[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]
Living with the Alabama -Mississippi shore -7 Wayne F. Canis T. [email protected] William J. Neal Orrin H. Pilkey, Jr. Orrin H. Pilkey, Sr. d0 lip �R OW HT393 .A4 @)ggog, @1111F, , FH3 T A4 L L 58 c 8 1985 NOR Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Program KASGP-84-008 MISSISSIPPI-ALABAMA C__b SEA GRANT CONSORTIUM Caylor Building Gulf Coast Research Laboratory Ocean Springs, Mississippi 39564 Living with the Alabama -Mississippi shore I I . I I I Living with the Shore Series editors Orrin H. Pilkey, Jr. William J. Neal The beaches are moving: the drowning of America7s shoreline, new e&tion Wallace Kaufman and Orrin H. Pilkey, Jr. Living with the Louisiana shore Joseph I Kelley, Alice R. Kelley, Orrin H. Pilkey, Sr., and Albert A. Clark Living with the Texas shore Robert A. Morton, Orrin H. Pilkey, Jr., Orrin H. Pilkey, Sr., and William J. Neal Living with the West Florida shore Larry J. Doyle, Dinesh C. Sharma,. Albert C. Hine, Orrin H. Pilkey, Jr., William I Neal, Orrin H. Pilkey, Sr., David Martin, and Daniel F. Belknap Living with the East Florida shore Orrin H. Pilkey, Jr., Dinesh C. Sharma, Harold R. Wanless, Larry J. Doyle, Orrin H. Pilkey, Sr., William J. Neal, and Barbara L. Gruver Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore Wayne F. Canis William J. Neal Orrin H. Pilkey, Jr. and Orrin H. Pilkey, Sr. C" Cn Property of CSC Library Duke University Press Durham, North Carolina 1985 US Department of Commerce KOAA Coastal Services Center Library 2234 South Hobson Avenue Charleston, SC 29405-2413 This work is a result of research sponsored in part by NOAA 1985 Duke University Press, all rights reserved Office of Sea Grant, Department of Commerce under Grant No.: Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper NA8 i AA-D-0005o, and the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Con- Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data sortium. The U.S. Government is authorized to produce and dis- Main entry under title: tribute reprints for governmental purposes notwithstanding any Living with the Alabama-Mississippi shore. copyright notation that may appear hereon. (Living with the shore) Publication of the various volumes in the Living with the Shore Bibliography: p. Includes index. series has been greatly assisted by the following individuals and i. House construction. 2. Shore protection -Alabarna. organizations: the American Conservation Association, an anony- 3. Shore protection- Mississippi. 4. Coastal zone management -Alabama. 5. Coastal zone management- mous Texas foundation, the Charleston Natural History Society, Mississippi. 6. Coasts -Alabama. 7. Coasts -Mississippi. the Coastal Zone Management Agency (NOAA), the Geraldine R. 1. Canis, Wayne F., 1939- . 11. Series. TH481a.L58 1985 333.9"7'09761 84-24679 Dodge Foundation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, ISBN 0-8223-0510-0 the George Gund Foundation, the Mobil Oil Corporation, Eliza- ISBN o-8223-0511-9 (pbk.) beth O'Connor, the Sapelo Island Research Foundation, the Sea Grant programs of North Carolina, Florida, Mississippi/ Alabama, and New York, The Fund for New Jersey, M. Harvey Weil, and Patrick H. Welder, Jr. The Living with the Shore series is part of the Duke University Program for the Study of Developed Shore- lines. Contents Where does the beach sand come from? 29 List of figures and tables viii Where do seashells come from? 30 Why do beaches erode? 30 Foreword xi If most shorelines are eroding, what is the long-range future of beach development? 31 1. A coastal perspective 1 What can I do about my eroding beach? 31 Top of the rainbow: a brief description of the coast 1 The evolution of barrier islands: how they operate 32 Southern Riviera or New Jersey of the South? 6 Front side moves back by erosion 33 New Jerseyization: man's mistakes 6 Back of island moves landward by growth 33 Practical advice 8 The island maintains its elevation during migration 33 The foundations of development: historical perspective 8 Coastal environments: an integrated system 34 Guess who came to dinner? 10 Hurricane history: the lesson of the past 10 3. Man and the shoreline 36 Hurricane origin: blow, blow, blow the man down 17 Shoreline engineering: no deposit-no return 36 Hurricane forces: the triple punch 18 Beach replenishment 36 Ranking hurricanes: the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale 19 Groins and jetties 39 Seawalls 41 2. Shoreline dynamics 21 Sea-level rise: built-in obsolescence 43 Barrier islands: the line of defense 21 The future of beach "protection": increasing natural and social resis- The origin of barrier islands: where did they come from? 21 tance 45 The accelerating rise in sea level 24 A philosophy of shoreline conservation: "We have met the enemy and The mainland shore: keeping step with the sea-level rise 26 he is us" 45 Beaches: the shock absorbers 26 Truths of the shoreline- 47 How does the beach respond to a storm? 27 The solutions 49 How does the beach widen? 28 Questions to ask if shoreline engineering is proposed 49 vi Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore 4. Selecting a site along the Alabama-Mississippi coast 51 Individual area analysis: high-, moderate-, and low-risk zones 69 Choosing your area: the first step to safety 51 Alabama 69 Selecting your site: playing the odds 53 Baldwin County 69 Stability indicators: what to look for at your site 54 Perdido Bay area 69 Terrain and elevation 54 Gulf beaches (Perdido Pass to West Beach) 71 Vegetation 54 Fort Morgan Peninsula 80 Soil profiles 54 Mobile Bay: eastern shore 84 Seashells 55 Mobile County 92 Coastal environments: what natural processes are operating at the Mobile 92 site 55 Mobile Bay: western shore 94 Primary dunes 55 Mississippi Sound: Alabama shore 96 Dune fields 56 Dauphin Island 98 Overwash fans 56 Mississippi 104 Grasslands 58 Jackson County 104 Passes (inlets) 58 Grand Batture Islands, Point Aux Chenes, Bayou Casotte 104 Forest, thicket, and shrub areas 58 Pascagoula- Pascagoula Bay 105 Marshes 58 Gautier to Ocean Springs 107 BI uffs 60 Ocean Springs 109 Water problems: an invisible crisis 60 Gulf Islands National Seashore 109 Water supply 61 Petit Bois Island 110 Waste disposal 62 Horn Island 110 Finger canals 62 Ship Island 111 Site safety: rules of survival 64 Harrison County 111 Checklist for evaluation of the safety of your site 65 Deer Island: a case example of development controversy 112 Escape routes 68 Biloxi to Pass Christian 115 Select an escape route ahead of time 68 Hancock County 121 Use the escape route early 68 Bay St. Louis, Waveland, Clermont Harbor- Lakeshore 121 Contents vil Clermont Harbor to Pearl River 123 Keeping dry: pole or "stilt" houses 143 Past reflections, future expectations 123 An existing house: what to look for, where to improve 150 Geographic location 150 5. The coast, land use, and the law 124 How well built is the house? 150 Coastal Barrier Resources Act of 1982 125 What can be done to improve an existing house? 157 The National Flood Insurance Program 125 Mobile homes: limiting their mobility 159 High-rise buildings: the urban shore 160 Some flood insurance facts 125 Hurricane evacuation 129 Modular-unit construction: prefabricating the urban shore 164 Coastal zone management 129 An unending game: only the players change 166 Mississippi 130 Alabama 131 Appendix A. Hurricane checklist 167 Building codes 135 Appendix B. A guide to federal, state, and local agencies involved In Mobile home regulations 136 coastal development 171 Water quality and waste disposal 137 Endangered species 137 Appendix C. Useful references 189 6. Building or buying a house near the beach 138 Index 211 Real estate roulette: protecting your bet 138 Coastal realty versus coastal reality 138 The structure: concept of balanced risk 139 Coastal forces: design requirements 140 Hurricane winds 140 Storm surge 142 Hurricane waves 142 Barometric pressure changes 142 House selection 143 Figures and tables Figures 1.1. Index map of the Alabama- Mississippi coast 2 2.7. Dynamic equilibrium of the beach 27 1.2. Sand Island Lighthouse 4 2.8. Beach flattening in response to a storm 28 1.3. New Jerseyization 7 2.9. Coastal environments 29 1.4. Typical northeastern Gulf hurricane tracks for the past 3.1. Model of beach nourishment 37 century 12 3.2. Harrison County's artificial beach in Mississippi 38 1.5. Historic hurricane destruction 14 3.3. Perdido Pass jetties 39 1.6. Flooding along foot of Government Street, Mobile 14 3.4. Groin field on the eastern end of Dauphin Island 40 1.7. The Hurricane of 1947 destroyed the Harrison County, Missis- 3.5. Model map view of a groined shoreline 40 sippi, seawall 15 3.6. Seawall Saga 42 1.8. Damage to building behind seawall due to the 1947 hurricane, 3.7. Monmouth Beach, New Jersey, seawall 43 Harrison County, Mississippi 15 3.8. Cape May, New Jersey, seawall 46 1.9. Hurricane Camille of August 1969 in Pass Christian, Mississippi 3.9. Beach loss and New Jerseyization of shore resulting from shore- 16 line engineering 49 1.10. Eastbound lane of U.S. Highway 90 in Pass Christian, Mississippi, 4.1. Overwash fan produced by Hurricane Frederic on Dauphin Island destroyed during Hurricane Camille 17 57 2.1. Position of the Gulf shoreline 15,000-18,000 years ago 22 4.2. Storm pass produced by Hurricane Frederic 59 2.2. Origin of barrier islands in a rising sea level 23 4.3. Finger canal 60 2.3. Western migration of Petit Bois Island and western Dauphin Island 4.4. Finger canal model illustrating associated water quality problems 23 63 2.4. Configuration of tidal deltasthatform in frontof and behind passes 4.5. Post-Frederic view of finger canals on Dauphin Island 64 -between barrier islands 24 4.6. Site analysis: Perdido Key to Shelby Lakes 66 2.5. Sea-level rise and flooding of the continental shelf during the past 4.7. Condominium construction on Perdido Key 70 18,000 years 25 4.8. Ono Island and bridge onto Perdido Key prior to development on 2.6. Ratio of horizontal shoreline migration to vertical sea-level rise the key 71 26 4.9. Romar Beach area illustrating contrasting site safety 73 List of figures and tables ix 4.10. Site analysis: Shelby Lakes, Gulf Shores, West Beach, Little La- 4.30. Site analysis: Bayou Casotte- Pascagoula to Belle Fontaine Point goon 74 106 4.11. Post-Frederic construction in the Gulf Shores area 76 4.31. Site analysis: Belle Fontaine Point to Ocean Springs, and Deer 4.12. Area between Gulf Shores and inlet into Little Lagoon 77 Island 108 4.13. Rubble of cinder block cottage on north shore of Little Lagoon 4.32. Site analysis: Deer Island- Biloxi- Edgewater Park-Back Bay of 77 Biloxi 113 4.14. Site analysis: Fort Morgan Peninsula 78 4.33. Site analysis: Mississippi City- Gulf port- Long Beach 116 4.15. Building sites at Surfside Shores laid out on the back of the 4.34. Site analysis: Pitcher Point-Pass Christian-Bayou Portage 119 beach 80 4.35. Damaged seawall in vicinity of Bay St. Louis 120 4.16. Row of beach-front cottages at Surfside Shores facing the Gulf 4.36. Site analysis: Bay St. Lou i s-Waveland -Clermont Harbor-Lake- without protection 81 shore 122 4.17. Hurricane Frederic's debris on bay side of Fort Morgan Penin- 5.1. Post-Frederic construction, West Beach, Alabama 132 sula 82 5.2. Early construction phase of Lei Lani Towers on Perdido Key 133 4.18. Stumps and debris on beach are evidence of a retreating shore- 6.1. Forces to be reckoned with at the shoreline 141 line 83 6.2. Modes of failure and how to deal with them 144 4.19. Site analysis: Bon Secour Bay and Weeks Bay 84 6.3. Shallow and deep supports for poles and posts 145 4.20. The armored eastern shore of Mobile Bay 86 6.4. Framing system for an elevated house 146 4.21. Site analysis: Mobile Bay's eastern shore; Mullet Point to Fair- 6.5. Pole house with poles extending to the roof 147 hope 86 6.6. Tying floors to poles 148 4.22. Site analysis: Mobile Bay's eastern shore; Red Bluff to Bridge- 6.7. Inadequate piling depths and inadequate size and bracing of pil- head 88 ings are common causes of failure during storm-surge flooding 4.23. Bluff shoreline 90 149 4.24. Site analysis: Head-of-the-Bay 91 6.8. Foundation anchorage 151 4.25. Site analysis: Mobile Bay's western shore; Mobile to Dauphin 6.9. Stud-to-floor, plate-to-floor framing methods 151 Island Causeway 92 6.10. Roof-to-wall connectors 152 4.26. Site analysis: Mississippi Sound 97 6.11. Where to strengthen a house 153 4.27. Active dune field, eastern Dauphin Island 98 6.12. Reinforced tie beam for concrete block walls 155 4.28. Site analysis: Dauphin Island 100 6.13. Tieclowns for mobile homes 156 4.29. Development on western Dauphin Island in high-hazard zone 6.14. Hardware for mobile home tiedowns 157 102 x Living with the Alabama- Missi ssi ppi shore 6.15. Mobile home in wooden frame was destroyed by Hurricane Fred- eric 161 6.16. Some rules for selecting or designing a house 165 Tables 1.1. Damage data for Hurricane Camille in Mississippi 11 1.2. Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale 20 4.1. Storm stillwater surge levels 52 5.1. Alabama-Mississippi barrier coast affected by Coastal Barrier Act 126 6.1. Tiedown anchorage requirements 160 Preface being carried out at an ever-increasing rate. First came the harbors and ports that required channel maintenance; then came the sea- shore resorts that attracted construction on the retreating shore- lines. Earlier generations of Americans were either wise enough to locate properly or resigned to watch their homes fall victim to People have lived at the shore for thousands of years, and shoreline retreat; but modern coastal developers are more inclined throughout that time nature has taught lessons about how shore- to build to the very edge of the sea, then find it necessary to lines change. Sometimes these lessons have been subtle, barely attempt to stop shoreline retreat in order to extend the lifespans of noticeable, but more often the lessons have been of the "hard buildings along the shore. The long-range results of such efforts, knocks" variety in which property and lives were lost. This is the however, are economic and environmental calamity. Such results case for Alabama and Mississippi. No other part of the American are visible along the New Jersey, South Florida, and other older coast has suffered more severely from recent hurricanes. Part of coastal development shorelines. Coasts strewn with rubble from the presentation that follows is an examination of the dangers destroyed "protective" structures attest to the fact that humanity's disguised by the tranquility and beauty of nature. success in holding back nature for its own ends does not neces- If you stand on a sand dune on a sunny day and look across the sarily enhance our surroundings or the quality of our life. beach toward the Gulf of Mexico, it is difficult to imagine the Our goal is to help Gulf Coast residents learn to live in harmony possibility of a hurricane or how destructive such a storm can be. with nature at the shoreline and to understand fully the conse- It is just as difficult to imagine that the coast does not remain just quences of doing otherwise. This book is not meant to discourage as we see it. Dr. George Crozier of the Dauphin Island Marine development; we hope, rather, that it encourages proper, limited Laboratory has described this coast as a double-edged sword -an development. Although certain natural areas warrant protection attraction because of access to some of the country's finest beaches, from development, preservationisin is an unrealistic philosophy to bays, and barrier islands, and a threat because people are deciding follow on all of the coast, especially when a development pattern is to remain on the coast. Sunny-day decisions are leading to dan- already established on much of it. Unrestricted development, how- gerous development. ever, endangers coastal residents and resources. The public should The sandy shoreline of the Gulf Coast is a dynamic, ever-chang- become aware of and concerned about our important coastal re- ing environment that often does not interact well with the trap- sources in order to conserve them. pings of man. The exploitation of this dynamic coastal area is The present volume is one of a series being published by Duke x1i Living with the Alabama -Mississippi shore University Press. The series will eventually cover all coastal states. and Alabama's mainland shore. Bill Neal, a geologist from Grand The first volume, entitled From Currituck to Calabash: Living Valley State College in Michigan, has worked on the barrier is- with North Carolina's Barrier Islands, is concerned with the bar- land coasts of the Carolinas and Georgia where he formerly lived. rier island coast of North Carolina. The success of this book in He is familiar with shoreline erosion problems in the Great Lakes promoting safe and sound use of the North Carolina islands led to that are similar to those of the Gulf Coast embayments. Orrin support from federal agencies to produce the other books. Most Pilkey, Jr., coastal geologist and geological oceanographer at Duke of the state books are closely patterned after From Currituck to University, has addressed shoreline problems from Texas to New Calabash. Several sections, such as the ones on safe construction England. After Hurricane Camille, he was on the business end of and the philosophy of shoreline conservation, are repeated here a shovel helping his parents dig out and clear the debris from their with minor revisions. With the use of this book we hope to aid Waveland, Mississippi, home. Orrin Pilkey, Sr., experienced that Gulf Coast citizens in evaluating the safety and longevity of vari- hurricane and learned why hurricane-resistant construction and ous portions of their shore. We doift want anyone to be in the proper site selection is a necessity for the well-being of all Gulf frustrating and even tragic position of saying "How was I to know Coast residents. As a civil engineer, his knowledge and experience that ... T' provided a basis for chapter 6 on coastal construction. As part of this coastal safety series Van Nostrand-Reinhold The information presented here represents the summation of Company published Coastal Design: A Guidefor Builders, Plan- the work of many investigators, too numerous to mention, but to ners, and Homeowners by Orrin H. Pilkey, Sr., Walter D. Pilkey, whom we owe a sincere thanks. We also were helped by many Orrin H. Pilkey, Jr., and William J. Neal in 1983. Coastal Design people who live and work along the shore, including representa- emphasizes coastal construction principles to a much greater ex- tives of various state agencies. We express special thanks to David tent than the individual state books. We recommend that the pru- Barley, Carlyle Blakeney, Jerry Burns, George Crozier, Joe Gill, dent coastal citizen also obtain this reference. Stan Hecker, Myrt Jones, Ervin Otvos, Doug Parker, Cy Rhode, We came to write this book from several different backgrounds. and Malcolm Ware. We are grateful for the cooperation, insights, Wayne Canis teaches geology at the University of North Alabama and concerns we acquired from them. We appreciate the coopera- and the Marine Environmental Sciences Consortium at the Sea tion and assistance of the following agencies: Alabama Coastal Lab on Dauphin Island. He has seen first-hand the "before" and Area Board; Alabama Department of Environmental Manage- ,, after" Hurricane Frederic conditions on Perdido Key, at Gulf ment; Alabama Department of Economic and Community Af- Shores, and along the Fort Morgan Peninsula, on Dauphin Island, fairs; Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, Bureau of Foreword xiii Marine Resources- Mississippi Marine Conservation Committee; us chart a course through the shifting channels of the federal Marine Environmental Sciences Consortium -Dauphin Island bureaucracy. Dennis Carroll, Jim Collins, Jet Battley, Peter Gib- Sea Lab; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers- Mobile District; U.S. son, Melita Rodeck, Richard Krimm, Chris Makris, and many Geological Survey National Cartographic Information Center- others also helped us through the Washington maze. Special thanks National Space Technology Laboratories; National Park Service- are extended to Bette Weerstra for typing the manuscript, and to Gulf Islands National Seashore; Civil Defense offices of Baldwin Barbara Gruver for drawing the line illustrations. Finally, we are and Mobile counties, Alabama; Jackson County, Mississippi, Di- in the debt of many coastal residents, fellow geologists, coastal saster Emergency Services; other local offices; and the National engineers, and state and local government officials too numerous Audubon Society. Appendix B contains the addresses and phone to name who enthusiastically provided us with a wealth of data, numbers of these and other agencies. ideas, and "war stories.' The overall project of producing these books is an outgrowth of We dedicate this work to all who have helped, and to all who initial support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Ad- come to enjoy the coasts of Alabama and Mississippi. ministration through the Office