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Engineering Impacts in the Coastal Environment

The anthropogenic (human-influenced) alteration of our coasts may take many forms including, but not limited to, the creation and/or stabilization of inlets, beach nourishment, sediment bypassing, the creation of dunes for property protection, dredging of waterways, and the construction of hard structures such as jetties, groins, and seawalls. These alterations can significantly impact coastal systems and park resources.

According to NPS management policies, natural coastal processes such as erosion, deposition, and shoreline migration, will be allowed to continue without interference. However, if natural processes have damaging effects on park resources (biological and physical), modifications to coastal dynamics may be necessary. Where human activities or structures have altered coastal dynamics the NPS works to return these areas to their natural conditions.

Featured Programs

Soft Engineering

Highway 12 in Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Soft engineering uses soft methods including dredging, beach nourishment, and beach scraping to limit erosion and achieve shoreline stabilization. Learn more...

Hard Engineering

Grions at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

Hard structures are often placed in coastal environments to counteract erosion in sediment-deficient areas, or to deter accretion in dynamic areas such as inlets. Hard engineering includes breakwaters, seawalls, jetties, and groins. Learn more...

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Last Updated: December 30, 2016