What: Hellshire Beach (above) is lined with thatched-roof restaurants offering a choice of the freshest seafood in all of Jamaica, at very reasonable prices. It is quite enjoyable and safe to swim in the warm Caribbean sea, float in an inner-tube, ride a donkey, or motor around on a jet-ski. It is also a great place to hear loud reggae music, not to mention run on the very same spot as the famous reggae musician, Bob Marley (below; Bob Marley on Hellshire Beach in 1973 © Esther Anderson).
Why: Hellshire Beach is eroding. Fortunately, the Half Moon Bay Fishermen’s Co-operative Society Limited (HMBL) has recognized the problem and has already obtained permits from the government to engage the services of the Beach Recovery Foundation to fix their beach.
What you can do to help: Jamaica, though rich in culture and heritage, is not a wealthy country. The Beach Recovery Foundation is therefore engaged in conversations with the HMBL on how best to raise funds for the project. Our equity financing proposal is awaiting their approval. In the meantime, we are funding research to SAVE THE WAVE.
What: American Samoa is an island chain paradise, located about 2600 miles southwest of Oahu, Hawaii, and 2500 miles northwest of Brisbane, Australia. Unfortunately, recent storm activity has resulted in constant erosion of its beaches, especially those located within Pago Pago Harbor, such as Utulei Beach.
Why: Cyclone Evan hit the island in December of 2012. Sea level rise and climate change have caused a large increase in storm energy and water runoff from land to sea.
What you can do to help: American Samoa still has some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. The island itself hosts a fabulous national park. Book your next vacation at a local hotel here and enjoy the freshest fish you will ever eat. And please help us fund whatever research or technology is necessary to begin reversing the erosion of American Samoa!
Respect the Earth | Save the Wave | Heal the Earth
Help us save your favorite beach!
What: The Outer Banks of North Carolina, plain and simple, are disappearing. Immediately below is what part of the town of Rodanthe looked like after hurricane Irene hit the area. The washed out road, Route 12, is the sole ground route to and from the mainland. Further below on the left is the surf in Hatteras breaking over Route 12. On the right is a closeup of the buckling that occurred all up and down Route 12 as a consequence of the resulting liquefaction.
Why: One longtime resident’s property (far below, left) has eroded the length of two football fields in the last ten years. Hatteras Point (far below, right), commonly considered the best fishing spot in the U.S., is disappearing at an alarming rate. People do not seem to realize that the main factor causing this erosion is man-made — the perpetual dredging of the Oregon Inlet-and that the erosion is reversible!
What you can do to help: Yes, hurricanes and storms in general have battered the Outer Banks since their formation. However, as we explain here, to say the rapid erosion of the area is nature taking its natural course, even if one subscribes to climate change, is ridiculous. Knowledge is power. Be informed. Please help us get the truth out to everyone– and make them take notice! Please help us fund whatever research or technology is necessary to begin reversing the erosion of the Outer Banks!
“What career?” my girlfriend Jenya asked in her deep cynical voice as she applied lipstick in the mirror. Her question was in reference to my musical aspirations. Or, more accurately, to my tribulations. I was a singer, trying to make it professionally. Jenya had been out all night without calling me. She was 24, Ukranian and, of course, beautiful, with ice blue eyes and moon-colored skin. I was 42 but claiming, professionally, 26. It was Feb 13th, a Saturday at 11:07 am. We stood in my cramped bathroom in Jackson Heights, Queens. I’d stupidly sold my Greenwich Village pad and bought a place far from the madding crowd. (Where I could compose). On the cheap sink was a bottle of my rocker-black hair dye, the color and consistency of motor oil. Next to this stood the five or six different anti-wrinkle and aging creams I used twice daily. Jenya brushed out the equine sheen of her own hair. Her freshly painted mouth was set tight with the stubborn resolve that women get when they’ve just made a decision. She zipped up her make-up bag conclusively. She was breaking up with me. She’d bet on the wrong horse.
“Where were you all night?” I asked timidly. Jenya squeezed by me out the bathroom door.
“Where were you?” I repeated more powerfully, coughing, following her.
“I had terrible evening,” Jenya muttered in her terrible English.
“But you’re not answering the question,” I cleared my throat, looked around at my crappy living room, strewn gymnasium style with laundry and boxes of the stuff I sold on ebay for a living. Barely. Jenya was collecting her things, all the while keeping one eye on me, as if I might pounce.
“Where are you going?” I said. I knew the answer.