of Coastal Zone Management. The project was administered initially through the North Carolina Sea William J. Neal Orrin H. Pilkey, Jr. Grant Program. Support from the Federal Emergency Manage- series editors ment Agency allowed us to expand the book project to all coastal October 1984 states. The technical conclusions presented herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the supporting agencies. We owe a debt of gratitude to many individuals for support, ideas, encouragement, and information for the series project. Peter Chenery of the North Carolina Science and Technology Research Center and Richard Foster of the Federal Coastal Zone Manage- ment Agency gave us encouragement and support at critical junc- tures of this project. Doris Schroeder has helped us in many ways as Jill-of-all-trades over more than a decade. Mike Robinson of the Federal Emergency Management Agency worked hard to help 1 - A coastal perspective Top of the rainbow: a brief description of the coast The Alabama-Mississippi coast lies at the apex of the Gulf-Sun Belt arch. The straight-line distance of state-to-ocean border is Wrapped around the Gulf of Mexico is a band of real estate not great, but the total shoreline distance around islands, along known as the "Sun Belt." Like a rainbow attracting gold seekers, sounds, and into embayments approaches i,ooo miles (fig. i.i). the Sun Belt states are drawing increasing numbers of tourists and Alabama's shore is the longest with 607 miles of tidal shoreline, of retirees as well as industries with their associated work forces. The which 46 miles are sandy bcach. Mississippi has 359 miles of tidal coastal zone is where this rainbow touches the sea; and from Key shoreline, much of which is beach, including man-made beaches. West to the Rio Grande, this is where the most rapid development Barrier islands form about 70 miles of the leading edge of the is taking place. Gulf Coast. These are the long, thin islands that parallel the main- Increased development brings with it the potential to destroy land coast. Even what is now mainland coast from Perdido Key the amenities that were its wellspring, namely the natural environ- through the Fort Morgan Peninsula may once have been a chain ment and the living resources of that environment. Indeed, we can of barrier islands (fig. i. i ). This stretch of coast may be treated as smother the proverbial gold-producing goose and unknowingly similar to modern barrier islands as far as many processes and place ourselves at risk while pursuing the rainbow of our dreams their associated hazards are concerned. Much of the Mississippi and goals. Building and living in the coastal zone is a risk-a risk mainland shore is an old coastal barrier ridge system that formed that some are taking without knowing the available facts. during an interglacial high stand of sea level, probably more than The purpose of this book is to provide a starting point on the 35,000 years ago. Ali Alabama and Mississippi ocean-facing shore- road to understanding the environment, the risks, and the ways to lines are very dynamic. They are constantly altered by storms, conserve the former while reducing the latter, particularly when changing shape or elevation as they absorb wave energy or are buying property or building near the shore. The range of topics flooded and washed over. As their sand is moved about, the barrier included are aimed, however, at a wider audience because every- islands migrate, shifting laterally and somewhat landward through one has a stake in the coast and its future. Residents, tourists, time as the world's sea level rises. Part of Petit Bois Island was hunters and fishermen, those who earn their daily bread in the once in Alabama waters, but it has moved laterally and is now commerce and industry of the coast, and every taxpayer in Ala- completely in Mississippi. Could the island be making a political bama and Mississippi will gain or lose according to the direction comment? The lighthouse at the mouth of Mobile Bay was built taken by coastal development. on a small sand island. The island's sand migrated, leaving the 2 Living with the Alabama-Mississippi shore 0 5 10 15 20 25KH .. :,e r". 0 5 10 [email protected] 20 M e N MISS1 SSIPPI JACKSON COUNTY HARRISON COUNTY D'Iberville N SPRINGS HANCOCK 0 a oln ST DEE 0 COUNTY GULFPORT LO IS ISLAND LA '.G Sc BAY Y Long Beach BAY Pass Christian Wavelan Bay, St. Louis MISSISSIPPI SOUND LOUISIANAI [email protected] cIR lp one 6R'Z' /\7W F ass [email protected]'@@ N ISLAND Ck HOR SHIP ISLAND PETIT ell ,land Pas GULF OF MEXICO 'Zo BOIS IS ran Fig. 1.1. Index map of the Alabama- Mississippi coast. 1. A coastal perspective 4b's MCI I ALABAMA MOBILE Fa1rhope COUNTY BALDWIN :Is MOBILE COUNTY BAY Bayou La Batre Foley We ks Bay 00% A @D BAY ol SX04 @Irande ow Batture RIVER erdido FLORIDA Islands BA4. -Bav e, . @-3 pas, s BON tits oeron Gfaau)( SECOUR Gulf St Te pass 84Y .-Pr PERDIDO KEY R mar 11, PELICAN Gulf B a c @-o 1 -eDAUPHIN ISLAND <Y awww-' West Shores FORT MORGAN Beach % SAND ISLAND PENINSULA 4 Living with the Alabama-Mississippi shore 00 scale in feet 8000 4 )V A y Pelican Island -----1868 ................ 1908 -1957 "S' Sand Island W C GULF OF ............... MEXICO \1/)SAND ;NTISLAND LIGHT Fig. 1.2. Sand Island Lighthouse: (a) map of island migration from 1868 to 1957, (b) the lighthouse today is no longer on an island. Photo by Bill Neal. 1. A coastal perspective 5 lighthouse with its feet in the bay (fig. 1.2). Similarly, mainland The mainland shore of the sound is a complex of shoreline types, shoreline positions retreat landward as sea level rises. including barrier-like islands that mark the positions of former The barrier islands will provide a point of reference throughout ridges (drowned as the sea level rose), marsh islands, tidal marshes, the following chapters, both for the discussion of natural processes low bluffs, and some narrow, sandy beaches, sometimes cutting as well as comparison between different approaches to coastal land back into the adjacent pine forests. These shores are of low wave use. Alabama has chosen to develop much of its ocean-facing energy in comparison to the wide, more coarse-sanded, ocean- barrier shore, whereas Mississippi's barrier islands remain unde- facing beaches of the barrier islands; but many of them are eroding, veloped. This usage is more an accident of nature than a reflection and all are subject to flooding. of any early, farsighted land-use plans. Mainland access is feasible A series of small bays (St. Louis, Biloxi, Pascagoula, Point Aux for [email protected] barrier beaches, but the Mississippi islands lie 3.5 Chenes, Grand, Fowl River) of still lower wave energy and lower to 12.5 miles offshore. salinity extend into the mainland from the sound. Their shores One small Mississippi island was a popular resort in the ig2os. also are subject to wave erosion and flooding. Their tidal marshes The Isle of Caprice between Horn Island and Ship Island emerged are important breeding grounds for marine organisms. by a process of offshore bar buildup around the turn of the cen- Mobile Bay, because of its great size and location, behaves tury. Once exposed, the island built up with dunes and vegetation, oceanographically as a separate system from Mississippi Sound. but by the late 1920S it was eroding and by 1939 had faded into Mobile Bay's shores are similar to those of Mississippi Sound, history as a resort. A hurricane in 1947 removed what was left of however, including widespread marsh, some high-bluffed areas, a the island, providing a lesson about the stability of such islands for few narrow, sandy beaches, and extensive developed shoreline be- development. The lesson, like the island, has been lost to later hind artificial bulkheads. developers of parts of Dauphin Island, West Beach, and similar Little Lagoon, Perdido Bay, Wolf Bay, and the freshwater bodies areas. north of Gulf State Park also have low-energy shorelines.that are low-lying and subject to flooding. Between the barrier islands and the edge of the mainland is The rich contrast of shoreline types, of open Gulf to sound to Mississippi Sound, more like an embayment than an open gulf. bay or lagoon, of salinities, and scenery make this coastal zone The sound is an important ecosystem that supports the food chain one of the most attractive in America. The history of development essential to the seafood fisheries. This broad area of shallow water of this beautiful coast is a long passage through 450 years of forti- behind the barrier islands adds to the protective cushion against fication, logging, farming, and fishing, until the mini-boom of the hurricane waves. 194os and beyond. Recreational development dates back to the 6 Living with the Alabama- M i ssi ssippi shore 183os and beyond when New Orleans residents began building development were proper and which were not. On the New Jersey summer homes on the Mississippi coast. By the i 89os sea bathing, and southern Florida coasts, there have been numerous environ- fishing, and boating were building a resort reputation, but in a mental crises and a great deal of property loss because residents southern tradition of verandas and camps. The latest and most have failed to recognize the basic, natural processes of the shore- profound burst of development began in the 1950s. line. Some good may still come from these losses if they serve to guide today's developers away from past mistakes. Consider the Southern Riviera or New Jersey of the South? New Jersey coast. As new centers of development or resorts arise, comparisons New Jerseyization: man's mistakes with existing famous places are in order. So it is that Pass Chris- tian was once called the "Saratoga of the South ,' and Mississippi's On the New Jersey coast, environmental crises and property "Gold Coast" is not a unique name for it conjures up images of losses have resulted when residents, planners, and developers failed Mediterranean beaches. Gulf Shores -Perdido Key is affectionately to recognize the basic, natural processes of the shoreline. Those known as the "Redneck Riviera" again with a Mediterranean con- losses should serve to guide today's developers away from past notation, and the Riviera theme is widespread. A boast of the mistakes. We will call such damaging development trends New "world's whitest beaches" also is good advertising copy. Jerseyization (fig. 1-3). The Alabama-Mississippi shores need no comparisons, put-ons, New Jersey's shoreline development began around 18oo with or put-downs because they are a unique and rich resource. The improved access and accommodations. Development proceeded shoreline running from the Florida Panhandle through the great very rapidly because of the proximity of Philadelphia and New sounds and embayments to the delta country of Louisiana stands York. Hotels and cottages were crowded together on every avail- alone and holds something for everyone. Unlike the resorts of the able piece of land, with little thought about the safety of the site. upper and mid-Atlantic states, the Gulf Coast's shores offer year- Often these were not even as well-built as inland buildings, despite round fare. the fact that the forces they would have to endure would be much But all is not going well with our coastal development. We can greater. This development was soon threatened by natural coastal clearly see where we are heading, because others have been there processes. People were concerned that the beaches seemed to be before us. By studying the histories of other developed shorelines, eroding away. New Jersey often chose to armor its shoreline in Alabama and Mississippi can determine which decisions affecting order to protect the beaches and development. Seawalls, bulk- heads, groins, and jetties were built. 1. A coastal perspective 7 Today the remains of many of the protection schemes clutter the shore. In some places the beach has completely disappeared. A trip to the New Jersey shore at Cape May or Monmouth Beach Would be worthwhile for every Gulf Coast resident because it con- veys a more dramatic message than the pages of any book. New Jerseyization is not only a problem of destroyed beauty (after all, some prefer to see a hot dog stand on the beach rather than a grass-covered dune). It also is a serious threat to coastal id residents. The threat is basically in the following 5 areas. Hurricanes. Where there is the constant threat of hurricanes, Aar- lives and property are endangered by unsafe construction and the use of hazardous building sites. Unfortunately, development on the Gulf Coast has not proceeded from the safest to the less safe sites. Often the most eager builders have owned the most dan- gerous shoreline property. Poor construction quality, which is in- dependent of the safety of a building site, also is a danger. Fig. 1.3. New Jerseyization. Photo by Orrin Pilkey, Jr. Increasing costs. The burgeoning seawalls on the shores of the Gulf and bays cost a lot of money. The New Jersey experience striking aspect of New Jerseyization. Beach-saving devices work shows that it is not only the initial costs of shoreline protection only temporarily at best. Where seawalls are built, the beach is that are high; maintenance also is expensive, and continuous. eventually lost. Old beach resorts in New Jersey and South Florida Pollution. Improper waste disposal threatens the health of coastal have no beaches at all except where sand has been pumped in. In citizens and destroys the natural resources that support the local addition, beach repair is done at great cost to the taxpayer. The marine fishing industry. latest I 5-mile beach restoration project in Miami Beach, begun in Environmental destruction. The beach-the very environment we 1977, eroded the public coffers by $68 million. rush to the shore to enjoy-is ultimately destroyed when over- Reduced public access. Private development inevitably reduces developed. Scenic dunes, maritime forests, and marsh habitats access to the beach for the public, which must often nonetheless gradually disappear. The alteration of the environment is the most pay the bills for beach repairs. Access to the beach is frequently 8 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore prohibited to all but adjacent property owners, and others must (chapter 3). We will then present information about how to evalu- pay access charges. ate a possible development site, including a segment-by-segment Mississippi and Alabama have taken more than just a few steps analysis of the Alabama-Mississippi coast (chapter 4). We also down the road to New Jerseyization. The medium-rise buildings will go over the federal, state, and local laws that apply to land use snuggled up to the beach, missing sand dunes, houses at the high- in the coastal zone (chapter 5). Finally, we will discuss the ways water mark, and various erosion protective devices are but a few that buildings can be constructed to make them safer in a coastal signs of the trend. But encouraging signs also are present. Two of environment (chapter 6). These discussions are supplemented by them are the establishment of the original Alabama Coastal Area three appendixes: a hurricane checklist, a guide to government Board, whose functions have been incorporated into the Office of agencies involved in coastal development, and an annotated list of State Planning and the new Department of Environmental Man- useful references. agement, and the Mississippi Coastal Program under the Marine Resource Council and Bureau of Marine Resources. Also, some planners and public officials have realized that seawalls and groins The foundations of development: historical perspective are not satisfactory long-range solutions to the problem of coastal erosion. Legends aside, the first known European to explore this coast was the Portuguese Gaspar Cortereal shortly before i5oo. A pub- Practical advice lished map is evidence of his discovery. The Spanish followed closely thereafter, particularly in the eastern part of the Gulf. Development will continue on the Gulf Coast. It would be un- Mobile Bay appears on a 1507 map, and the Spanish explorer realistic to expect it to stop. If we are to avoid the mistakes that Pifieda probably sailed into the bay in 199. The Spanish claimed have been made elsewhere, however, it must be done intelligently. what is now Alabama and continued their exploration. Hernando The purpose of this book is to provide Gulf and Bay residents de Soto's famous trek from 1539 to 1542 took him from West and property owners with the information they need to make in- Florida into the interior of Alabama and Mississippi, to the dis- telligent decisions about coastal development. Thus, after giving covery of the great river, and ultimately to his death. the brief history of development and storms along the Alabama- In 1558 the Spanish attempted to establish a settlement either Mississippi coast that closes this chapter, we will outline the nat- on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay or in the Pensacola region. On ural processes that are at work at the shore (chapter 2) and the August 19 of that year the settlers' fleet was struck by a hurricane various ways that people have tried to control these processes (reference i, appendix C). Most of their ships were sunk or blown 1. A coastal perspective 9 ashore. It was a poor start, and the attempt at colonization failed 3 Ship Island). From Bay St. Louis to Pascagoula the mainland years later. shore began to see "summer home" development in the period The French were more successful more than a century later. beginning in the 1830s. Growth accelerated after the War Between Robert Cavelier de La Salle sailed down the Mississippi River to the States, and by the turn of the century the Mississippi coast its mouth in 1682, and in 1688 Henri de Tonti explored the Gulf. In was coming to national attention as a resort. Hurricanes were 1699 the first French settlement was established. After exploring having an impact on the coast as well, and Mississippi's urbanizing the land adjacent to the mouth of Mobile Bay including Dauphin shore was moving in a pattern similar to that of New Jersey. Island, Pierre LeMoyne d'Iberville sailed on to Biloxi Bay where The New Jerseyization phase of the Mississippi shore began as he established a fort and settlers as far west as the Bay St. Louis early as 1915 and continued in the 1920S when the first seawalls area. Three years later he moved his settlement to what is now were constructed. Of 75 miles of shoreline, approximately 40 miles Mobile. During this time Dauphin Island was the principal an- of seawall now exists, fronting extensive residential and commer- chorage for French ships coming to Mobile. However, over the cial development. Much of this shoreline is faced with an artificial years sand accumulated in the island's harbor, rendering it use- beach; a beach from which material still erodes (for example, a less. So the French moved their capital back to old Biloxi in 17 19, recession of from 5 o feet to i 6o feet was noted between 195 1 and and Ship Island became the new anchorage. Nevertheless, French 1965 [reference 15, appendix Q. Periodic renourishment is neces- development centered on Mobile and on New Orleans in par- sary. Armoring the city of Mobile's shore also dates back to the ticular. The intervening coast remained wild or with subsistence earlier part of this century. settlements. The rapid growth of port facilities, military installations, and In 1763 Mobile and the Gulf Coast between the Mississippi commercial/ industrial development from the 194os and beyond River and Spanish Florida passed into English control. Coastal led to the urbanization of the Bay St. Louis to Biloxi shore, the development still did not flourish, but British efforts to regain its Pascagoula waterfront, as well as an enlarging area around Mobile. foothold after losing the Revolutionary War led to the fortification Bridges, causeways, and road improvements led to the rapid de- of Mobile Point in 18 13. It was the military significance of coastal velopment of communities such as Dauphin Island, Gulf Shores positions at bay and sound entrances that continued to spur occu- and vicinity, and along some of the bay fronts. Although Alabama pation of the barrier islands through the nineteenth century (for generally does not have the massive seawalls and artificial beaches example, Fort Pickens at the entrance to Florida's Pensacola Bay of Mississippi, the New Jerseyization trend is under way in areas and related batteries on Perdido Key, Fort Morgan, and Fort such as the east shore of Mobile Bay (Baldwin County) where a Gaines at the mouth of Mobile Bay, and Fort Massachusetts on single row of cottages sits on low ground behind a nearly con- 10 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore tinuous set of revetments, groins, with little or no beach, and, simi- The remainder of this chapter addresses the first question, while larly, along some of the bay front of Mobile County. the focus of the entire book is on the second question. The indi- The rapid flood of population to the coast into developments vidual property owner can select site and structure with