEEP.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Jennifer O'Donnell of Coastal Ocean Analytics.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Gwen MacDonald of Save the Sound.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Beach Erosion Post-Sandy
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Beach Erosion Post-Sandy

We’ve been thinking a lot about the damage Sandy inflicted on homes, communities, infrastructure. But it’s also been reshaping the coastline in places like Hammonasset beach, where a lot of sand and vegetation was cleaved away, leaving the dunes looking like cliffs. At Misquamicut beach in Rhode Island - a summertime destination for many Connecticut residents - four feet of sand was reportedly pushed into one beachside business.

Is this type of erosion normal? The question of whether we should just rebuild on the same spot is one thing we’ll be tackling. We’ll talk with environmental experts about how beach erosion is impacting the future of the coastline, including wildlife habitats and our efforts to protect roads, bridges, and homes. We'll talk about the environment’s natural cycle, and what we might do to avoid adverse effects, like building a “living shoreline,” or reinforcing seawalls.

We’ll also hear about an online coastal resilience tool that’s meant to help decision makers visualize sea-level rise and storm scenarios, and prevent more problems during the next Irene or Sandy.

Finally we'll take a look at how towns have been dealing with the massive amounts of debris generated by Sandy and other storms.