“But I’ve given you a home. You live rent free,” I said desperately, magnanimously, spreading out my arms.
“Yeah, in Queens,” she said with revulsion.
How I loathed Queens. How spoiled I was. How different were my priorities then, for this was long before joining Beach discovery and trying to heal the earth.
After the breakup, I took the F train into Manhattan every day. I spent hours and hours commuting. Queens was like another country. A third world one. The borough I’d taken for granted became a charmed island that could do no wrong. Every one of Manhattan’s famous flaws, her emblems of filth and rage, were all at once yearningly quaint. As long as they were in Manhattan. A dust devil of garbage was a magical Charybdis. A phone booth with the receiver ripped out was “picturesque.” The magic carpet that would lift me out of Queens…continued to elude me. Had my muse not gone AWOL during this period, it no doubt would have allowed me a skeptical, a merciful narrative distance from myself. That is, had I been able to express my true feelings of that year in song (rather than the self-pitying little self-portraits I was producing), it might’ve gone something like: “I’m 42 years old. I’m single. I’m childless. My girlfriend dumped me. I hate Queens. I had to sell my home. I’m suffering from an acute case of Manhattan envy. I miss my father terribly.”
Evenings I spent obsessively practicing my songs and trying to write more. Nights I spent endlessly and nostalgically walking the circuit in downtown Manhattan near where I’d lived–along Bleecker Street and McDougal, from Kenny’s Castaways to The Café Wah?–where I stood outside of those clubs, smoking and all bust booing at the musical acts inside.
One Saturday in February, by the Church rampart wall on Mott Street that DeNiro scales in Mean Streets, I walked with my guitar on my back past the church garden. It was a cold, dime-bright afternoon. The gate, which was usually bound shut by a chain and padlock, was now open. I went into this church courtyard and wept among the statuary.
Four years later, hanging out with Gregory J on a weekday April morning, before work. I’d been employed by the Beach Recovery for a year, day by day trying to heal the earth. On our way to the office we wandered past that same SoHo garden. We were able to access it by walking through an antique store, empty save us. The door to the store had been open. Out in the garden I told Gregory the story of my past romanticism, my selfishness, my music career, the day I’d wept in this garden. And here was Gregory. Idealism personified. A man whose life had been changed by a car accident, who’d actually died and come back to life another person. A man whose value system had shifted. Who saw how precious every moment was. Especially in light of the impending peril of global warming, this doomsday quickened by coastal erosion. Gregory put other’s needs before his own. He lived like a Spartan, like a Ralph Nader. A man who’d dedicated his life to healing the earth. Suddenly, at our backs we heard:
“Get out of here.”
We turned around to see the antique store owner, a crooked, white-haired man of 80, his face red with rage.
“Are you crazy? Walking into a man’s home?”
“But we thought this was a business,” said Gregory in his soft, hypnotic voice. “It’s me, Allen. It’s Greg. I’m still trying to heal the earth.”
“I know who you are,” said the store owner, for Greg had two years before helped the man with protecting the garden from being turned into a development. “You’re crazy coming in here like that. Get out now. Leave me alone,” he yelled. His hands were shaking with anger.
I felt sorry for the guy. Gregory’s compassion was infectious, and so was his strength. Allen needed a hug. This was the epic problem with humanity. Nobody was listening. We had merely tried to walk out into the garden for a moment of peace, had walked through an empty store whose front door had been open. We’d sought refuge. To get out of the craziness. From a human harmonic frequency, when the world attacks you, you throw a childish tantrum. That’s what Allen, the antique store owner had done. He lacked respect.
As we left the store, Gregory spoke about the importance of respecting the people working hard to protect our country and the planet we live on. He spoke about loving our planet. For Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. Love the beach. Heal the Earth. The Beach Recovery.
Here’s What’s Happening of Late at The Beach Recovery Foundation!
July 7, 2015
The BRF is pleased to be collaborating with France TV 5 on a documentary covering natural threats facing the U.S., (e.g., earthquakes, hurricanes, erosion, sea level rise). Their East Coast filming will take place on the NY/NJ shore, Outer Banks, and Miami. If you would like to be involved, please let us know.
July 6, 2015
The BRF would like to pay tribute to Judy M. Little (1942-2015). Judy loved the Outer Banks, NC her entire life– from the days of renting cottages while starting a family to finally purchasing a cottage in 1972 and then retiring to Kitty Hawk in 2013. Judy and her family spent most of their lives walking the beaches and swimming the waters of the Outer Banks. Judy was passionate about the Outer Banks, about Kitty Hawk, about the beaches. She loved them with all of her heart.