an eye to old and new is setting the table for disaster. safety. The question of "who pays" requires collective action on the part of society, but it is concisely addressed in chapter 5. Guess who came to dinner? Frederic and Camille! Unlike the friendly couple next door, Hurricane history: the lesson of the past these 2 giants came uninvited and unanticipated. Born in the equa- From the earliest days of settlement, hurricanes have been the torial Atlantic and suckled on seawater, the hurricanes came to scourge of the Gulf Coast. A storm that struck on September ig, the Gulf Coast with an appetite for solid sand. Their appetite 1559, was a harbinger of winds and waves to come as it destroyed knew no barrier as storm surge and waves chewed into barrier a Spanish fleet anchored in Pensacola Bay. Prior to the eighteenth islands and the coastal plain shore of Alabama and Mississippi. century no permanent settlements were located on the Alabama- The bones spit out in the wake of this pair included skeletal re- Mississippi coast, so the early record of storms is sparse. Begin- mains of cottages, stores and motels, trees and telephone poles, ning in the early 1700s, settlements were established near the coast boats and cars, sewer pipes, roads, and causeways. The final tally and became the recorders of storm events. In September of 1711 a of the destruction is recorded in the record book (table i. i); the two hurricane destroyed the cathedral in New Orleans and moved on costliest storms ever to visit America's shore-more than $3.7 bil- to strike Mobile, a city only a decade old. Because of damage in- lion total! Storm warnings and preplanned evacuation procedures flicted by the storm and associated flooding, Mobile was relocated kept the death tolls down, but 8 died in Frederic, and Camille to its present site-a convenient port but not out of danger from claimed 256 souls. hurricanes. Two of the worst storms in history coming only io years apart In the past 270 years the Alabama-Mississippi coast was affected ought to raise a great deal of concern on the part of coastal resi- in varying degrees by more than 8o hurricanes. The figures vary dents. Such concern should raise some fundamental questions: from one report to another, but on the average this coast is affected Were these hurricanes rare and unusual events? Could their record by a tropical disturbance once every 2.5 years. Of these, hurricane- of destruction have been prevented or at least minimized? And, as strength storms occur every 3.6 to 4.7 years. For individual sites in the case of the customer who eats and runs, who should be the average frequency is about i hurricane every 8 years. Such responsible for paying the storm's tab? average figures are misleading. At least 3 times in the last 2 cen- 1. A coastal perspective 11 Table 1.1. Damage data for Hurricane Camille (1969) in Mississippi (estimated total damage in excess of $1 billion) Counties Subject Hancock Harrison Jackson George Pearl River Stone Regional totals Persons dead 12 114 4 0 0 0 130 Persons injured 2,095 2,110 76 0 37 1 4,319 Persons hospitalized 20 234 56 0 13 0 323 Dwellings destroyed 602 3,075 118 0 29 9 3,833 Dwellings with major damage 1,775 8,493 482 6 520 15 11,291 Dwellings with minor damage 1,496 19,132 1,089 14 2,039 350 24,120 Mobile homes destroyed 162 116 66 0 25 7 376 Mobile homes with major damage 0 206 40 3 33 8 290 Farm buildings destroyed 42 22 40 14 81 49 248 Farm buildings with major damage 81 60 49 27 132 400 749 Small businesses destroyed or with major damage 151 210 60 0 110 2 533 Total families suffering loss 4,375 45,000 2.900 24 3,100 - 55,409 Source: State of Mississippi, The Mississippi Gulf Coast Comprehensive Development after Camille (1970). See reference 82, appendix C. turies as many as 3 hurricanes have struck the Alabama-Missis- blew down houses in Mobile, and carried destruction inland. sippi coast in a single year, and within a 2-month span. The Mobile and the coast from the Mississippi Delta eastward were hit occurrence of 6 hurricanes in a io-year interval has not been un- hard again in 1772. The Bay St. Louis Hurricane in 18 19 brought common. Seven major hurricanes struck between igoo and ig8o. widespread destruction along the coast, including casualties. The The conclusion that must be drawn is that any given structure shores of Mobile Bay were flooded, and Mobile streets were awash on the coast will experience a major hurricane in its expected with everything from ships to turtles and alligators! The same lifetime -perhaps several hurricanes. When taking out a 25-year areas were struck again in 1821 by a storm that caused deaths, mortgage to build or buy in a high-hazard zone, one should pause property destruction, and shoreline erosion. Both states were af- at length to consider hurricane history. fected by hurricanes in 1831 and 1837; Pascagoula was heavily How would modern developments hold up under the onslaught damaged in the latter. The Great Mobile Hurricane of August of 2 hurricanes within i week as occurred in 1740? The "Twin 1852 was one of the costliest storms up to that time, and repairs Mobile Hurricanes" Of 174o eroded away half of Dauphin Island, and reconstruction were barely complete when another hurricane 12 Living with the Alabama-Mississippi shore struck on September 15, 1855, and raked the Mississippi coast from Bay St. Louis to Biloxi. In 1860 3 severe hurricanes struck the Gulf Coast between August i i and October 2! And so it con- tinued throughout the nineteenth century. At least 15 storms af- fected the area from 1838 to 1893, culminating in the October 1893 hurricane that made its landfall near Pascagoula. The 1893 storm left 2,ooo dead in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. In some small waterfront communities nearly all of the inhabitants died; the greatest number of casualties were found on Grand Isle, Louisiana. A wall of water 20 feet high swept away the village, the sand spit on which it stood, and 1,650 of the i,8oo inhabitants! The high dollar losses along the coast paled in view of the death toll. The twentieth century has seen a continuation of this stormy past. Biloxi (igoi), Pascagoula- Mobile (igo6), Pass Christian- Pascagoula (igog) were costly openers. The September 1915 hur- Fig. 1.4. Typical northeastern gulf hurricane tracks for the past century. ricane caused $13 million in damages and 275 deaths in Louisiana (Not all storms from this time period are shown. MH indicates a major and Mississippi. The loss of more than half the beach road (U.S. hurricane.) 1. October2,1893, MH; 2. August 15,1901; 3. September 27, go) along the Mississippi coast prompted action toward the devel- 1906, MH; 4. September 20, 1909, MH; 5. September 29, 1915, MH; opment of the continuous seawall seen today; this in spite of the 6. July 5, 1916, MH; 7. October 18,1916, MH; 8. September 28,1917; fact that the same storm demonstrated in Bay St. Louis that sea- 9. September 21, 1920; 10. September 21, 1926, MH; 11. August 31, walls are vulnerable. Less than a year later a lesser storm caused 1932; 12. August 6,1940; 13. September 19,1947, MH; 14. September another $200,000 in damages to the same communities. Although 24,1956 (Flossy); 15. September 15,1960 (Ethel); 16. October 3,1964, (Hilda); 17. September 9, 1965 (Betsy); 18. August 17, 1969 (Camille), the storms of 19 16, 1917, 1919, 1920, 1923, 1926 (2), 1932, and 1940 MH; 19. September 23, 1975 (Eloise), MH; 20. July 11, 1979 (Bob); (figs. 1.4, 1.5, and 1.6) were not as destructive as the 1915 storm or 21. September 12,1979 (Frederic), MH. Modified from Report on Hurri- storms that were to come, they caused considerable damage along cane Survey of Mississippi Coast, by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Mississippi-Alabama coast. ref. 15, appendix C. A coastai P.,,pective 7 vi 0 "..x 2 N A-L 414) 6 FL -'city Wan 21 19 qol' '-4r .................... ........ . . ............. ........ 13 . ... .......... .&i I ... 5 (@) 7 6 3 0 14 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore Fig 1.6. Flooding along foot of Government Street, Mobile, after the 1916 hurricane. Photograph courtesy of the Erik Overby/Mobile Li- brary Collection and the University of South Alabama Archives. 0_4 A" A0, [email protected] In% Fig 1.5. Destruction along the Mobile waterfront after the 1916 hurri- cane. Photograph courtesy of the Erik Overby/Mobile Library Collec- tion and the University of South Alabama Archives. 1. A coastal perspective 15 In September 1947 Mississippi was hit by the most destructive ............... ..... . hurricane up to that time. The tide at Bay St. Louis reached a level of 1 .2 feet 00 5 3 feet above the maximum level expected once in i years. Note that the i-in-ioo-year level has been exceeded twice in this century! The storm's associated flood, waves, and wind killed PV 44, 22 and caused S17.5 million in damage in Mississippi alone, $3.4 neers report (reference 15, appendix C) estimates that Biloxi's da million being damage in Biloxi. A U.S. Army Corps of Engi mage #[email protected] from a 1947-like storm in terms of 1965 dollars would have been $16 million, and we could guess that it would be several times more by the inflated standards of the ig8os. The damage was high because once again the seawalls were topped or washed out, and flooding also came from back bay areas (figs 1 .7 and 1.8). Some good resulted from the 1947 storm because the Southern Building Code was adopted with added restrictions on construc- ting temporary buildings that disintegrate into storm debris. The Fig 1.7. The hurricane of 1947 destroyed the Harrison County, Missis- sippi, seawall. Fig 1.8. Damage to building behind seawall due to the 1947 hurricane, re F, _*7 Harrison County, Mississippi. Photograph provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, from Report on Hurricane Sul of Mississippi Coast (reference 15, appendix C). 16 Living with the Alabama-Mississippi shore storm, however, was the catalyst for adopting a shoreline stabili- zation philosophy. The seawalls of the 192os, built in response to the 1915 storm, were now reinforced with an artificial beach as a response to the 1947 storm. A false sense of security was pre- 4 served, and the shoreline was redeveloped. This prelude and the relatively hurricane-free period from 1948 through the early ig6os set the stage for Camille in Mississippi, and similarly Frederic in Alabama. Weak and/or offshore hurricanes Baker (ig5o), Ethel A (ig6o), and Hilda (1964) did nothing to break this false sense of security. Even Betsy (1965) had little effect on the develol trend. .164, Hurricane Camille (1969) was i of the 2 Class 5 hurricanes (the 11 43 strongest recorded) to strike the Gulf Coast in this century (figs 1.9 and i. i o). That storm is one of the reasons this book and compan- ion volumes in the series were written. Orrin Pilkey, Sr., and his wife lived in Waveland, Mississippi. Their home was at an elevation Of 13 feet above sea level, but at the peak of Hurricane Camille the interior of the house was flooded by water 5 feet deep. As the floodwater surged through the house, nearby trees crashed into the roof. In reflecting on their loss, and Fig 1.9. Hurricane Camille of August 1969 flattened the three-story Richelieu Apartments in Pass Christian, Mississippi. This pair of "be- qW,I fore" and "after" views demonstrate the widespread destruction of the storm. Twenty of the 23 persons who chose not to evacuate the apart- ment building died in the storm. Photographs provided by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, from Hurricane Camille 14- 22 August 1969 (reference 16, appendix C). 1. A coastal perspective 17 the post-storm cleanup, the Pilkeys' experience led to their in- volvement in trying to communicate the need for prudent coastal development. The record is clear. Hurricanes are not rare and unusual events. Frederic and Camille were coming and could have been met with more preparation. Development since those storms is following the same imprudent path, because more dangerous storm visitors are on their way. The best agent to depend on in minimizing the effects of these future events is yourself. You can do this through selection of low-risk sites, good construction practices, prestorm emergency preparation, and by heeding storm warnings. n1k Hurricane origin: blow, blow, blow the man down Each year on June i the official hurricane season begins. For the next 6 months conditions favorable to hurricane formation Fig 1.10. The eastbound lane of U.S. Highway 90 immediately behind can develop over the tropical to subtropical waters of the Western the seawall at Pass Christian, Mississippi, was destroyed during Hur- Hemisphere. Hurricanes that ultimately strike the eastern United ricane Camille. Photographs provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engi- States sometimes originate in the Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean neers, Mobile District, from Hurricane Camille 14-22 August 1969 Sea early in the season but are more likely to form in the eastern (reference 16, appendix C). Atlantic Ocean during August, September, and October. Although meteorologists are still seeking answers to the causes and behavior of hurricanes, the basic model is fairly well understood. During the summer the surface waters off west Africa heat up to at least 791 F. Evaporation produces a layer of warm, moist air over the ocean. This moist air layer is trapped by warm, dry air coming off the African continent, but some of it is drawn upward. As the moist air rises, it cools and condenses, releasing its stored 18 Living with the Alabama-Mississippi shore heat (latent heat of vaporization), which in turn warms the sur- Hurricane forces: the triple punch rounding air, causing it to rise. As a result of the increasing mass Once a hurricane forms, it begins to move north-northwest, of rising air, a low pressure area forms (tropical depression) and tracking up the Atlantic sometimes into the Caribbean and the warm, easterly winds rush in to replace the rising air. The effect of Gulf of Mexico. At first the movement is slow, but the speed in- the earth's rotation (Coriolis) deflects the air flow, and a counter- creases as the storm moves northward, sometimes in excess of 6o clockwise rotating air mass begins to take on the familiar shape of mph. If the hurricane makes a landfall, the coast will be subjected a hurricane. Air forced to the middle of the spiral can only move to 3 forces, namely high winds, storm surge, and wind-driven upward producing a chimneylike column of rising air-the "eye" waves. In addition, tornadoes may be spawned. of the storm. When a storm makes its landfall, the greatest wind velocities This heat-engine effect evolves with rising moist air cooling/ will be to the right of the eye when viewed in the direction of the condensing/ releasing heat to cause more air to rise. Lower air storm migration (northward for the Gulf Coast). The counter- rushes in to replace rising air, and the sea provides an endless clockwise air flow around the eye will produce onshore winds over moisture surface. Heavy rainfall characterizes the edges of the a stretch of several tens of miles east of the eye's landfall for the cloud mass, and when sustained wind velocities reach 74 mph the Alabama-Mississippi coast. Not only is this area subject to the storm is classed as a hurricane. The strongest winds of a hurricane most intense winds, but also maximum flooding and wave activity. may exceed 200 mph, but the maximum winds of the largest storms If you find yourself in an area east of the predicted landfall ... all to hit coastal areas are rarely recorded because wind-measuring the more reason to evacuate early! The best precaution, however, instruments are destroyed or blown away! Frederies winds reached is early evacuation regardless of your position. If you are in a low 16o mph, at sea, and blew at 145 mph in the Dauphin Island area, area, a poorly constructed house, or a mobile home, leave for but Camille came ashore as one of the most intense hurricanes designated shelter at thefirst warning. ever with devastating i go mph winds. Considering that the diame- Storm surge is a rise in sea level above the normal water level ter of a hurricane ranges from 6o to i,ooo miles, and that gale- during a storm. Storm surge develops off the coast over deep water force winds may extend over most of this area, the total energy where low pressure in the center of the storm causes the surface of released over the thousands of square miles covered by the storm the sea to bulge upward. A second phenomenon occurs simul- is almost beyond comprehension. No ship or seawall, cottage, con- taneously: the counterclockwise swirl of the hurricane winds in- dominium, or other static structure will be immune from the im- duces a similar swirling in the water column; this water swirl pact of such forces! eventually may extend downward to depths as great as 300 feet. The highest wind speeds are to the right of the hurricane's path- 1. A coastal perspective 19 to the east if the hurricane is traveling north; hence, the maximum tive structures, sometimes undermining them to generate collapse. water swirl is also to the right of the stornfs path. In a typical Debris accumulates to become battering rams and missiles in the storm the maximum wind speed and water swirl will occur about next set of waves. 15 miles to the right of the track, placing this area in most danger from storm surge. As the hurricane approaches land and the water becomes shal- Ranking hurricanes: the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale lower, the swirling water scrapes bottom and begins to build up in a mound to a height considerably above sea level. At the coastline, Hurricane chroniclers note that many historical accounts char- storm surge may reach a height Of 15 to 20 feet or more above sea acterize each major storm as "the worst ever" or "greater than" the level. During Hurricane Camille the surge rose to 25 feet above previous "worst" storm. Although storm activity may be cyclic, it mean sea level in some locations! In most hurricanes inundation is doubtful that storms have increased in intensity. We might con- of the coastal zone by storm surge and the accompanying storm clude erroneously that Hurricane Betsy (1965) and Hurricane waves causes the most property damage and loss of life. Camille (ig6g) were of equal strength because each storm caused Often the pressure of the wind backs water into streams or damages totaling $1.4 billion. In reality, Hurricane Betsy was a estuaries already swollen from the exceptional rainfall brought by weaker storm, but it struck more well-developed areas. As coastal the hurricane. Water is piled into the lagoons. When the storm development has increased, storm damage has increased accord- moves inland, the water in the bays and lagoons suddenly flows ingly. Similarly, loss of life cannot be used to measure storm in- back seaward much faster than it entered. The result is that a tensity or as a comparative measure between storms. Relatively house may be flooded from the bay or lagoon side. This flooding is small storms of a century ago were more deadly because they came particularly dangerous when the wind pressure keeps the intide without warning; there was no time to evacuate. This is why 6,ooo from running back out from tide-water rivers, so that the next people died in the i goo Galveston, Texas, hurricane. Today, ad- normal high tide can push the accumulated waters back-and vance warning, efficient evacuation, and safer construction should higher still. result in low casualty rates even in a major hurricane. But unsafe The culprit expending energy to destroy structures is the storm development, allowing population growth to exceed the capacity wave. Wind-generated, coming on top of the storm-surge flood for safe evacuation, and complacency on the part of coastal resi- level, waves fight at the shoreline may add another io feet to dents could reverse this trend with shocking results. The National the water's height! The waves erode away protective dunes, strip Hurricane Center has warned repeatedly that tens of thousands vegetation, smash buildings, and scour around pilings and protec- of Americans could die (and probably will) if a major storm 20 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore Table 1.2. Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale Storm Central Winds surge pressure Category (mph) (f eet) (inches) Damage Example 1 74-95 4-5 @28.94 minimal Ethel(1960) 2 96-110 6-8 28.50-28.91 moderate Hilda (1964) 3 111-130 9-12 27.91-28.47 extensive Frederic (1979) 4 131-155 13-18 27.17-17.88 extreme September 19, 1947 5 >155 >18 <27.17 catastrophic Camille (1969) strikes certain low-elevation areas of heavy development such as in southern or western Florida. To better warn coastal residents of the strength or intensity of an impending hurricane, the National Weather Service uses the Saffir-Simpson Scale (table 1.2) to describe storms. The scale is based on 3 storm variables: wind velocity, storm surge, and baro- metric pressure. Considerable correlation exists between these variables, which when combined with a knowledge of the seabed and coastline of a given area can lead to more accurate and timely forecasting of hurricane impact. Do not be misled by the scale, however. A hurricane is a hurri- cane, so the scale is defining how bad is bad. Regardless of whether the hurricane is a category i or category 5, when the word comes to evacuate, do it. Wind velocity may change or the configuration of the coast may amplify storm-surge level, so the category rank you hear in the news report may change by the time the storm reaches your position. Doif t gamble with your life or the lives of others. Go! 2. Shoreline dynamics The islands exist because of rising sea level. The forces acting on the islands and beaches today are essentially the same as those that created them. To appreciate these forces fully as well as to understand the character of the mainland coast, you should be If you plan to live on or visit the shores of the Alabama-Missis- aware of how the islands were formed. sippi Gulf Coast or associated bays, you should understand the natural processes that are at work there. This knowledge is impor- The origin of barrier islands: where did they come from? tant because your safety and the well-being of the environment are at stake. Furthermore, structures built on the coast must be Alabama and Mississippi have barrier islands because of the able to coexist with natural processes without being destroyed or interaction of rising sea level with a coastal plain indented by changing the system so as to cause destruction in another place. river valleys. Approximately 15,000 to 18,ooo years ago, when sea level was as much as 200 to 300 feet lower than today, the Gulf Barrier islands: the line of defense shoreline was many miles offshore, on what is now the continental shelf (fig. 2.1). Vast glaciers covered the high latitudes of the world, The Gulf Coast barrier islands have been compared to a line of tying up a great deal of water. ships in battle formation. The analogy is a good one because the When the ice started melting, the sea began to rise. The rising islands are a line of defense between the open sea and the main- water flooded the valleys, forming bodies of water called embay- land shore (see fig. i.i). The islands are a buffer to storm winds ments (fig. 2.2; stage i). If you look at a map of today's shorelines, and waves, a natural offshore breakwater to absorb energy and you can see many such inundated valleys, especially along the blunt the storms striking edge before it reaches the mainland. Atlantic coast of the United States. Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Fortunately, Mississippi's barrier islands remain undeveloped, a Bay are two prominent examples. Mobile Bay and the smaller St. recreational resource in fair weather, standing in reserve to carry Louis Bay, Biloxi Bay, Pascagoula Bay, and Perdido Bay are Gulf out their protective role during storms. In contrast, development Coast examples. on Dauphin Island and from Fort Morgan Peninsula to Perdido If this were all that occurred, the shoreline today would be Key is either on modern barrier islands or old islands that have jagged. Nature, however, tends to straighten jagged shorelines. become part of the mainland. Houses, condominiums, and other Shoreline straightening along the Atlantic Coast was carried out buildings occupy this changing defensive zone. by concentrating shoreline erosion on the headlands between the 22 Living with the Alabarna- Mississippi shore valleys. Wave energy striking the headlands moved sand along the beach by surf zone currents called longshore currents. However, MISSISSIPPI ALABAMA because wave energy, and hence current strength, is greatest at the Mob! FLORIDA headlands, the sand being transported could not turn the corner 0 and flow along the estuary (embayment) shoreline. Instead the qYLFP0RT.: ._0 san d built out from the headlands as spits or sand bars, extending into the bay's mouth (fig. 2.2.; stage 2). The Fort Morgan Penin sula is a similar feature. As sea level continued to rise, the low- ED J'AE14TAL lying land behind such spits, plus the sand dunes of the old head- I ON CO %014 NEW ORLE S OSS I land shorelines, then became flooded. The flooding behind the old rlvk I GLAC @@ dune beach complexes resulted in their becoming detached from the mainland, and the barrier islands were born (fig. 2.2; stage 3). 0 This concept of barrier origin and growth was originally put forth by Donald Swift, an imaginative geologist who is now with Arco SA Oil and Gas Company. It was based on the study of Atlantic Of seaboard barriers. Studies by Dr. Ervin Otvos, Jr., of the Gulf Coast Research 4K .19- Laboratory, indicate that the barrier islands fronting Mississippi Sound may have had a different origin. His work, based on drill hole data, past animal life analysis, and the study of historic maps suggests that almost all of the present Mississippi Sound was flooded by the sea no later than 5,ooo years ago. Open marine Fig. 2.1. The position of the Gulf shoreline 15,000-18,000 years ago. shelf conditions prevailed, but shallow areas (shoals) grew into Sea level was lower because the water was locked up in continental sand bars and then into islands (reference 22, appendix Q. Dr. glacial ice caps. Otvos concludes that the islands emerged about 3,000 to 4,000 years ago, but since then they have shifted westward in the direc- tion of the prevailing littoral drift (direction of sediment transport 2. Shoreline dynamics 23 MISSISSIPPI 0 5 km ---e SOUND 0 3 miles DAUPHIN V ISLAND IN 1848 PETIT BOIS ISLAND I N 1848 Stagel. [email protected] 0 IM01 Dauphin Island 1974 Gulf of Pbtit Bois Mexico Island 1974 Fig. 2.3. Westward migration of Petit Bois Island and western Dauphin Stage 2 Format- ot apts [email protected] headlaWs Island in the direction of longshore sand transport. by waves and nearshore currents; fig. 2-3). Once the islands formed, Mississippi Sound was born and subsequently the Pearl River delta and prograding marshes of the inner sound. Dauphin Island's origin is a slight modification of this model. The island's eastern end was a large hill at the time of lower sea level. As sea level rose, the hill became an island flanked by shal- Stage 3 Separat- t be,,,., f- -land low water to the west and the tidal delta at the mouth of Mobile Bay to the east. Such tidal deltas are common at inlets and passes Fig. 2.2. The origin of barrier islands in a rising sea level. Bays deveiop between islands (fig. 2.4), or in this case between the Fort Morgan as river mouths are flooded. Spits form from sand delivered by the Peninsula and early Dauphin Island. Sand moved westward from erosion of headlands between bays. Spits may become isolated as the delta along the partly submerged hill to the shallow area where rising sea level floods land in back of the spits. it was deposited as a growing sand bar from east to west, creating 24 Living with the Alabama-Mississippi shore Fig. 2.4. Map showing configuration of tidal deltas that form in front of the low, narrow, elongate island seen today. The sand carried west- and behind passes between barrier islands such as those off the ward along the growing island fed the developing island chain Mississippi coast. A large ebb-tidal delta exists at the mouth of Mobile that also migrated westward (fig. 2-3). Bay between Fort Morgan Peninsula and Dauphin Island. The sea-level rise that flooded the Gulf Coast was quite rapid until about 5,000 years ago, at which time it slowed down con- e siderably (fig. 2-5). The slower rate of rise resulted in a somewhat MAINLAND more stable shoreline, although normal shoreline erosion contin- ued. This relative stability, however, appears to have come to an FLOOD-TIDAL DELTA end recently. created by in-comina tides The accelerating rise in sea level .'VI Recent studies suggest that in the 1930s the rise in sea level J. suddenly accelerated (fig. 2.5; inset). Sea level is now rising at a rate of perhaps slightly more than i foot per century. Keep in [email protected]\ mind that this refers to a vertical rise. The horizontal change PRIER BARRIER the distance shorelines or islands migrate as a consequence-is ISLAND ISLAN much greater (fig. 2.6): between ioo and 1,500 feet per century. How much a specific shoreline moves depends on the slope of its migration surface; the gentler the slope, the farther it will migrate. Subsidence (sinking) of deltas and marshlands adds to this sea- level rise effect so that for some parts of the Gulf Coast the rate of shoreline migration may be even greater. EBB-TIDAU DELTA The safest assumption you can make about the future of the created by out-qoinq tides sea-level rise is that it will continue and accelerate. The National Academy of Science and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have warned that all evidence points to a warming of the 2. Shoreline dynamics 25 Present Sea-Level __O -5000 years ago- a) C tinen 9000 years ago- CD ta S h -503 CD 0 T--13,000 years [email protected]_ ii; M 0 Ca CY (D 8,000 years ago- CO 0 CD C 5- -100 05 [email protected] C, 0 CD < cc CD - 10- -150 0 1920 40 60 1980 Fig. 2.5. The sea-level rise and flooding of the continental shelf during the past 18,000 years. The inset shows the sea-level rise since 1920. 26 Living with the Alabama- M i ssi ssippi shore Movement of Dune (erosion)- approximately 1000 times V large enough bodies of water to allow strong waves to form. Not I - only are low-lying areas flooded by the rising sea level, but the Profile afterirlse Profile before rise shoreline retreats as a result of wave erosion. Stumps in the surf In sea level In sea level New Sea Level zone, trees surrounded by beach with their roots in the water, 'cl' scarps and bluffs carved at the back of the beach, and exposures .k1ginal Low Coastal Plain S ope I which Dune-Shoreface System Ig,.feaPrevIoua Sea Level of old swamp peats along the shore attest to this erosion. From the Florida Panhandle to the Fort Morgan Peninsula the mainland coast fronts the sea without any offshore island protec- tion. This stretch of shoreline behaves much like a barrier island Fig. 2.6. Ratio of horizontal shoreline migration to the vertical sea- because of the bays, sounds, and lagoons that make up the area. It level rise. For low-lying coastal areas, a small vertical rise can cause is very susceptible to the hazards of coastal processes. Only the significant horizontal migration. beach dune system provides protection. Beaches: the shock absorbers eartWs surface. The burning of fossil fuels has resulted in the ex- cessive production of carbon dioxide, which causes the atmosphere The beach is one of the earth7s most dynamic environments. to retain heat. This warming is expected to increase the melting of This zone of active sand movement is ever-changing and ever- the polar ice caps, which in turn will raise sea level. migrating, and these changes are in accordance with the eartWs natural laws. The natural laws of the beach control a logical envi- The mainland shore: keeping step with the sea-level rise ronment that builds up when the weather is good and strategically (but only temporarily) retreats when confronted by big storm For the islands to have remained as islands, the mainland shore- waves. This system depends on 4 factors: size of waves, sea-level line also must have retreated. If you have not guessed already, rise, beach sand supply, and the shape of the beach (fig. 2.7). The island migration and shoreline migration are the terms that coastal relationship among these factors is a natural balance referred to scientists use for what beach cottage owners call "beach erosion. ' as a "dynamic equilibrium": when one factor changes, the others Although the barrier islands provide a line of defense against adjust accordingly to maintain a balance. When human beings the biggest storm waves, Mississippi Sound and Mobile Bay are enter the system incorrectly-as they often do-the dynamic equi- 2. Shoreline dynamics 27 librium. continues to function in a predictable way, but in a way How does the beach respond to a storm? that is harmful to human structures. Old-timers and storm survivors have frequently commented on Answers to the following often-asked questions about beaches how beautiful, flat, and broad the beach is after a storm. The flat may clarify the nature of this dynamic equilibrium. It is important beach can be explained in terms of the dynamic equilibrium; as to keep in mind that the beach extends from the base of the dune wave energy increases, materials move to change the shape of the to an offshore depth of as much as 30 to 40 feet. It is the zone of beach. The reason for this storm response is logical. The beach sand movement during storms. The part on which we walk is only flattens itself in order to make storm waves expend their energy the upper beach. over a broader and more level surface. On a steeper surface, storm- wave energy would be expended on a smaller area, causing greater damage. Fig. 2.7. The dynamic equilibrium of the beach. Sometimes besides simply flattening, a storm beach also will consist of one or more offshore bars. The bars serve the function Beach sand supply of "tripping7' the large waves long before they reach the beach. The sand bar produced by storms is easily visible during calm weather as a line of surf a few to tens of yards off the beach. Geologists refer to the bar as a ridge and the intervening trough as a runnel. Figure 2.8 illustrates the way in which the beach flattens. Waves Shap Rise in sea level take sand from the upper beach or the first dune and transport it Of due to melting to the lower beach. If a hot dog stand or beach cottage happens to beach glaciers be located on the first dune, it may disappear along with the dune /[email protected] e ach sands. A great deal of sand may be lost during a storm. Much of it will mooo/ come back, however, gradually pushed shoreward by fair-weather waves. As the sand returns to the beach, the wind takes over and, if allowed, slowly rebuilds the dunes, storing sand to respond to Size of waves natures next storm call. In order for the sand to come back, of 28 Living with the Alabama-Mississippi shore course, there should be no man-made obstructions -such as a seawall -between the first dune and the beach. Return of the beach -First dune may take months and even years. .. . . ....... . . . . . . .... How does the beach widen? Beaches grow seaward in several ways, principally by (i) new sand brought in by the so-called longshore (surf-zone) current, 0 and (2) new sand brought in from offshore by forming a ridge and +1 New first dune runnel system. Actually, these 2 ways of beach widening are not forming 'house mutually exclusive. Fallen Longshore currents are familiar to anyone who has swum in the /New beach position Normal high tide ocean; they are the reason one sometimes ends up somewhere Offshore bars down the beach, away from one's beach towel. Such currents result Gentle slope from waves approaching the shore at an angle; this causes a por- tion of the breaking waves' energy to be directed along the beach. ,New profile of adjustment +1 When combined with breaking waves, the weak current is capable after storm Pre-storm profile of carrying large amounts of very coarse material for miles along a beach. Along the Alabama-Mississippi coast the dominant direc- (Shaded area [email protected] is approximately equal to shaded area A.) tion of longshore current movement is toward the west. As a result, the eastern ends of the barrier islands are undergoing erosion, while the western ends elongate as sand is deposited. This system accounts for the westward migration of the islands (fig. 2-3). The Fig. 2.8. Beach flattening in response to a storm. slightly curved sand bars deposited at the ends of the islands are called spits, and similar deposits may occur along mainland coasts, for example, the Fort Morgan Peninsula. Ridges and tunnels (fig. 2.9) formed during small summer storms virtually march onto the shore and are "welded" to the 2. Shoreline dynamics 29 L _R Mean Sea Level A SLANDS - ';[email protected] -5 [email protected]@WASH F .......... t7 LAGOON SEDIMENTS PEAT OVERWASH SOIL DIIINE 6RIFT STEP SHOREFACE LAYERS BEDDING LINES SEDIMENTS Fig. 2.9. Coastal environments. I -BEACH Where does the beach sand come from? beach. The next time you are at the beach, observe the offshore Along most of the eastern Gulf Coast the sand comes from the ridge for a period of a few days and verify this for yourself. You adjacent continental shelf. It is pushed up to the beach by fair- may find that each day you have to swim out a slightly shorter weather waves. Additional sand, sometimes in very large quanti- distance to stand on the sand bar. ties, is carried laterally by longshore currents that move in the surf At low tide during the summer the beach frequently has a trough zone parallel to the beach. Lesser amounts of mainland beach filled or partly filled with water. This trough is formed by the ridge sand may be derived from erosion of the land at the back of the that is in the final stages of welding onto the beach. Several ridges beach, producing the scarps or bluffs along eroding shorelines. combine to make the berm, or beach terrace, on which sunbathers Sand carried by rivers does not make it to the coast because it is loll. deposited inland at the heads of the estuaries. When sea level was 30 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore much lower and the rivers flowed onto the present continental Why do beaches erode? shelf, river sands were deposited in the area. This accounts for As we have already pointed out, "beach erosion" is the cottage some of the shelf sand that has been moved landward by waves owner's term for the larger process called shoreline migration. Its since the rise in sea level. Broken seashell material is another source principal cause is the sea-level rise, presently judged to be about i of beach sand. foot per century along most of the American shores. We can be It is important for beach dwellers to know or at least have some thankful that we do not have the higher rates of nearby Louisiana feeling for the source of sand for their beach. If, for example, or of the New England coast. The reason the sea-level rise can be there is a lot of longshore sand transport in front of your favorite different in different coastal areas is because the land also may be beach, it (the beach) may well disappear if someone builds a groin slowly sinking (for example, the Louisiana delta region) or rising upstream. Community actions taken on an adjacent beach or relative to sea level. inlet potentially could affect your beach, just as your action may A geologist once spoke at a luncheon in Virginia Beach, Vir- affect your coastal neighbors. ginia, and told the audience that the most serious problem facing Where do seashells come from? their eroding shoreline was the rising sea level. A local reporter, Most shells are the recent remains of animals that lived offshore, mocking the speech, reported that we must "beware the year 4000" or even within the beach. Most will be broken up to produce for then our houses will be underwater. The joke was on him, for sand. Surprisingly, some shells from the beach may have radio- by then his house probably would be 20 miles out to sea as well as carbon ages measured in thousands of years and represent re- in water 30 feet deep! He failed to understand that the impact is worked shells, eroded and transported as the shoreline migrated within one's lifetime and should not be regarded as such a long- landward. term event as to be of no consequence. If you use a shell book to carefully identify specimens from a The real problem is not the vertical sea-level rise, but rather the beach, you may find that bay or lagoon shells are present on the horizontal retreat of the shoreline caused by the rise (fig. 2.6). As ocean-side beach. As the shoreline migrated landward, it ran over you remember, the sea level has been going up and down several the shells of animals that once lived in back-island or bay environ- hundred feet over the last million years because of the advance ments. In a few hundred or thousand years these shells were re- and retreat of glaciers in the higher latitudes. As the sea level exposed on the ocean-side beach. rises, nature does not make things hard on herself by constructing a giant sand ridge or some other such feature to hold back the sea. On the contrary, the shoreline smoothly moves back and forth 2. Shoreline dynamics 31 with the changing sea level for tens if not hundreds of miles. The future of shoreline development in the United States appears Keep in mind that the sea-level rise causes the water level to rise to be one of increasing expenditure of money leading to increasing in the bays, so their shorelines also retreat. In the case of islands loss of beach. and peninsulas, both sides will erode. Sand bluffs and surf-zone stumps are evidence of such erosion. What can I do about my eroding beach? If most shorelines are eroding, what is the long-range future of beach This is a complex question and is partially answered in chapter 3. development? If you are talking about an open ocean shoreline, there is nothing The long-range future of beach development is a function of how you can do unless (i) you are wealthy or (2) the U.S. Army Corps individual shore communities are able to respond to the migration. of Engineers steps in. Those communities who choose to protect their frontside houses It should be pointed out that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at all costs need only look to portions of the New Jersey shore to in their periodic hurricane study reports has concluded that addi- see the end result. The life span of houses can unquestionably be tional expenditure of funds for engineering structures was not war- extended by "stabilizing" a beach (stopping the erosion). The ulti- ranted for those portions of Alabama and Mississippi studied. mate cost of stopping erosion, however, is loss of the beach. The Your best response, especially from an environmental stand- time required for destruction of the beach is highly variable and point, is to move your threatened cottage elsewhere. The bottom depends on the situation. Barrier islands are usually the most line in trying to stop open ocean shoreline erosion is that the sensitive. An extensive barrier island seawall may cause extreme methods employed will ultimately increase the erosion rate. For beach destruction in as little as 10 to 30 years. Often a single example, the simple act of hiring a friendly local bulldozer opera- storm will permanently remove a beach in front of a seawall. tor to push sand up from the lower beach will steepen the profile If somehow a community can grit its teeth and buy, move, or let and cause the beach to erode more rapidly during the next storm. the front row of buildings fall in as their time comes, the beaches Pumping in new sand (replenishment) costs a great deal of money, can be saved in the long run. Unfortunately, so far in America the and in many cases the artificial beach will disappear much mote primary factor involved in shoreline decisions that every beach rapidly than its natural predecessor. community must sooner or later make has been money. Poor com- In sum, there are many ways to stop erosion in the short run if munities let the beach roll on. Rich ones attempt to hold it in lots of money is available; in the long run, however, erosion cannot place. be halted except at the cost of losing the beach. 