Coastal Defense: Strategies

Strategies Stabilization techniques
Hard Stabilization Soft Stabilization

There can be five possible strategies for coastal defense:

I. Do nothing, no protection

Leading to eventual abandonment; this option is very environmental friendly and the only pollution produced is from the resettlement process.

However it does mean losing a lot of land to the sea and peoplecoastal defense strategies will lose their houses and their homes.

II. Managed retreat or realignment:

Managed retreat allows an area that was not previously exposed to flooding by the sea to become flooded.

This process is usually in low lying estuarine or deltaic areas and almost always involves flooding of land that has at some point in the past been reclaimed from the sea.

The technique is used when the land adjacent to the sea is low in value.

A decision is made to allow the land to erode and flood, creating new sea, inter-tidal and salt-marsh habitats. This process may continue over many years and natural stabilization will occur.

III. Hold the line

shoreline protection, whereby seawalls are constructed around the coastlines

IV. Move seawards

by constructing new defenses seaward the original ones

V. Limited intervention, accommodation

by which adjustments are made to be able to cope with inundation, raising coastal land and buildings vertically

The decision to choose a strategy is site-specific, depending on pattern of relative sea-level change, geomorphologic setting, sediment availability and erosion, as well a series of social, economic and political factors.

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from standard technical literature & various websites including:,,,,,,,,,,,, &