July 2, 2015
A shout out to our friends at Pizza e Vita in NYC who agreed to host our upcoming fundraising event. Details upcoming. Below, our staff and interns enjoy all sorts of gourmet pizza.
The Benefits of Offshore Ports in the U.S. & Africa
By Marco Pluijm, Ports and Marine Sector Manager, Bechtel
In many parts of the world, offshore ports are a good solution for meeting the requirements of the rapid changes in the international container and bulk shipping industry. Bigger ships, changing routes and destinations require larger and deeper ports, which port owners and operators can be confident will be capable of handling ever-increasing sizes of vessels for many years to come.
Changing Shipping Routes
One of the major challenges in the current container shipping industry is to bundle and organize capacity in the most economical way. In terms of vessel size, Maersk is leading with its Triple E vessels, but the capacity of these new, larger ships needs to be combined with other main carriers in order for it to be effective. Various alliances have been formed, and new ones are being developed. As part of this process, capacity is being shifted to routes which haven’t changed for many years, for example in West Africa. Due to the so-called cascading down process, ships which were never originally intended for use in West Africa will now soon be there. Ports like Abidjan are already anticipating these changes and looking at possible solutions. Others are talking about it but haven’t really started to tackle the issue yet. However, many of the traditional ports lack the physical possibilities (in terms of size, depth, finance, etc.) to make the changes required to enable them to cater for larger vessels and increased capacity. As a consequence, offshore hubs along parts of the West and East African coasts are a solution: in the Guinea/Liberia region for the export of minerals; in the Cameroon/Gabon region for containers; and in Mozambique for bulk. The benefits are massive. We’ve predicted that the savings in investment and operational costs could add up to between 40 to 50 percent.
Similar developments can be seen on the East Coast of the U.S. Due to the same cascading effect and the fact that the biggest container vessels can sail direct via the Suez Canal straight to the U.S. East Coast, an option that is rapidly developing as an alternative for the New Panama Canal. The route via Suez has a greater degree of freedom in terms of ship sizes, especially when the planned increase in two-lane capacity is ready. The big question now is if and how quickly the U.S. East Coast ports can adjust to this development. New cranes have just been ordered and installed for the New Panamax vessel sizes. Some ports have dredged their channels and quays and widened their basins at substantial cost. Others aren’t yet ready to do this, which might be an advantage. Investing in an offshore port could be the best solution by providing a hub for a whole region with fewer limitations for long term development than is often the case in existing ports without limitations in free height (draft), which is an issue in New Jersey for instance, or for various environmental reasons.
Are Offshore Ports a Solution?
Some coasts are just not suitable for deep water ports due to their extended shallow foreshore. For a required water depth of say 20 m, a deep water port might need to be 15 km or more away from the shoreline. This is a situation found along large parts of the African coast, particularly in West and East Africa. So instead of bringing the ship to the port and dredging long and deep channels and port basins on the coastline, one solution could be to bring the port to the ship at the required water depth with an offshore port providing various handling facilities for bulk and/or terminals for containers. Barging the cargo to and from the offshore facility and terminals to nearby coastal or river ports, and using existing corridors and facilities can thus save on capital construction and operational costs. It can also reduce the environmental impact and minimize the ecological footprint. By concentrating present and future development in one spot, an offshore port could work very well not just in Africa but also in the U.S. Currently, up to 70 percent of all West Coast containers move east by rail and road. If only 20 percent of these containers would shift from overland transport to all-water direct import via the Suez Canal to an East Coast offshore port, this would save:
* 20 to 30 percent on direct freight costs from the Far East to the U.S. East coast due to the all-water economy of larger scale shipping
* 30 to 40 percent (or even more) on direct freight costs due to 40 to 50 percent shorter overland transport distance in the U.S. itself
* 20 to 30 percent in emissions on the all-water-route (lower fuel consumption, more efficient engines) plus a 40 to 50 percent reduction in overland transport emissions.
The estimated overall cost reduction for an East Coast multi-user offshore hub compared to improving existing ports and relying on overland transport is between 30 to 40 percent for both investment and operations. And lower freight costs could also mean lower consumer prices and therefore a better situation for the overall economy. Instead of ships first going via Caribbean hubs, having an offshore port hub in the United States would mean that without extra handling, the industry can keep money and jobs in the U.S.