32 Living with the Alabarna- M issi ssippi shore The evolution of barrier islands: how they operate major overwash deposits have shifted through time. During Hurri- cane Frederic in 1979 much of the western two-thirds of Dauphin Every barrier island is unique. Each island evolves by mecha- Island suffered overwash. nisms that may differ slightly or substantially from those of adja- Other natural differences between islands can be due to such cent islands; thus, each island must be understood separately. For years scientists did not realize this and treated all barriers things as average grain size of the sand, island orientation relative as if they were the same. Geologists and biologists studying barrier to the dominant wind direction, variation in sand supply, amount islands in Texas argued with those studying barrier islands in New of shells in the sand, amount and type of vegetation, the character Jersey. Each group of scientists thought the other group was un- of adjacent inlets and tidal deltas, etc. Fine sands retain water observant. When an investigator attempted to apply what was better than coarse sands; hence, vegetation will restabilize storm- learned about New Jersey islands to Texas islands, he found the destroyed dunes more rapidly when the sand is fine. Islands ori- information did not apply, and vice versa. Thus, scientists realized ented with dominant wind direction up and down the length of that there are fundamental differences among look-alike barrier the island tend to have poor dune buildup because not much sand is supplied to the island from the beach. Islands with large sand islands. supply tend to be fatter than those with only a small amount of Let us compare Alabama-Mississippi and Texas barrier island sand coming ashore. High shell content of the sand, typical for systems on a broad scale. If you dam a river in Alabama or Missis- many southern U.S. barrier islands, will reduce the amount of sippi, it should not affect the state's barrier islands at all because sand available for dune construction. Fresh sand that comes ashore Alabama and Mississippi islands get most of their sand from the during storm washover is winnowed by the wind until a lag layer adjacent continental shelf. Texas islands, however, are nurtured of coarse shells remains. At that point the wind has a tough time by rivers such as the Rio Grande and the Brazos that furnish sand getting additional sand because the shells stabilize the sand much directly to the shoreline during every flood. When this supply is like vegetation does. stopped by dams, as it partially has been, the beaches begin to 11 starve" and retreat more rapidly. Another major difference be- The point we emphasize is that each island has a different story tween Texas and Alabama-Mississippi barrier islands is in their to tell. The island dweller must learn and respond to the unique response to overwash. On Texas barrier islands such as Padre traits of the particular island they inhabit-if they want to pre- serve it. Island, overwash passes -where waves wash sand onto the island Having discussed differences among barrier islands, let us men- -have been flooded again and again during successive storms at tion some things they have in common. While the major mecha- the same positions. On Alabama-Mississippi islands the sites of nisms by which islands move are the same everywhere, the rates 2. Shoreline dynamics 33 and intensities at which these mechanisms operate differ widely storms. On large ones the overwash may barely penetrate the first In order for an island to migrate, the front (ocean) side must dune line. On low, narrow ones overwash may be carried across move landward by erosion, and the back (sound) side must do the island to reach the sound. Overwash waves carry sand that is likewise by depositional growth. In other words, one end of the deposited in tongue-shaped or fan-shaped masses called overwash island must lengthen, while the other end erodes. As it moves, the fans. When such fans reach into the sound, the island is widened. island must somehow maintain its elevation and bulk. Overwash is the method of backside growth used by islands in a Front side moves back by erosion hurry, that is, those that are migrating rapidly landward. Capes Island, South Carolina, and some of Louisiana's islands are exam- The beach moves back because the sea level is rising. This sea- ples. Between i5,ooo and 25,000 years ago when the sea level was level rise is the main worldwide cause of beach erosion, although rebounding rapidly, most American barrier islands were probably other local factors such as the lack of sand supply also may cause of the overwash type. Many if not most barrier islands are today the problem. The shoreline of the Nile Delta, for example, is erod- eroding on both front and back sides in response to the sea-level ing at an unprecedented rate because the Aswan Dam on the Nile rise. Basically the islands are all going through the first stage of River has cut off the supply of new beach sand. Beaches in Cali- converting themselves back to overwash islands so they can re- fornia are disappearing for the same reason, that is, because of spond quickly to the sea-level rise. If the rise continues, a few dam construction blocking the flow of river sediment. hundred years from now American barrier islands will be totally As the sea level rises, the sandy coastal plain shoreline retreats. unlike their present-day ancestors. (The mechanism of shoreline retreat was discussed earlier in the chapter, in the section on beaches.) At this point, we need only The island maintains its elevation during migration recognize that the beach retreats horizontally at 100 to i,000 times The remaining problem of a migrating island is how to retain the rate of vertical sea-level rise, and that the rate of retreat essen- its bulk or elevation as it moves toward or parallel to the main- tially controls the rate of island migration, as well as mainland land. This problem is solved by two processes: dune formation shoreline migration. and overwash fan deposition. Back of island moves landward by growth Dunes are formed by the wind, and if a sufficiently large supply of sand comes to the beach from the continental shelf via the One way that islands, especially narrow ones, can be widened is waves, a high elevation island can be formed (fig. 2.9). by direct frontal overwash of storm waves from the ocean side of The reasons for the lack of dune formation on islands of low the island (fig. 2.9). All barrier islands receive overwash during elevation are the lack of sand supply from the adjacent continental 34 Living with the Alabarna- Mississippi shore shelf or dominant wind direction up and down the beach rather wash fans from crossing the island during storms. Before the dune than across it. was built, overwash frequently reached the back side of the island, and new salt marsh was formed on the edge of the new overwash Coastal environments: an integrated system fan '. Newly formed Spartina marsh is an excellent erosion buffer against sound-side waves. By preventing overwash, the frontal At this point you understand how barrier islands and mainland dune on the island's ocean side precludes new marsh growth and shorelines develop and operate, and the important principle that increases the sound-side erosion rate. each system is unique. Therefore, if you want expert advice, do Coastal forests also illustrate the integration of environments. not ask the old-timer from New Jersey or Texas to evaluate your Large trees form a canopy over the less salt-tolerant undergrowth. cottage on the Alabama-Mississippi coast. The undergrowth in turn stabilizes the larger trees by holding down Another important concept to understand is that barrier island the soil. If trees are thinned or removed, sea spray can attack and environments (fig. 2.9) are interrelated. Each environment is part eliminate the undergrowth. Loss of undergrowth vegetation allows of an overall integrated system and to some degree depends on or sediment to be eroded by wind or other processes, thereby destroy- affects other environments within the system. Specific environ- ing the trees. ments are discussed in chapter 4. Much has been said about the damage to beaches and dunes by Perhaps the best example of one environment affecting others dune buggies and other off-road vehicles. This problem further in the system is provided by the role of the ocean-side beach. The attests to the integration of island environments. Dune buggie's beach is important because (i) it alters its shape during storms in can prevent dunes from stabilizing (become stationary), and de- such a way as to minimize fundamental damage to the shore by stabilization (sand movement) may result in destroyed dunes and waves, and (2) it is the major source of sand for the entire system. vegetation or sand dune migration into forests. Examples of the ways in which man has interfered in the inte- The most common cause of excessive sand movement in coastal grated system may best illustrate these functions. areas is construction. The problem is particularly acute during the Dr. Paul Godfrey of the University of Massachusetts discovered early stages of construction and in many instances has halted fur- that the building of the National Park Service's dune-dike system, ther construction altogether. A very common mistake in coastal the long, continuous, artificial dune on the Outer Banks of North construction is placing roads in such a way as to ensure that they Carolina near Cape Hatteras, is causing erosion on the sound side will someday be overwash passes when a good-sized storm comes of the island. The problem is that the artificial dune prevents over- by. Along many American beaches you can drive down roads that 2. Shoreline dynamics 35 run parallel to the beach and observe that at the end of each beach feeder road there is a giant notch through the last row or two of dunes. The notch is certain to someday be filled by storm wave overwash and storm-surge floodwaters. Just as environments on a single island or coast depend on one another, so do environments on adjacent coasts and islands. Beaches are like flowing rivers of sand. Frequently beaches depend on neighboring beaches for sand supply. When the river of sand is cut off by inlet dredging or construction of jetties, groins, or sea- walls, the beach erosion rate increases. This raises the question of what actions should be taken to slow down shoreline erosion, and what will be the impact of these "solutions"? 3. Man and the shoreline from the Dauphin Island groin field, and in front of the extensive wooden revetment walls along the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. In some cases beach loss or retreat caused by man may be greater and more spectacular than nature's own. As a result of coastal evolution, storm waves, and the general The economic and environmental price for stabilizing shorelines sea-level rise, shoreline recession is a widespread phenomenon. In also is high. Public awareness of the magnitude of the problem is the past developers may have been unaware of the problem; in essential before any decisions are made to extend such projects recent times some have ignored it. Older development has been and further burden the taxpayer. There are, of course, a few situa- lost, and the eroding scarp at the back of the beach threatens tions in which stabilization is an economic necessity. Shipping structures in its path. The common response to this natural process channels leading to our major ports, such as Mobile, Pascagoula, is usually some method of shoreline stabilization. Note that the Biloxi, and Gulfport, for example, must be maintained. The con- word is shoreline-not beach- stabilization. Stabilization means tinuous stabilization project in front of the urbanized shore from holding in place. Biloxi to Bay St. Louis cannot be abandoned now. But similar projects can be avoided. Shoreline engineering: no deposit-no return There are 3 major ways by which shorelines are stabilized. These methods are listed below, in decreasing order of environmental Shoreline engineering is a general phrase that refers to methods safety. of changing or altering the natural shoreline system in order to Beach replenishment stabilize it. Stabilization methods range from the simple planting of dune grass to the complex construction of large seawalls using If a beach must be repaired, beach replenishment is probably draglines, cranes, and bulldozers. Structures may run for miles in the most gentle approach. Replenishment consists of pumping or front of urbanized shores, or only tens of feet in front of an indi- trucking sand onto the beach and building up the former dunes vidual bay lot. and upper beach. Sufficient money is almost never available to The benefits of these methods are often short-lived and usually replenish the entire beach out to a depth Of 30 or 40 feet. Thus, cause beach retreat or beach loss in front of the stabilized property only the upper beach is covered with new sand, so that in effect a or adjacent property. Such is the case, for example, in front of the steeper beach is created (fig. 3J). This new steepened profile often Bay St. Louis seawall, parts of the Pascagoula seawall, downdrift increases the rate of erosion. Few studies have been made of this 3. Man and the shoreline 37 phenomenon, but replenished beaches often disappear faster than Wide nourished beach the natural beaches they replaced. In beach replenishment, sand is but steepened New d1ne offshore slope either pumped from the adjacent continental shelf, offshore sand it 0 growh B bars, barrow pits on the land, or from the adjacent bay or sound. If the replenishment sand is muddy or of a finer size than the A original beach sand, it quickly washes off the beach. Dredging can Overwash disturb the ecosystem, and the hole created can change the local Channel pattern of waves and currents. In a replenishment project along the Connecticut coast, wave patterns changed by a dredged hole on the shelf quickly caused the replenished beach to disappear. Such holes can also be hazards to waders and swimmers. A dredge ------ A sand pumped from hole produced some 1,500 feet offshore near Buccaneer State Park, bay to beach B sand dredged from Waveland, Mississippi, caused at least 25 drownings from 1966 offshore and placed until it was filled in the early ig8os. The pit was produced about a on or near beach year after Hurricane Betsy when sand was dredged to reconstruct Narrow eroding beach with gentle offshore a beach in front of the seawall in Bay St. Louis. The hole had slope backfilled with a soupy mud, creating a quicksandlike bottom. A more threatening effect of beach replenishment is that a false Fig. 3.1. Model of beach nourishment. sense of security from storm attack is maintained. Value of prop- erty behind a nourished beach is maintained or increases, spur- ring an increase in development -including condominiums. The growth in development density increases the shore community's demand for the next round of beach replenishment. Historically, however, beaches cannot be replenished again and again. Sand supplies become exhausted, more distant, and more costly. Natural sand supply diminishes as the stabilized beach, held in place where we think it "should be," becomes more and more out of equilib- 38 Living with the Alabama- M issi ssi ppi shore rium with the rising sea level. Eventually the coastal community will resort to more drastic stabilization measures such as a seawall. In Harrison County, Mississippi, beach fill was utilized to protect the stepped seawall, which was constructed to protect the shore- 'V, line, etc., etc. Recent nearshore construction in Alabama is setting the stage for future demands for beach nourishment, seawalls, groins, and similar structures. The lessons of New Jersey have been lost on a new generation. PEW._ The most celebrated beach replenishment of recent years was the $68 million Miami Beach project. Fifteen miles of beach were replaced. On a nationwide basis the cost of beach replenishment is approaching $2 million per mile. Consider the fact that virtually hundreds of miles of American shoreline have buildings crowded close to the beaches. All of these communities will soon be "in danger" from shoreline erosion because sea level is rising. If the majority of these communities seek to stabilize their shorelines, the potential cost to the taxpayer, local and federal, is tremendous. So much so in fact that a taxpayer's rebellion is brewing as re- flected by the introduction of barrier island bills in recent sessions Fig. 3.2. Harrison County's artificial beach at Biloxi (1950s). The beach of Congress. Such legislation will limit federal expenditures (sub- was built in 1951 to protect the seawall at the back of the beach and sidies) in coastal areas. Future support for beach replenishment must be renourished periodically. Photo provided by U.S. Army Corps most likely will become more and more difficult to obtain. of Engineers, Mobile District. The Harrison County, Mississippi, beach nourishment project (fig. 3.2) is an example of a modest short-term success. The coun- ty'S 27-mile Gulf shoreline was beachless in ig5o, in part because of the stepped seawall (see later section in this chapter on the effects of seawalls). The entire 27 miles was nourished with more than 7 million cubic yards of sand in 1951. The sand was borrowed 3. Man and the shoreline 39 from about 1,500 feet offshore, forming a continuous 14-foot-deep for such projects. Beach replenishment, however, may be viewed as trench parallel to the shoreline. In the first 7 years after the beach the lesser of structural stabilization evils, particularly when com- construction, a time without major storms, only 15 percent of the pared to the following methods. fill was lost. By 1972 the loss was approaching 30 percent. Hurri- Groins and jetties cane Camille did not destroy the beach, perhaps because the storm tide rose and receded so fast along this coast. Nevertheless, this Groins and jetties are walls built perpendicular to the shoreline. long stretch of beach ultimately will require renourishment. Storm A jetty, often very long (sometimes miles), is intended to keep conditions like those of the 1940s and earlier hurricanes could sand from flowing into a ship channel (for example, Perdido Pass, eliminate this artificial beach relatively quickly. Some of the lost fig. 3.3). Groins, much smaller walls built on straight stretches of sediment will be trapped in the original dredge trench, but the beach away from channels and inlets, are intended to trap sand question remains, where will future sand supplies come from for flowing in the longshore (surf-zone) current. There are groins pres- beach renourishment? ent along significant