U.S. beaches and those around the world are fighting a losing battle to global climate change. Rising sea levels are forcing governments and home owners to face the prospect of higher costs in protecting their beaches. Past efforts at stemming rising waters in the past was to build jetties and sea walls. Today the preferred method is beach nourishment, a process that pumps sand from the ocean floor back onto the beach. Beach nourishment is used to rebuild dunes and restore shore line beach front. The problem with rebuilding dunes is that with each passing year they must be built higher. As the dunes grow to protect the homes and land areas behind them, new conflicts arise with homeowners. In New Jersey, a state that garners over $20 billion in tourism dollars because of their 128 miles of uninterrupted shore line, beach front home owners want compensation for lost ocean views due to growing dune build ups. Beach front homeowners whose views are being blocked have won compensation awards for lost views that are staggering to the communities that are seeking to save their beaches. In the small town of Harvey Cedars, NJ a recent award gave a homeowner $480,000 for a lost ocean view. The town had offered $300, but a court ruling overturned it. The whole beach replenishment project is now in jeopardy for that community. Those who own ocean front property do know the risks that are associated with their locations. Hurricanes, winter storms, and rising ocean waters can and will eventually damage or destroy these ocean front properties. Expecting local government to compensate for lost views in an attempt to prevent this from happening to their homes is just plain ridiculous. They knew the risk when they bought there, as does anyone who buys property on an island or water front. The oceans are rising, and we like the little Dutch boy do everything to plug the growing leaks. Perhaps future dune build ups should just bypass those homeowners that want to keep their views. Build up the beaches around them, but allow the ocean waters to keep coming up to their properties. Let see how long their homes will last then.
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Photo: Harvey Cedars, NJ Beach Replenishment. Photo By John Vlahakis