Living by the Rules of the Sea
is a primer for people living along the nation’s coastlines, those considering moving to the coast, or those who want a greater understanding of the risks and dangers posed by living at the seacoast. Published as part of Duke University Press’s Living with the Shore
series, but without a direct focus on the coastline of one particular state, this book is intended as an overall guide to coastal physical processes, risk assessment of potential property damage from coastal natural hazards, and property damage mitigation.
Over the past twenty years, the authors have mapped and studied most of the barrier islands in the United States and have experienced coastal processes such as storms and shoreline retreat at close range. They represent a coastal geology/oceanographic perspective that is decidedly in favor of preserving the natural protective capabilities of the native coastal environment. While strongly anti-engineering in outlook, Living by the Rules of the Sea
does provide a review of coastal engineering techniques. It also examines methods of repairing damage to the natural environment that lessen the prospect of further property damage. Finally, it employs a more inclusive “coastal zone” approach rather than simply concentrating on a more narrowly defined shoreline. Barrier islands are viewed as part of a larger system in which changes in one part of the system—for example, the mining of sand dunes or dredging offshore for beach replenishment sand—can have profound effects on another part of the system, predictable effects even though they may not be visible for years or decades.
A comprehensive handbook with references to recent storms including hurricanes Andrew, Gilbert, Hugo, Emily, and Opal, Living by the Rules of the Sea
is designed to help people make better and more informed choices about where or if to live at the coast.
List of Figures and Tables vii
1. Bigger Disasters Building to Happen 1
2. Learning the Rules 9
3. Storm Processes as Coastal Hazards 19
4. Coastal Risk Assessment 41
5. Evolving Approaches to Property Damage Mitigation: Focusing on the Island Front through Engineering and Regulation 65
6. Property Damage Mitigation Back from the Beach 103
7. The In-Between Case: Inlets and Property Damage Mitigation 123
8. Coastal Zone Hazards and Mitigation Options 137
9. Selected Risk Assessment and Property Damage Mitigation Recommendations: Atlantic and Gulf Coasts 145
10. Principles of Property Damage Mitigation 163
Appendix: Agencies Involved in Coastal Issues 171
Duke University Press has published a series, Living with the Shore, to educate the determined shore dweller. Maps show what is happening on each stretch of beach, in enough detail to cover specific homesites. The books offer guidelines for buying and building at the shore. They list federal, state, and local agencies that are involved in coastal development, as well as give up-to-date information on laws that regulate land use.”—Kelly Walker, Forbes