stretches of the Mobile Bay shore, on the In summary, beach replenishment upsets the natural system, is costly and temporary, and requires subsequent replenishment projects to remain effective. The Corps of Engineers refers to Fig. 3.3. Perdido Pass jetties. Photo by Bill Neal. beach replenishment projects as "ongoing, ' but the implication is an "eternal" confrontation with nature. Thus, serious economic questions can be raised by the public (taxpayers) when the facts associated with beach nourishment are considered. The expense of such projects and the burden of "perpetual care" with continu- ally recurring costs provide the greatest benefit, not to the general public, but to shorefront property owners whose property they me OiO I protect." Cries for beach nourishment projects invariably co 412*vml @, from those with direct economic interests associated with beach use, that is, owners of cottages, motels, beachwear and gift shops, and other commercial interests in the community. Many feel that beach nourishment is a form of government subsidy for such in- terests. Beach visitors, the public who use the beach, rarely clamor 40 Living with the Alabama-Mississippi shore is working correctly, more sand should be piled up on one side of it than on the other. The problem with the groin is that it traps sand that is flowing to a neighboring beach. Thus, if a groin on one beach is functioning well, it must be causing erosion elsewhere by "starving" another beach (fig. 3-5). The same is true, of course, of jetties. During storms, erosion often detaches the groins from the shore, causing them to be useless as sand traps (fig. 3-4). Miami Beach illustrates the results of groin use. After one was built, countless others had to be constructed-in self-defense. Prior to the 1977 beach renourishment project, Miami Beach looked like a military obstacle course; groins obstructed both pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Groins and other forms of shoreline engi- neering destroyed the beach at Miami Beach. Now, only through an eternal commitment to beach renourishment can the artificial Fig. 3.4. Groin field on the eastern end of Dauphin Island. Note de- beach be maintained. tached groin, 1981. Photo by Bill Neal. Fig. 3.5. Model map view of a groined shoreline. east end of Dauphin Island (fig. 3.4), and along portions of the Mississippi shoreline in combination with seawalls. Groins can be OJ made of wood, stone, concrete, steel, or nylon bags filled with sand. Stone groins with revetments are also common in areas where beaches and property are threatened. Great Point Clear, eastern Mobile Bay, and Pelican Point on Dauphin Island are good examples. Both groins and jetties are very successful sand traps. If a groin 3. Man and the shoreline 41 Seawalls 4. It concentrates wave and current energy at the ends of the wall, Seawalls, built back from and parallel to the shoreline, are de- increasing erosion at these points. signed to receive the full impact of the sea at least once during a The emplacement of a seawall or other "hard" structure is an tidal cycle. Present in almost every highly developed coastal area, irreversible act with limited benefits. By gradually removing the seawalls are common along most of the developed Mississippi coast beach in front of it, every seawall must eventually be replaced with (fig. 3.2). Other common structures are bulkheads and revetments. a bigger ("better"), more expensive one, or an artificial beach must Bulkheads are a type of seawall placed farther from the shoreline be maintained. While a seawall may extend the lives of beach- in front of the first dune-or what was the first dune-and de- front structures in normal weather, it cannot protect those on a signed to take the impact of storm waves only. Wooden bulkheads low-lying coast or barrier island from the havoc wrought by hurri- are used commonly in bays and estuaries to prevent shoreline canes; it cannot prevent overwash or storm-surge flooding. In fact, erosion. Although less costly than more massive seawalls, bulk- floodwaters may be trapped and held behind such a wall during a heads require maintenance and cannot withstand large storm storm. waves. Revetments are usually stone facings placed on eroding The long-range effect of seawalls can be seen in New Jersey and scarps or bluffs to slow storm-wave erosion. Miami Beach. In Monmouth Beach, New Jersey, the town build- Building a seawall, bulkhead, or revetment is a very drastic ing inspector told of the town's seawall history. Pointing to a sea- measure on the ocean-side beach, harming the environment in the wall he said, "There were once houses and even farms in front of following ways: that wall. First we built small seawalls and they were destroyed by i. It reflects wave energy, ultimately removing the beach and steep- the storms that seemed to get bigger and bigger. Now we have ening the offshore profile. The length of time required for this come to this huge wall which we hope will hold." The wall he damage to occur is I to 30 years. The steepened offshore profile spoke of, adjacent to the highway, was high enough to prevent increases the storm-wave energy striking the shoreline; this in even a glimpse of the sea beyond (fig. 3.7). There was no beach in turn increases erosion. front of it, but remnants of old seawalls, groins, and bulkheads 2. It increases the intensity of longshore currents, hastening re- extended for hundreds of yards to sea. moval of the beach (fig. 3.6). Beach community residents must be aware of the bottom line 3. It prevents the exchange of sand between dunes and beach. when a seawall is constructed. A seawall is an expensive commit- Thus, the beach cannot supply new sand to the dunes, nor can ment to preservation of shorefront structures only. The beach will the beach flatten as it tends to do during storms. be destroyed. 42 Living with the Alabarria- Mississippi shore 1. BEFORE THE WALL 3. TWO TO FORTY YEARS LATER 00 5carped dune is evidence of There is no beach. The wall is eroding shoreline. overwashed by storms, and wave now undermining and energy is Gentle 7, h foreshore 2. WALL CONSTRUCTED Development proceeds as buyers believe property is protected by 0. 4. TEN TO SIXTY YEARS LATER (New Jerseyization) th 11 Road Immediate narrowing Bigger, "better" reinforced of beach seawall is put in. Fig. 3.6. Seawall Saga. ULTIMATE RESULTS: Development is behind wall, no beach is available, and the sea floor is cluttered with fallen walls and groins. 3. Man and the shoreline 43 Sea-level rise: built-in obsolescence If the techniques of shoreline stabilization have such a poor record, why are they built? Rest assured, such structures were neither designed to fail nor to enhance erosion problems. When the earliest of these structures was built, the understanding of shoreline processes was not what it is today. Furthermore, most --A.00' engineering projects have a design life of less than 50 years. In other words, long-term geologic effects beyond 50 years are not red. In fact, 10 to 20 years is a more common design life of conside shoreline engineering projects. The experiences of the Cape May, pop-, New Jersey, jetties and seawall, Miami Beach, and numerous other projects that represent long-term future commitments should tell the engineers that for all new projects the long-term consequences must be considered, figured into benefit/cost ratios, and entered into the final decision of whether or not to pursue the stabilization project. We suggest that their conclusions will be against future projects except in a few highly urbanized areas where there is no Fig. 3.7. Monmouth Beach, New Jersey, seawall. Photo by Orrin Pilkey, alternative. Jr. Several reasons account for the long-range failure of shoreline stabilization schemes, but the most important and fundamental of them is that the sea level is rising. Along the Gulf Coast this rise may amount to about i foot per century. We do not know pre- cisely why the sea level is rising, but it is probably because the polar ice caps are continuing to melt. In a report released in 1983 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reinforced the National Academy of Science warning that even within this century the warming effect of excess carbon dioxide produced by the burning 44 Living with the Alabarna- M i ssi ssippi shore of fossil fuels will cause increased melting of the ice. As more coal and is held in its original position, it will be placed in increasing and oil are burned, more carbon dioxide is released into the atmos- jeopardy as the years roll by. As an extreme example, imagine phere, causing it to act as a giant greenhouse. The atmosphere lets what would have happened if engineers had tried to hold the shore- light energy in, but tends not to let heat energy out, so a gradual line in place when it first formed at the edge of the continental warming occurs and more glacial ice melts in summer than freezes shelf i8,ooo years ago. Now it would be 300 feet under water, and in winter. This so-called "greenhouse effect" is probably the cause the seawalls between land and sea indeed would have to be spec- of today's sea-level rise. All indications are that the rise in sea level tacular in size! That is basically what engineers are trying to do will be with us for a long time, and it may well accelerate. today. On a smaller scale they are attempting to hold back a sea All along the American shore, what we now call beach erosion that is rising, but the designs have not taken this phenomenon is largely a response to the sea-level rise. Barrier islands are be- into account. Thus, obsolescence is built into the structures. ginning a long process (a very rapid process in terms of geologic What specifically happens in the long run as the beach becomes time) of slimming down prior to landward migration. At the same increasingly out of equilibrium is shoreface steepening. It appears time, of course, mainland shores must also erode, otherwise the from the New Jersey experience that the offshore beach profile islands will soon "bump into" the mainland and no longer will down to a depth of perhaps 30 feet gets steeper and steeper. As a they be islands. Part of the Fort Morgan Peninsula may be an consequence, waves striking the shoreline get larger and larger. example of such welding onto the mainland shore by an earlier Shoreline stabilization schemes evolve from replenishment to re- barrier island. This attachment occurred thousands of years ago plenishment and groins, to small seawalls, to bigger and better during an earlier high stand of sea level. Island formation and seawalls, to even bigger and better seawalls (fig. 3.6). As the sea beach migration are dependent on sea-level rise, and under nor- outflanks a structure, it must be extended, and more and more mal circumstances the sea-level rise does not threaten or endanger shoreline becomes armored. Thus, the eventual effect of ignoring islands or beaches in any way. the sea-level rise is New Jerseyization! The message for the Gulf What happens when we stabilize a barrier island or beach, that Coast and all coastal states is., clear: to choose shoreline stabiliza- is, what happens when we try to stop islands or beaches from tion as the solution to coastal hazard mitigation will be an expen- migrating? Basically shoreline engineering holds the beach, or the sive road to follow, and one that will lead ultimately to failure. island, where it does not want to be held. The beach or island is said to be out of equilibrium. It also can be said to be in trouble! If the shoreline is prevented from migrating as the sea level rises 3. Man and the shoreline 45 The future of beach "protection": increasing natural and social maintenance or beach nourishment: taxpayer resistance in- resistance creases to paying for such projects, causing postponement or a reduction in scale of the project. Much of the Mississippi coast is already wed to shoreline sta- 6. Increases in the number of "endangered" beach developments bilization schemes such as seawalls, groins, and artificial beaches within the state and nation increase the demand for similar (Pascagoula, all of Harrison County from Biloxi to Pass Christian, projects: less federal and state money is available for the older and Bay St. Louis - Waveland). Other Gulf-front and bay shores projects, and taxpayer resistance increases when the local com- are headed in this direction. Coastal residents in these areas should munity is asked to bear a larger share of the cost. consider the future of such engineered shorelines, a future that 7. Some combination of the above: the beach either disappearing or hinges on natural events and the social commitment in dollars becoming New Jerseyized with the rubble of failed structures. and technology to maintain these engineering programs. Shoreline stabilization and beach protection that rely on engi- neering structures or nourishment schemes face an uncertain f .u- A philosophy of shoreline conservation: "We have met the ture. Some of the possible events and responses are these: enemy and he is us" i. Closely spaced "big" hurricanes continue to occur: natural and In i8oi Postmaster Ellis Hughes of Cape May, New Jersey, artificial beaches disappear or structures are damaged and de- placed the following advertisement in the Philadelphia Aurora: stroyed. The subscriber has prepared himself for entertaining com- 2. Sea level continues to rise, possibly at an accelerating rate: pany who uses sea bathing and he is accommodated with beaches erode faster and structures are flooded. extensive house room with fish, oysters, crabs, and good 3. Adjacent coastal areas, passes, or harbor mouths are stabilized, liquors. Care will be taken of gentlemen's horses. Carriages cutting off natural sand supplies: natural and artificial beaches may be driven along the margin of the ocean for miles and the erode faster. wheels will scarcely make an impression upon the sand. The 4. Suitable sand for renourishment projects becomes increasingly slope of the shore is so regular that persons may wade a great scarce: the cost to nourish beaches increases or unsuitable sand distance. It is the most delightful spot that citizens can go in is used causing longer intervals between nourishment or in- the hot season. creased erosion rates. This was the first beach advertisement in America and sparked 5. Changes in the economic climate increase costs of structure the beginning of the American rush to the shore. 46 Living with the Alabarna- Mississippi shore In the next 75 years 6 presidents of the United States vaca- tioned at Cape May. At the time of the Civil War it was certainly 7 the country's most prestigious beach resort. The resorfs prestige continued into the twentieth century. In 19o8 Henry Ford raced his newest model cars on Cape May beaches. Today Cape May is no longer found on anyone's list of great beach resorts. The problem is not that the resort is too old-fash- ioned, but that no beach remains on the cape (fig. 3.8). The following excerpts are quoted from a grant application to the federal government from Cape May City. It was written by city officials in an attempt to get funds to build groins to "save the .6W beaches." Though it is possible that its pessimistic tone was exag- gerated to enhance the chances of receiving funds, its point was clear: -T' Our community is nearly financially insolvent. The economic consequences for beach erosion are depriving all our people of much needed municipal services.... The residents of one area of town, Frog Hollow, live in constant fear. The Frog Hollow area is a 12 block segment of the town which becomes submerged when the tide is merely I to 2 feet above normal. Fig. 3.8. Cape May, New Jersey, seawall (1976). Note the absence of a The principal reason is that there is no beach fronting on this beach. Photo by Orrin Pilkey, Jr. area.... Maps show that blocks have been lost, a boardwalk that has been lost.... The stone wall, one mile long, which we erected along the ocean front only five years ago has al- ready begun to crumble from the pounding of the waves since there is little or no beach.... We have finally reached a point where we no longer have beaches to erode. 3. Man and the shoreline 47 Alabama and Mississippi will not have to wait a century and a It is, in fact, an integral part of coastal evolution (see chapter 2) half for this crisis to reach their shores. The pressure to develop is and the entire dynamic system. When a beach retreats, it does here and increasing. Like the original Cape May resort, our struc- not mean that it is disappearing; it is migrating. Many developed tures are not placed far back from the shore; nor have we been so shorelines, especially on barrier islands, are migrating at surpris- prudent as to always place structures behind dunes or on high ingly rapid rates, though only the few investigators who pore over ground. Consequently, our coastal development is no less vulner- aerial photographs are aware of it. Whether the beach is growing able to the rising sea than was Cape May's, and no shoreline or shrinking does not concern the visiting swimmer, surfer, hiker, engineering device will prevent its ultimate destruction. The solu- or fisherman. It is when man builds a "permanent" structure in tion lies in recognizing certain "truths" about the shoreline. this zone of change that a problem develops. Construction by man on the shoreline causes shoreline changes. Truths of the shoreline The sandy beach exists in a delicate balance with sand supply, beach shape, wave energy, and sea-level rise. This is the dynamic Cape May is the country's oldest shoreline resort. Built on a equilibrium discussed in chapter 2. Most construction on or near shoreline that migrates, it is a classic example of a poorly devel- the shoreline changes this balance and reduces the natural flexi- oped shoreline where communities chose to confront nature rather bility of the beach. The result is change that often threatens man- than work with it. Alabama and Mississippi can learn from New made structures. Dune removal, which often precedes construc- Jersey's mistakes. tion, reduces the sand supply used by the beach to adjust its profile From examples of Cape May and other shoreline areas, certain during storms. Beach cottages-even those on stilts-may ob- generalizations or "universal truths" about the shoreline emerge struct the normal sand exchange between the dunes, beach, and quite clearly. These truths are equally evident to scientists who the shelf during storms. Similarly, engineering devices interrupt have studied the shoreline and old-timers who have lived there all or modify the natural cycle (see chapter 2 and figs. 2.7, 3.5, and their lives. As aids to safe and aesthetically pleasing shoreline de- 3.6). velopment, they should be the fundamental basis of planning in Shoreline engineering protects the interests of a very few, often at any coastal zone. a very high cost in federal and state dollars. Shoreline engineering is There is no erosion problem until a structure is built on a shoreline. carried out to save beach property, not the beach itself. Shore Beach erosion is a common, expected event, not a natural disaster. stabilization projects are in the interest of the minority of beach Shoreline erosion in its natural state is not a threat to the coast. property owners rather than the public. If the shoreline were 48 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore allowed to migrate naturally over and past the cottages and hot dog low in the long run for a variety of reasons. Maintenance, repairs, stands, the fisherman and swimmer would not suffer. Yet beach and replacement costs are typically underestimated because it is property owners apply pressure for the spending of tax money- erroneously assumed that the big storm, capable of removing an public funds-to protect the beach. Since these property owners entire beach replenishment project overnight, will somehow by- do not constitute the general public, their personal interests do pass the area. The inevitable hurricane or storm, moreover, is not warrant the large expenditures of public money required for viewed as a catastrophic act of God or a sudden stroke of bad luck shoreline stabilization. for which one cannot plan. The increased potential for damage Exceptions to this rule are the beaches near large metropolitan resulting from shoreline engineering is also ignored in most cost areas. The combination of extensive high-rise development and evaluations. In fact, very few shoreline engineering projects would heavy beach use (ioo,ooo or more people per day) affords ample be funded at all if those controlling the purse strings realized that economic justification for extensive and continuous shoreline sta- such "lines of defense" must be perpetual. bilization projects. For example, to spend tax money for replen- Once you begin shoreline engineering, you can't stop it! This state- ishing Coney Island, which accommodates tens of thousands of ment, made by a city manager of a Long Island Sound commu- people daily during the summer months, is more justifiable than nity, is confirmed by shoreline history throughout the world. Be- to spend tax dollars to replenish a beach that serves only a small cause of the long-range damage caused to the beach it "protects," number of private cottages. In the case of the former, beach main- this engineering must be maintained indefinitely. Its failure to tenance is in the interest of the public that pays for it. Whereas in allow the sandy shoreline to migrate naturally results in a steepen- the latter case, the expenditure amounts to middle-class welfare. ing of the beach profile, reduced sand supply, and therefore accel- Shoreline engineering destroys the beach it was intended to save. erated erosion (see chapter 2). Thus, once man has installed a If this sounds incredible to you, drive to New Jersey and examine shoreline structure, "better"- larger and more expensive -struc- their shores. See the miles of "well-protected" shoreline -without tures must subsequently be installed, only to suffer the same fate beaches (fig. 3.9)! This truth applies equally to the Gulf Coast. as their predecessors (fig. 3-9). The 27 miles of Harrison County, Mississippi, seawall contributed History shows us that there are 2 situations that may terminate to the loss of the beach. The beach today in front of the seawall shoreline engineering. First, a civilization may fail and no longer was built by man and must be maintained in order to exist. build and repair its structures. This was the case with the Romans, The cost of saving beach property through shoreline engineering who built mighty seawalls that are now ruins or forever lost. is usually greater than the value of the property to be saved Price Second, a large storm may destroy a shoreline stabilization system estimates for shoreline engineering projects are often unrealistically so thoroughly that people decide to throw in the towel. In America, 3. Man and the shoreline 49 The solutions i. Design to live with the flexible coastal environment. Do not fight nature with a "line of defense' " z. Consider all man-made structures near the shoreline temporary. 