For the mining industry, using an off-shore hub would provide overall better performance and therefore easier overall feasibility of the whole development, which means earlier viability of the development of the whole prospect. Mining projects that weren’t feasible in the traditional setting with a rail link and one or more coastal ports can become viable when choosing an offshore hub. Even more so when in combination with (in- land) barging or coastal shipping.
In the offshore port model, no dredging is required as the facility is placed in water of sufficient depth, say 20 to 22 meters. In order to avoid or reduce the need for expensive breakwaters, technologies such as dynamically controlled mooring and proactive fender systems will be used to guarantee safe operations and a sufficient wide operating window for handling the cargo.
For bulk, the degrees of freedom are usually much larger than for containers, which is why these dynamic systems are being used on an increasing number of container terminals all over the world, especially in existing ports with heavy swell issues.
For containers, the offshore hub would consist of a smart terminal arrangement of say two or three berths for the main carriers and four or five for barges to nearby ports and coastal shipping. The facilities can be extended in almost any combination with dry bulk, wet bulk and containers, depending on zoning and safety requirements.
This concept is not entirely new. Bechtel has already built the deep water Khalifa Port and Khalifa Industrial Zone in Abu Dhabi, one of the world’s largest combined port and industrial zone developments. However, Khalifa Port is connected to the mainland by a causeway and bridge and the offshore hub proposal is essentially an island. There are similarities in terms of port and terminal operations, as well as scale. The offshore hub would be able to handle up to 4 million TEU per year.
The offshore hub represents a viable solution to the future needs of ports, which need to adapt to the ever-increasing sizes of vessels, particularly in the U.S. and Africa. Offering the opportunity to save costs, minimize environmental impact and increase capacity, this concept could provide the answer where traditional ports cannot. Its prospects look promising. In Africa, the multi-user offshore port concept provides a strategic solution by maximizing the benefits of infrastructure corridors. While in the U.S., Bechtel is currently in discussions with various government agencies about the development of an offshore port on the East Coast.
Note: The following article was written/published on February 6, 2015 by Talanei.com – “News & More for American Samoa.” The photograph of CEO Greg Sarno being interviewed by KVZK TV at Utulei Park, was added by the Beach Recovery Foundation.
Group wants to study beach erosion
A group from the United States, Beach Recovery Foundation, wants to help the territory address beach erosion and their CEO and vice president are here to seek government approval for a pilot study on beach erosion at Utulei and Fagaalu.
A key objective of Beach Recovery Foundation is to educate, fund and study research to solve the erosion problem around the world.
Gregory Sarno, founder and chairman of the foundation says in correspondence with the Department of Commerce that they propose a pilot study at their own costs at Fagaalu and Utulei beaches to learn the cause of the erosion and identify how best to control it.
Mr. Sarno and Vice President, Real Estate and Special Programs, Jeffrey Mitchell arrived over the weekend to meet with ASG officials as well as leaders of the two villages involved to explain what they are trying to do.
They will also be diving at Utulei and Fagaalu to collect data.
The study will involve placing what are called geo textile tubes filled with sand in one area and another with concrete to compare the effectiveness of either method to prevent erosion.
There will also be a coastal engineering analysis.
The study is proposed for one year and upon completion the group says it will hand over results to ASG.
The two officials have done presentations for Fagaalu and Utulei villages and government departments and are scheduled to conduct one for the governor on Monday.
The Beach Recovery Foundation Declares a State of Emergency for Hatteras Island
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 – Press Release
Buxton, NC – The Beach Recovery Foundation (BRF) today declared that a breach of Route 12 just north of Buxton is imminent, which the BRF predicts will result in a new inlet, sealing Hatteras Island off from the rest of the Outer Banks.
According to a July, 2013 study presented to the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, entitled “Hatteras Island Economic Impact,” in 2011, tourism generated $204 million, accounted for 2618 jobs, and contributed to $10.3 million in state taxes and $9.4 million in local taxes – most of it during the summer months. A shutdown of the island would therefore have a severe impact on the entire state of North Carolina.
The BRF has determined that the erosion of Hatteras Island is man-made – not “nature taking its course” – and is thus reversible, stemming from the constant dredging of the Oregon Inlet. However, the BRF does acknowledge the importance of the fishing industry and is striving to find an environmentally friendly way to allow it to continue to thrive.
