viernes, 8 de junio de 2012

Assessing the environmental impacts of beach nourishment

Today I post an interesting work dealing about the impacts derived from beach nourishments.With sea levels rising under global warming, dredge-and-fill programs are increasingly employed to protect coastal development from shoreline  erosion. Such beach “nourishment” can bury shallow reefs and degrade other beach habitats, depressing nesting in sea turtles and reducing the  densities of invertebrate prey for shorebirds, surf fishes, and crabs. Despite decades of agency-mandated monitoring at great expense, much  uncertainty about the biological impacts of beach nourishment nonetheless exists. A review of 46 beach monitoring studies shows that (a) only 11  percent of the studies controlled for both natural spatial and temporal variation in their analyses, (b) 56 percent reached conclusions that were not adequately supported, and (c) 49 percent failed to meet publication standards for citation and synthesis of related work. Monitoring is typically  conducted through project promoters, with no independent peer review, and the permitting agencies exhibit inadequate expertise to review  biostatistical designs. Monitoring results are rarely used to scale mitigation to compensate for injured resources. Reform of agency practices is urgently needed as the risk of cumulative impacts grows.

Peterson, C.H., Bishop, J. (2005). Assessing the environmental impacts of beach nourishment. BioScience, 55 (10), 887-896.

Miquel Mir Gual

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