3. Accept as a last resort any engineering scheme for beach restora- Now--, tion or preservation, and then, only for metropolitan areas. 4.Base decisions affecting coastal development on the welfare of the public rather than the minority of shorefront property owners. 5. Let the lighthouse, beach cottage, motel, or hot dog stand fall ............... when its time comes. Questions to ask if shoreline engineering is proposed Fig. 3.9. Beach loss and New Jerseyization of shore resulting from shoreline engineering. Photo by Bill Neal. When a community is considering some form of shoreline engi- neering, it is almost invariably done in an atmosphere of crisis. however, such a storm is usually regarded as an engineering chal- Buildings and commercial interests are threatened, time is short, lenge and thus results in continued shoreline stabilization projects. an expert is brought in, and a solution is proposed. Under such As noted in chapter 2, rubble from 2 or more generations of sea- circumstances the right questions are sometimes not asked. The walls remains off some New Jersey beaches! A smaller scale exam- following is a list of questions you might ask if you find yourself a ple occurs at Waveland, Mississippi. member of such a community. i. Will the proposed solution to shoreline erosion damage the recreational beach? in i o years? in 20 years? in 30 years? in 5o years? 2. How much will maintenance of the solution cost in io years? 50 Living with the Alabama- M i ssissippi shore in 20 years? in 30 years? in 50 years? Where will the funds i i. What are the alternatives to the proposed solution to shoreline come from? erosion? Should the threatened buildings be allowed to fall in? 3. If the proposed solution is carried out, what is likely to happen Should they be moved? Should tax money be used to move in the next big storm? mild hurricane? severe hurricane? them? 4. What has been the erosion rate of the shoreline here during 12. What are the long-range environmental and economic costs of the last io years? 20 years? since the late 1930s (the time of the the various alternatives from the standpoint of the local prop- first coastal aerial photography)? since the mid-18oos (the time erty owners? the beach community? the entire shoreline? the when the first accurately surveyed shoreline maps were pro- citizens of the state and the rest of the country? duced by the old U.S. Geodetic Survey)? 5. What will the proposed solution do to the beach front? Will the solution for one portion of a shoreline create problems for another portion? 6. What will happen if an adjacent inlet migrates? closes up? What will happen if the tidal delta offshore from the adjacent inlet changes its size and shape or if the channel moves? 7. If the proposed erosion solution is carried out, how will it affect type and density of future beach-front development? Will addi- tional controls on beach-front development be needed at the same time as the solution? 8. What will happen 20 years from now if the inlet nearby is dredged for navigation? if jetties are constructed? if seawalls and groins are built nearby? 9. What is the 50- to ioo-year environmental and economic prog- nosis for the proposed erosion solution if predictions of an accelerating sea-level rise are accurate? io. If stabilization -for instance, a seawall-is permitted here, will this open the door to seawalls elsewhere? (The answer to this one has always been "yes" in most other coastal states.) 4. Selecting a site along the Alabama a specific homesite or business site. Consider, for example, a river and the floodplain (flat area) next to it. Even casual observation Mississippi coast reveals that the river floods. If this system is observed for a long period of time, it may be noted that the time and size of the floods follow a pattern. The area next to the river is flooded every spring, No coastal locality is absolutely safe. Given the right conditions, while the middle floodplain of the river is covered only every 5 to hurricane, flood, wind and wave erosion, overwash, and inlet io years. Once or twice in a lifetime, a devastating flood will cover formation can attack any area in the coastal zone. Furthermore, the entire floodplain. These observations have been confirmed by human activity, particularly construction, almost always reduces detailed stream studies. Thus, we can determine and predict the the stability of the natural environment. Man-made structures are frequency and size of floods in a given area, though we cannot static (immobile); when placed in a dynamic (mobile) system, predict exactly when a flood of a given size will actually occur. We they tend to disrupt the balance of that system. Interference with can then describe an individual flood as a i-in-io-year flood, or a sand supply, disruption of plant cover, topographic alteration, and i-in-5o-year flood, based on the frequency of a given flood level. similar effects associated with man-made structures actually create Obviously we would not want to build a house or business in an conditions favorable to the damage or loss of those structures. area that is flooded once (or more) every year, or even every io When building a new structure or buying an existing one, you years; given the choice we would rather locate where the likeli- should first evaluate the safety of the general area in which you hood of flooding is once in 5 0 to i oo years. The decision to locate are locating, and then similarly evaluate the specific site. in a flood-prone area would be determined by how essential it is to be there and the level of economic loss we are willing to sustain. Choosing your area: the first step to safety In a like manner we also can predict the frequency and level of storm flooding in coastal areas (table 4.1, see also reference 69, Though some areas are considerably safer for development than appendix Q. Although the frequency and levels can be predicted, others, all are vulnerable to the natural processes at work in the the time of a given storm is not yet predictable. Thus, if a i-in-25- coastal zone. Structures placed in the most stable areas (subject to year storm-flood level of 8 to 9 feet is expected for a certain stretch less movement or change) are least likely to be damaged or de- of coast, it would be sensible to build at an elevation greater than 9 stroyed. If we can identify such areas as well as rates and inten- feet above mean sea level. This concept has been incorporated in sities of natural physical activity, we will have a basis for choosing many coastal zone building codes, and it is why new construction 52 Living with the Alabama-Mississippi shore Table 4.1 Storm stillwater surge levels for 1-in-25-, 50-, and 100- is required to be a certain elevation above ground level (usually year storms (in feet above mean sea level) on "stilts"; see chapter 6 on construction). 1-in-25 1-in-50 1-in-100 The ioo-year flood level is a standard used for both inland and Destin beaches, Florida 10.5 coastal areas in determining areas eligible for the National Flood Fort Walton beaches, Florida 9.2 Insurance Program. Persons unfamiliar with this concept some- Santa Rosa Island, Florida - - 10.5 times mistakenly believe that after such a flood level occurs, it Perdido-Wolf Bay area, Alabama 4.9 5.7 6.5 will not happen again for ioo years. The fact is that a flood of Bayou St. John Area, Alabama 6.5 7.5 8.5 Fort Morgan-Gulf Shores, Alabama 8.7 10.1 11.4 such magnitude can occur in successive years, or twice in one Mobile Bay, Alabama 7.9 9.3 10.6 year, and so on. The flooding along the Pearl River over the last Dauphin Island 8.1 9.8 11.5 several years has taught floodplain residents a hard lesson about Grand Bay-Bayou La Batre, Alabama 9.4 11.4 13.3 Pascagoula, Mississippi 10.0 12.2 14.2 flood recurrence. And those Gulf residents whose property was Biloxi, Mississippi 10.4 12.9 15.4 twice damaged or destroyed by hurricanes over an i i -year interval Bay St. Louis, Mississippi 12.0 14.8 17.4 (Camille in 1969 and Frederic in 1979) know that the ioo-year Source: Adapted from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' publications (refer- storm-surge level is just an average. ences 7 and 16, appendix C). Perhaps it is better to think of a ioo-year flood as a level of flooding having a i percent statistical probability of occurring in any given year (but each and every year). During the life of a house within the flood zone, a house with a 3o-year mortgage, there is a 26 percent probability that the property will be flooded. The chance of losing your property becomes roughly i in 4, rather than i in ioo. Because of such risk the federal government has tightened requirements and raised the price of flood insurance in the coastal zone (see chapter 5). In evaluating an area, then, 2 important questions need to be asked: Is the area (community) within the flood zone? And is flood insurance available? Another important question is: How has the shoreline responded 4. Selecting a site 53 to past human activity, particularly construction? The shoreline is Regardless of the coastal area you choose, site selection is the not necessarily safe merely because it has been developed. The next important step. new and modern development of Gulf Shores, West Beach, or on the Fort Morgan Peninsula gives no indication of the near total Selecting your site: playing the odds destruction of Hurricane Frederic. Other than steps leading up to a few vacant lots, there is no indication of what Hurricane Camille Human nature is such that we are willing to gamble if the poten- did to the urbanized Mississippi coast. tial reward is worth the risk. In the case of the coast the rewards What are some of the clues of a troubled shoreline? The pres- are the amenities of the seashore and other coastal environments. ence of groins, seawalls, or revetments on the beach tells you the The risk is losing your property. Like smart gamblers who know shoreline is subject to erosion, now compounded by the stabiliza- the odds and try to reduce the house advantage, property buyers tion structures. Such a shoreline certainly is to be avoided. Re- and owners can and should identify the natural odds of coastal moval of vegetation, for purposes of construction or to get a better hazards and act accordingly. view of the sea, may increase the potential for storm damage or Structures placed in the least dynamic zones (stable areas sub- create a blowing sand nuisance. Roads to the beach built through ject to less movement or change) are less likely to be damaged. If the dune line may act as overwash passes. Removal of dunes or we can identify such areas, as well as the rates and intensities of construction in front of them is an invitation to storm disaster. natural physical activity, we have a basis for evaluating site safety, Areas of extensive, artificially filled marshes are likely to be flooded selecting the site that provides the greatest protection against natu- and commonly experience groundwater problems. Instability of ral hazards, and taking appropriate precautions. The previous ex- bluff shorelines, such as adjoining Mobile Bay and Biloxi Bay, ample of identifying the flood zone illustrates the point. If you also is increased by adjacent construction. expect a i-in-25-year storm-surge flood level of 8 feet for a par- The political infrastructure of your prospective coastal area may ticular site, it would be sensible either to avoid the site or to build have as strong a bearing on its overall safety as the natural system. at an elevation of greater than 8 feet. Because storm waves will Unchecked growth or unenforced building and sand dune codes further increase that flood height, you should seek even higher are examples of social conditions that may create threats to health elevations in addition to using a construction technique that raises or safety. Overloaded sewage treatment systems, inadequate or the house several feet off the ground (see chapter 6). unsafe escape routes, loss of natural storm protection, structures What other clues can we look for in evaluating site safety and lacking storm worthiness, and vulnerable utilities are but a few stability? examples of man-made problems. 54 Living with the Alabarna- Mississippi shore Stability indicators: what to look for at your site Vegetation Along the Alabama-Mississippi coasts a number of environ- Vegetation may indicate environmental stability, age, and eleva- mental characteristics indicate the natural history of a given area. tion. In general, the taller and thicker the vegetative growth, the In revealing how dynamic an area has been through time, these more stable the site and the safer the area for development. Man- characteristics aid prospective builders and buyers in deciding time forests grow only at elevations high enough to preclude fre- whether a site offers protection against natural hazards or not. quent flooding. In addition, since a mature live oak or pine forest Natural indicators include terrain and land elevation, vegetation, takes many years to develop, the homeowner or prospective buyer soil profile, and even seashells. can be assured further that the forest areas generally provide the safest homesites in the coastal zone. Of course, safe is a relative Terrain and elevation term. Hurricanes do knock down trees and inflict wind damage in Terrain and elevation are good measures of an area's safety from forested areas. One should evacuate from even the "safest" coastal various adverse natural processes. Low, flat areas are subject to site in the event of an impending hurricane. destructive wave attack, overwash, storm-surge flooding, and blow- The exception to using forest as an indicator of stability is where ing sand. Table 4. 1 shows the expected storm-surge levels for dif- rapidly eroding shorelines have advanced into the forest. This is ferent parts of the Florida-Alabama-Mississippi coasts. On islands occurring along parts of the Mobile Bay shore, along the main- peninsulas, and areas backed by lagoons, embayments, or coastai land shore of Mississippi Sound in Mobile County and Jackson lakes and ponds, the flooding may come from the direction of those County, and on Dauphin Island east of Bienville Beach. Fallen bodies of water rather than from the direction of the Gulf. Hurri- trees and stumps on the beach and in the surf zone identify locali- cane Camille generated flood levels on the order Of 25 feet. Refer- ties to be avoided. ences 61 and 62 (appendix C) show the areas flooded by Camille Bare, unvegetated areas usually indicate erosion or moving sand and Frederic. and are unsafe for development. High elevations are always preferable to lower elevations. How- Soil profiles ever, stay away from the retreating edges of eroding bluffs such as those that occur along parts of Mobile Bay and Mississippi Sound. Soil profiles may give a clue to building site stability. White- The higher elevations of sand dunes also afford protection, but bleached sand overlying yellow sand to a depth of several feet keep in mind that sand dunes are unstable. suggests stability, because such a soil profile requires a long period of time to develop. Note the soil profile by looking in road cuts, 4. Selecting a site 55 along canals, or in a pit you have dug. Red sands do not occur Coastal environments: what natural processes are operating naturally in most coastal areas, so beware where your soil profile at the site includes this red material; it probably means that a low area has been filled, and may, or may not, be suitable for development. Inland developments typically occupy a single environment, Keep in mind that even formerly stable, forested areas can be such as a pine forest or former pastureland. In contrast, the coastal eroded by a migrating shoreline, so you may find a "stable" soil zone consists of small areas of very different environments, and profile in an unstable position. Avoid areas Where profiles show typical developments overlap environmental boundaries without layers of peat or other organic materials. Such layers have a high regard to the consequences. By knowing what environment(s) a water content and lack the strength to support an overlying struc- lot occupies, you can identify prevailing conditions that may or ture. The weight of a house can compress the layers, causing the may not be conducive to development. In addition to the beach, house to sink. Furthermore, such soil conditions cause septic tank environmental features include primary dunes, overwash fans, problems. grasslands, passes, maritime forests and thickets, marshes, and bluffs (fig. 2.9). Seashells Seashells also provide clues to the natural or man-made processes Primary dunes that have occurred in an area. A mixture of brown-stained and Primary dunes usually are defined as the row of dunes closest to natural-colored shells is often washed onshore from the Gulf dur- the Gulf, although a distinct line or row may not be obvious. In ing storms. Shells with these mixed colors, then, indicate overwash some places these dunes may be totally absent. Where present, zones. Do not build where overwash has occurred; it is likely to such dunes serve as a sand reservoir that feeds the beach during occur again in that area. If you must build, do so on stilts so that storms and provide elevation as a temporary line of defense against the building allows overwash to pass beneath the structure. wind and waves. The temporary nature of dunes was demonstrated Mixed black and white shells without brown or natural-colored in the area east of Gulf Shores, Alabama, and just west of the shells are almost a certain sign that material has been pumped or public fishing pier. Before Hurricane Frederic (September 12-13, dredged from the sound or bay. Such material is used to artificially 1979) that area had some of the finest and best developed pri- fill low areas or passes, or to nourish an eroding beach. Thus, such mary dunes on the Gulf Coast. The hurricane waves and storm a shell mixture may indicate an unstable area where development surge completely removed the dunes, however; damage inland was should be avoided. lessened because the storm's fury was spent on eroding the dunes. Primary dunes are the natural main line of defense against ero- 56 Living with the Alabama-Mississippi shore sion and storm damage to man-made structures. This line of de- Locating on a primary dune is nearly as dangerous. In such a fense is "leaky" because of the discontinuous nature of the dune location you should expect to lose your cottage or condo during line and overwash passes between the dunes. When man interferes the next major storm. with the dune system, both the natural and man-made systems suffer. We must recognize the mobility of dune systems, even those Dune fields stabilized by vegetation. By prohibiting vehicles on the dunes, and Dune fields are open, bare to grassy sand dune areas found by building boardwalks and footbridges over the dunes rather than between the primary dunes and the forest (if present), or between building footpaths through them, we may preserve the dunes. the primary dunes and the sound or bay if such a body of water Avoiding the construction of seawalls, groins, and bulkheads also exists. Some of these dunes are active, with the sand and dune preserves dunes by assuring that the sand flow that feeds them is positions continually shifting; other dune fields are temporarily not interrupted. stable and do not move much at all. If dunes are destroyed or threatened, there are some remedial Stable dune fields may offer sites that are relatively safe from steps that can be taken to stabilize them artificially. Planting vege- the hazards of wave erosion, overwash, and storm-surge flooding tation types that can live in the dune environment serves to sta- provided that the elevation is sufficiently high. However, digging bilize existing dunes and encourages additional dune growth (see up or disturbing the dunes for construction may cause blowing references 71 through 8o, appendix Q. Snow fencing is commonly sand, the destabilization of dune vegetation, and increasing sand used to trap sand and to initiate or increase dune growth. movement. Do not build where dunes show bare, unvegetated The high elevation of a dune does not in itself make a site safe. surfaces; such dunes are active. An area with a high erosion rate is quite likely to lose its dune protection during the average lifetime of a cottage. Even setback Overwash tans ordinances, laws which require that buildings be placed a mini- Overwash fans develop when water, thrown up by waves and mum distance behind the dune, do not guarantee long-term pro- storm surge, flows between and around dunes or across flat tection. Hurricane Frederic removed much of the protective dune stretches of coastal property into bodies of water landward from line on which such an Alabama law was based. Post-Frederic the beach. Such overwash waters carry sand and deposit it in flat, construction was still placed as if the dune line remained. These fan-shaped masses (fig. 4A). They also transport brown, white, beach-front cottages and condominiums will not fare well in the and natural-colored shells inward from the beach. These fans pro- next hurricane because they are without any natural protection! vide sand to form and maintain dunes and build up the elevation. 