Stakeholders, Scientific Claims & Making Policy Decisions
What is Beach Nourishment?
Also referred to as beach renourishment, beach replenishment, or sand replenishment, beach nourishment is the process of adding sand from a source location (typically from an inlet, offshore deposit or nearby spit) to an eroding shoreline. The first beach nourishment project took place in New York during the 1920s and has since become an increasingly popular alternative to hardened structures. Beach nourishment creates a new beach or widens the existing beach, which provides storm damage relief and recreation for beach communities and visitors. However, there are also many environmental concerns that accompany these expensive projects. Consequently, nourishment has a mixed reception among the parties involved.
Beach nourishment has become a prime example of a knowledge controversy. The scientific research conducted on the topic is largely done by studying other cases of nourishment. There are a myriad of variables and concerns that must be considered in these studies. The degree too which many variables and impacts can be studied is fairly limited as well. Thus many claims on both sides of the argument do not have absolute proof as they are primarily based on inferences and observations. Still, stakeholders have turned to science to substantiate their claims and promote their policy. This has caused many scientists to become involved in many different ways. Though most research remains objective, scientists have played increasing roles in advocating different points. Many government agencies are involved too, even to the point that some interests conflict. With so many variables and interests to be considered, beach nourishment has now become a major knowledge controversy. Check out our stakeholders page to learn about the different key players involved in the controversy of beach nourishment.
Google Books Ngram Viewer
Google Books Ngram Viewer, provides charts frequencies of search strings using yearly count of n-grams found in journals, books, and sources printed between 1500 and 2008. Here we try to compare the usage of term “beach nourishment” and “beach replenishment”. Both are interchangeable and the most used term to refer the issue we discuss on this website. Ngram graph shows the higher use of “beach nourishment”, and the peaked occurrence happen in 1998 and significantly declining towards 2008. “Beach nourishment” started being used in the literature on 1947 and “beach replenishment” in 1961. The percentages along the Y axis are out of the total number of sources that used the term "beach nourishment" or "beach replenishment" over the given time period.
Beach Nourishment in Numbers
Below is the map and detailed data of beach nourishment projects in North Carolina. Feel free to check the data on beach nourishment projects in other states from Program for the Study of Developed Shoreline at Western Carolina University's website here.