Coastal Engineering—Hard Structures

arial photo of shoreline
Aerial view of jetty in Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina.

NPS photo.

Hard structures are often placed in coastal environments to counteract erosion in sediment-deficient areas, or to deter accretion in sediment-rich areas such as inlets. Unfortunately, these anthropogenic modifications may accelerate erosion in adjacent downdrift areas, increasing the need for additional hard structures. The creation of new hard structures on open ocean coasts is currently banned in many states, or strongly discouraged as coastal management practice. Hard engineering includes groins, jetties, seawalls, revetments, and breakwaters.

Last updated: April 9, 2019


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