We urge North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory to declare Hatteras Island a disaster area so that the necessary federal and state funds may be allocated to beach nourishment and other measures that will protect the area for as long as possible until a permanent solution can be researched and implemented.
According to Western Carolina University, North Carolina has carried out 221 beach nourishment projects totaling $617,223,415 in 2012 dollars and covering 1,131,163 feet. Of that, only seven were done on Hatteras Island, with a total cost of $11,415,909 in 2012 dollars, and only covering a mere 5951 feet. Worse, the last beach nourishment project dates all the way back to 1973 – 41 years ago.
The BRF reminds everyone that evidence of human presence at the Outer Banks dates back to 11,000BC. The island predates Plymouth, MA as the first English colony. It is therefore one of America’s rare historical and environmental treasures that must be preserved regardless of how it came to be in its present state.
About the Beach Recovery Foundation, Inc.
The mission of the Beach Recovery Foundation is to a) create awareness of, and b) seek out and fund research and development solutions designed to remedy man-made coastal erosion directly attributable to the construction and maintenance of navigation inlets. The Beach Recovery Foundation firmly believes technology exists today that can de-energize wave energy allowing a) sand from a dredge to be stabilized, creating a much longer-lasting result, and b) sand at the near-shore to be perpetually accreted.
One of The Beach Recovery Foundation’s campaigns is “Save the Banks,” an outreach program to find ways to preserve and protect the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Please find us on the web at http://savethebanks.org/ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BeachRecoveryFoundation. The Beach Recovery Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non for profit organization. All donations are tax-exempt.
Spending hundreds of millions of dollars for a supposed long-term bridge bypass solution for the constantly eroding Pea Island in the Outer Banks is akin to planning heart replacement surgery on a sick patient instead of first trying to cure him/her of the underlying illness. Replacing the existing Bonner Bridge will stabilize the patient – the beleaguered residents of the Banks — and allow for plenty of saved money to be used to research a cure for the underlying erosion of Pea Island and the Banks in general. The end result will be renewed traffic flow through to Hatteras, a healthy Pea Island, and plenty of leftover money to spend toward additional conservation of the entire region.
It is no secret that the Outer Banks are eroding at an alarming rate. However, as this problem is largely man-made, namely the constant dredging of the Oregon Inlet, it is reversible. Specifically, every time there is a dredge, it sucks more and more coastline into the giant hole that is created. So to say this is all nature’s doing, deal with it, is absurd.
There are those who argue that money spent on the Outer Banks benefits tourists and a relative few North Carolina residents. What they fail to recognize is that barrier islands are just that–barriers. If the Outer Banks were to suddenly disappear, a large stretch of the main coastline – way more populous and built-up than the outer banks – would get smashed instead. The cost would not be in the millions, but many billions. Furthermore, the three million tourists who flock to the Outer Banks each year bring in significant tax revenue for the entire state.
Then there are those who consider our shorelines as playgrounds for the wealthy. While the coast is for sure a desirable place to live, save the entire U.S. going under water, there will always be a coastline regardless of who decides to live there. At some point we do literally have to draw a line in the sand and protect our shores from hurricanes the same way we routinely protect our houses from earthquakes or tornadoes. Restoring dune structures and the natural bathymetry of the ocean bottom through accretion engineering would not just stabilize the beaches, but also naturally dissipate strong wave energy, allowing sand to be deposited on shore, not be carried out to sea.
In 1999, geologist Richard L. Watson prepared a study for the state of Texas chronicling the enormous loss of sand from the Bolivar Peninsula off Galveston Bay resulting from the creation of the man-made Rollover Fish Pass. His recommendations to reverse this man-made problem, which concurred with ‘every scientific and engineering study for 40 years’, were ignored. In 2008, with nature’s defenses eroded away, Hurricane Ike knocked 99.5% of the structures off their foundations, destroying most of them. If we allow hundreds of millions to be spent on a long bypass bridge in the Outer Banks instead of on reversing erosion, in the near future the bridge may be the only structure left standing, leading to nowhere.
The Beach Recovery Foundation does not pretend to have all the answers. However, we do recognize that, like the Bolivar Peninsula, the Outer Banks are at a critical danger level where something needs to be done short-term, in addition, not instead of, something being planned for the long term. We also recognize that the Outer Banks is truly the first British Colony, not Jamestown, and therefore its value to US history, let alone the state of North Carolina, is priceless. We therefore truly cannot comprehend how any proud North Carolinian would ever want to see the Outer Banks fade into the sea-at least without a fight.