I’m no engineer or geomorphologist, so I am not entirely sure what’s best for Long Beach storm surge protection. I am surprised, however, how most people are quick to say that a sea wall is our only option. Within the next several months, the battle of dunes & sea walls will heat up. Some will say dunes are just a temporary fix that will constantly need to be replenished. But what about a sea wall? Is it really the best way to protect our Civitas ad Mare?
Here are a few reasons why I’m not sold on them:
1. Beach Erosion.
Seawalls may accelerate erosion of the adjacent, unprotected coastal areas because they affect the littoral drift process (source).
Ok, I have no idea what littoral drift process means, but I do know some basic physics. Think of Newtons Third Law of Motion:
When a first body exerts a force F1 on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force F2 = −F1 on the first body. This means that F1 and F2 are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction.
In other words: To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction: or the forces of two bodies on each other are always equal and are directed in opposite directions. (See photo of what Sandy did to the boardwalk next to a wall.)
The ocean smashing against a sea wall will cause MAJOR beach erosion. Of course, who cares about the beach if it means our homes are protected, right? But what about this next issue:
2. Turning Long Beach into a Bathtub. If we build a ten foot sea wall, what happens with an eleven foot wave? Where will the water recede? Please don’t say the bay! Speaking of the bay, do we build a sea wall around the entire Island? No, because then Long Beach is a bathrub! (Think Katrina)
A seawall would most likely protect us from 99% of the storms, but this bathtub-thing scares the crap out of me. I don’t want to be that guy on my roof flagging down helicopters.
3. Graffiti. Yes, It’s ridiculous to put beauty over protection, but THE GREAT WALL OF LONG BEACH lining our beach will be prone to graffiti. That is a guarantee and there will be no stopping it. We will paint over the stupid tag-lines here and there, but before you know it, the Great Wall of Long Beach will be pretty damn ugly with all those paint patches.
That’s all I can think of right now. What do you guys think? Any to add or dismiss? Discuss.