In general, a beach is a flat, gently sloping piece of land that borders the edge of a body of water, lake, or river. Sand typically covers most beaches, while other beach materials like pebbles, rocks and shells cover the remainder. Most beach materials are eroded by the effects of wind and weathering. Beach sand can be coarse or fine grained sand and may be colored from brown, black, blue, white or even green.
Beach hazards include tornadoes, hurricanes, waves, surfacing debris (like sticks, rocks and eggs), knee-deep sand, oil slicks, crocodiles, turtles, sharks and scavenging birds. All these things can wreak havoc on beaches, making them unusable. If you want to make your beach a fun place to hang out, consider laying out some picnic tables, chairs, a grill, beach toys and maybe even an inflatable moonwalk or bouncer. These things will make your beach a fun place to swim in and relax in, especially if there are a lot of waves and the beach is rocky.
Coastal erosion is the result of the sea washing away the sands that cover the land. Erosion can be caused by many factors, including wind, rain, snow, ice and icebergs. Coastal erosion can take place in different ways. Some shorelines wash away slowly over many years, gradually building up eroding layers of sand along the shoreline. Other shorelines are extremely fast, eroding away much of the sand in only a few days, leaving an exposed steep cliff face.
Sandstone is one of the best types of sediment for building coastal dikes, embankments, steps and walls. Its naturally flat face is ideally suited to constructing walls, stepping stones and dikes. It is also excellent for offshore structures such as fences, breakers and light fixtures. If you live in an area where there are many granite slabs on the beach, you could consider renting a sandstone berm or an offshore sandstone quarry.
Sand particles can be very abrasive and can damage fragile structures like paddle sandscrews and rip stop boots. Sand is susceptible to sand storm, especially when washed by large waves. When sand storm’s approach, the wind can pick up sand and scatter it along the beach. These particles then make it difficult to find the “right” spot to anchor or lay down a sand anchor line.
Rocks are another excellent choice for storm protection. Not only do they provide protection from winds and beach debris, but they act as barriers against erosion as well. They form headlands or bays around coastal areas that are susceptible to seasonal change due to tides and other seasonal factors. Hiking along a rocky terrain near the beach will help you discover how these natural phenomena affect the landscape.
Nutrients and low-water levels are threats to natural vegetation along the coastline. Long-term exposure to sediments and waves can take a toll on these plants. However, some plants may be better adapted than others to a sand substrate and low water table. Sand provides food for many marine wildlife and insects and creatures. As these natural resources dwindle, so too do the habitats of some beach wildlife species.
Dune growth is not only a threat to infrastructure, it can destroy infrastructure if it becomes severe enough. This threat is particularly serious in southern California and Florida, because these are two of the most popular tourist destinations on the West Coast. Southern California has one of the best beach ecosystems in the country. Florida is well-known for its unique natural environment, including dunes and driftwood. If you have never visited the normally-dry climate of the west coast, you owe it to yourself to see what is has to offer.