4. Selecting a site 57 Although the overwash process is constructive in the long term, during actual fan formation erosion and destruction of structures are likely to occur. When primary dunes are high and continuous, overwash is relatively unimportant and restricted to the beach and near-shore area. This case is illustrated on the extreme western end of the Fort Morgan Peninsula. Where dunes are absent, low, or discontinuous, overwash fans may extend across narrow necks of land between bodies of water as they do on the western end of Dauphin Island, Petit Bois Island, Ship Island, Horn Island, and Cat Island, and near Gulf Shores where overwash into Little Lagoon and Shelby Lakes occurred during Hurricane Frederic. a During severe hurricanes, only the highest elevations (generally above 15 to 20 feet) are safe from overwash. q- Overwash may damage or bury man-made structures. Roads may be buried (fig. 4-1) and escape routes blocked. Level roads '4 4 cut straight to the beach often become overwash passes during storms, especially where roads cut through dunes rather than over them. Thus, the roads built to increase development may contrib- ute to its destruction. Try to avoid building on overwash fans, especially if fresh or unvegetated. Such areas may be difficult to recognize if fans have been destroyed or modified by bulldozing or sand removal. If no Fig. 4.1. Overwash fans produced by Hurricane Frederic on Dauphin alternative site is available, you must build on stilts and allow Island, 1979. Note that the lobe- shaped massesof sand buryand block overwash to continue and to build up sand. Use overwash deposits the only escape route from the island. Photograph provided by the removed from roads and driveways to rebuild damaged dunes; do Topographic Bureau of the Florida Department of Transportation. not remove the sand from the area. 58 Living with the Alabarna- Mississippi shore Grasslands Alabama-Mississippi coast, passes formed in the offshore barrier Grasslands are located either behind dune fields or adjacent to islands tend to close rapidly but reopen in subsequent storms, salt marshes. Such areas may be relatively flat, built up as a terrace although the pass between the two parts of Ship Island has re- of coalescent overwash fans, and generally are subject to future mained open since it was cut by Hurricane Camille in 1969. Be- flooding and overwash. Natural grasslands may be difficult to dis- cause passes (inlets) tend to reappear in the same places, such sites tinguish from artificial bulldozer-flattened developments, but the are not good places to build structures. For example, Dauphin former is characterized by a diversity of plants (for example, salt- Island has been cut twice in this century in the same area, and that meadow cordgrass, yucca, cactus, and thistle). area is now developed! Sediment carried through passes, either into the sound or sea- Passes (inlets) ward, builds an underwater shoal referred to as a tidal delta. The Passes, or inlets, are the channels that separate islands and/or sediment may accumulate to fill the pass or cause shoaling so that lead into bodies of water inland from the beach (for example, the pass is unnavigable. The strong westerly sand transport along Little Lagoon). Some passes are permanent, while others usually the barrier island tends to cause shoaling in the eastern parts of form, or reopen, during hurricanes or severe storms (fig. 4.2). As the passes, forcing a westward migration. Today most larger passes a hurricane approaches a coastal area, strong offshore winds drive are dredged to keep the channels open for navigation, so that the storm-surge waters and waves against the shore, into adjacent natural healing and migration processes are less common. The bodies of water, and up embayments. As the storm passes, the associated tidal deltas also are important natural sand reservoirs wind either stops blowing or shifts to blow seaward, causing water that contribute to coastal equilibrium. Sand Island off the mouth to return seaward. If existing passes do not allow the water to of Mobile Bay is an emergent portion of such an ebb-tidal delta. escape fast enough, a new pass may be cut from the "land" side. Forest, thicket, and shrub areas Low, narrow areas lacking extensive salt marsh and/or opposite river or estuary mouths are likely spots for pass development. Forest, thicket, and shrub areas are generally the safest places for They should therefore be avoided as building sites. Parts of Per- cottage construction. Under normal conditions, overwash, flood- dido Key, West Beach, and Dauphin Island in Alabama, Deer ing, and blowing sand are not problems in these vegetated envi- Island, and the barrier islands of Mississippi are particularly sus- ronments. The plants stabilize the underlying sediment and offer ceptible to pass formation. a protective screen. Once formed, a pass may migrate laterally, destroying struc- If you are building in a vegetated area, preserve as much vege- tures and property in its path, or it may close naturally. Along the tation as possible, including undergrowth. Trees are excellent pro- 4. Selecting a site 59 tection from flying debris during hurricanes. Remove large, dead trees and limbs from the construction site, but conserve the sur- rounding forest to protect your home. Stabilize bare construction areas as soon as possible with new plantings. The presence of an active dune field on the margin of a forest may threaten the forest. For example, on Dauphin Island where large dunes have migrated landward into a pine forest, the re- exposed trunks of trees buried and killed as the dunes migrated are now seaward of the present dunes. These dunes have been artificially stabilized by sand fencing and planted vegetation. Marshes Marshes are prolific breeding areas for many organisms such as fish, birds, crabs, and shrimp. Their extensive shallows provide considerable protection against wave erosion. In the past, how- Z ever, marshes have been filled to expand land areas on which to a il(o build. Many examples can be noted around Mobile, Pascagoula, Biloxi, and on the north side of the Fort Morgan Peninsula. Areas around finger canals (fig. 4-3) often have been built up from dredge and fill of marsh. Nature usually takes revenge on those who occupy this land. Fig. 4.2. Storm pass produced by Hurricane Frederic, 1979, in the Buried marsh provides poor support for foundations, and the Shelby Lakes area east of Gulf Shores, Alabama. Note that the pass groundwater reservoir usually is destroyed. Thus, such building cuts the only road through the area (left to right), and that the road is sites may have an inadequate supply of freshwater unless con- burried by overwash and is washed out in several places. Photograph nected to a municipal system. If septic systems are needed in the provided by the Topographic Bureau of the Florida Department of absence of a sewer system, they often do not function properly. In Transportation. addition, effluent waste from such sites has closed adjacent marshes to shellfishing. 60 Living with the Alabama- M i ssissi ppi shore Bluffs Bluffs are the product of a retreating shoreline into an upland. wh& Uplands, of course, are safe for development, but buildings should be located well back from the bluff edge. Wave erosion, especially during storms, undercuts and steepens the slope, which causes slumping. The beach at the base of the bluff is often narrow or absent, and there may be a pile of slumped bluff material (talus) that serves to temporarily protect the base of the bluff. Such material should not be removed. Groundwater seeping through the bluff face contributes to the erosion as material is sapped away. @[email protected] Bluff retreat is usually sporadic, taking place during storms. How- ever, loading the bluff with structures, ground vibration, or adding water to the ground may accelerate bluff retreat. Something as simple as watering a lawn at the edge of a bluff may trigger bluff Fig. 4.3. Finger canal. Photo by Bill Neal. failure. Bluffs can be partially stabilized through vegetation cover and drainage systems to remove water. The bluffs are sand sources for adjacent beaches, so revetments are not recommended. Marshes should not be dredged or filled. It is illegal to do so Most bluff shorelines are found along the bays, such as in the without a permit. New marsh may indicate overwash being carried Fairhope area and the spectacular Red Bluff. Lower bluffs occur into the sound to provide shallows for marsh growth, another clue along the north side of Sunny Cove in southwest Mobile Bay, west to active overwash areas. Where sound shorelines are eroding, it of the Pascagoula River in Jackson County, along parts of Biloxi is possible to create new marshes to stabilize the shoreline. This Bay, and in other embayments. method is highly preferable to bulkheading; it not only protects the shoreline, but it also allows for the formation of new living Water problems: an invisible crisis areas for marine plants and animals. Bay-front property owners should encourage marsh growth, rather than remove marsh for One of the more significant hazards to living in the coastal zone, easier water access. especially in areas not served by a municipal water supply, is con- 4. Selecting a site 61 tammated water. Although such pollution has not yet caused an clean sand underlie the area, the thickness of the lens should be epidemic, its potential to do so threatens much of the developing about 40 feet for every i foot of average island elevation. The top coast, from individual homes, to small villages, to large develop- of the freshwater lens is known as the groundwater table, and ments. Basically the problem involves 3 factors: water supply, on most islands it is this shallow reservoir that supplies domestic waste disposal, and any form of alteration that affects either of freshwater. them. While finger canals are the most obvious illustration of If too many wells are dug into the groundwater table, the table alteration, keep in mind that dredge-and-fill operations (for ex- drops. Early occupants of a development should not be surprised ample, the channeling of islands or the piling of dredge spoil) and if their shallow wells dry up as the development grows. If many other construction activities of man also may alter the ground- wells are overpumped and the groundwater table goes down, salt- water system. water intrusion may occur. Seeking alternative sources of water Water supply such as deep aquifers, or building alternative sources such as municipal water systems (deep wells, pipelines, filtration plants), Just as the quality and availability of water determine the plant is expensive. and animal makeup of a coastal ecosystem, they also determine in Shallow groundwater wells also are a major source of domestic part the coastal zone's ability to accommodate man. Water quality water for areas on the mainland adjacent to the coast. Because of is measured by potability, freshness, clarity, odor, and the presence tidal effects in the estuaries, surface waters are not primary sources or absence of pathogens (disease-carrying bacteria). Availability of drinking water. implies the presence of an adequate supply, both in quality and Large developments draw their water supply from rock units quantity. beneath the younger surface sands and muds (for example, Dau- The only freshwater directly available to many coastal areas, phin Island). These aquifers are rock formations that are exposed especially barrier islands, is from rainfall. This water seeps through on the coastal plain (their recharge area) and that dip seaward the porous and permeable sands and builds up as a lens or wedge beneath the coast. The freshwater in such aquifers has been ac- of freshwater. This lens overlies saltwater that seeps into the sedi- cumulating over thousands of years, but large developments with- ments from the adjacent Gulf, sound, or bay. The higher the land's draw it faster than it can be replaced (recharged). In effect, the elevation above sea level, and the greater the accumulation of water is being mined, and as it is pulled out the space is filled in freshwater, the greater the thickness of the freshwater lens. In with salt-water, contaminating existing wells and destroying the theory, for islands and peninsulas, if you assume that many feet of adjacent aquifer as a freshwater source. As condominiums and high-rises replace cottages, the water 62 Living with the Alabama-Mississippi shore demand will increase. Alternatives must be sought, and they may because of contamination by sewage and other pollutants. Others be expensive. Coastal property owners will bear the cost. have been killed as they were buried under silt. Consult the proper authorities about water quality and quantity Municipal waste treatment plants may be one answer for larger before you buy! (Also see appendix B, Water resources.) communities, although such plants may become overloaded or in- efficient. Stricter enforcement of existing codes, policing of exist- Waste disposal ing systems, and proper site evaluation before issuance of permits Waste water disposal goes hand in glove with water supply. should be required by civil officials. In addition, homeowners Where municipal sewer systems are lacking, the primary means should learn the mechanics of septic systems in order to prevent of waste-water disposal is the home septic system. This system malfunctioning or to spot problems early (see Sanitation and sep- consists of a holding tank, in which solids settle and sewage is tic system permits, appendix B). biologically broken down, and a drain field that allows water to percolate into the soil. The soil then filters and purifies the water. Finger canals Unfortunately, the same natural system that is used to cleanse the A common man-made alteration that causes water problems is water is often used to supply water to residences. the finger canal (figs. 4.3 and 4-4). Finger canal is the term applied Many communities are unaware of the potential water problems to the ditches or channels that are dug for the purpose of providing they face. In the wake of Hurricane Frederic the Mobile County everyone with a waterfront lot. Canals can be made by excavation Health Department issued a series of regulations concerning the alone, or by a combination of excavation and infill of adjacent, repair and replacement of damaged septic systems on Dauphin low-lying areas (usually marshes). Finger canals can be found in Island. Officials also reiterated the ban on new septic systems Perdido Bay, on Dauphin Island, and in St. Louis Bay. initiated in 1976. The developed eastern half of Dauphin Island is The major problems associated with finger canals are the (i) now served by a municipal sewage system. Crowded development, lowering of the groundwater table; (2) pollution of groundwater by improperly maintained systems, and systems installed in soils un- seepage of saltwater or brackish canal water into the groundwater suitable for filtration have resulted in poorly treated or untreated table, which also can adversely affect vegetation; (3) pollution of sewage entering the surrounding environment. Polluted water may canal water by septic seepage; (4) pollution of canal water by flood from septic tanks into domestic wells, spreading hepatitis stagnation resulting from lack of tidal flushing or poor circulation and other diseases. It also may enter sounds and marshes, con- of waters; (5) fish kills caused by higher canal water temperatures; taminating shellfish. Many oyster reefs are closed to harvesting and (6) fish kills caused by nutrient overloading and deoxygena- tion of water. 4. Selecting a site 63 Land FINGER CANAL Land CO ............ ......... ........ .... ......... ........ ............. fD Se i t U- L- CL (Salt or brackish water) Sys (Salt water) Septic effect pollutes ground water supply as well as finger canal water. Poor circulation, high nutrient input, and associated fish kills result in concentration of pollutants in canal waters. Salt water infiltrates into ground water, destroying quality of fresh water supply. Fig. 4.4. Finger canal model illustrating associated water quality problems. 64 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore Bad odors, flotsam of dead fish and algal scum, and contamina- tion of adjacent shellfish grounds are symptomatic of polluted canal water. Thus, finger canals often become health hazards or simply places it is unpleasant to live near. Residents along some older Florida finger canals have built walls to separate their cot- tages from the canal! Should you consider buying a lot on a canal, remember that canals are generally not harmful until houses are built along them. Short canals, a few tens of yards long, are generally much safer than long ones. Also, while most canals are initially deep enough for small-craft traffic, sand movement can result in the filling of the canals and subsequent navigation problems. Finally, on narrow 4(@ T" stretches of land, finger canals dug almost to the Gulf offer a path of least resistance to storm waters and are therefore potential locations for new inlets. Property owners along finger canals on Dauphin Island found themselves owning tiny islands or open water after Hurricane Frederic in 1979 (fig or their canal was A .4-5), choked with sand. The costly redredging and reconstruction of the canals was not a cost these owners anticipated when they pur- chased their property. Fig. 4.5. Post-Frederic view of finger canals on Dauphin Island. As the Site safety: rules of survival sea washed over the island, the canals became channels that focused In order to determine site safety along a hurricane-prone coast erosion, leading to their breaching and the isolation of intercanal prop- erty (islands). In other cases, overwash sand filled in canals. Photo- it is necessary to evaluate all prevalent dynamic processes that graph provided by the Topographic Bureau of the Florida Department operate. Information on storm surge, overwash, erosion rates, inlet of Transportation. formation and migration, longshore drift, and other processes may 4. Selecting a site 65 be obtained from maps, aerial photographs, scientific literature, however, that small maps of large areas must be generalized and or personal observations. Appendix C provides an annotated list that every site must still be evaluated individually. Safe sites may of scientific sources; you are encouraged to obtain those of interest exist in high-risk zones, whereas dangerous sites may exist in low- to you. Although developers and planners usually have the re- risk zones. sources and expertise to use such information in making decisions, Following is a list of the characteristics that are essential to site they sometimes ignore it. In the past the individual buyer was not safety. likely to seek such information in deciding on the suitability of a given site. Today's buyer should be better informed. Checklist for evaluation of the safety of your site To help the dweller along the Mississippi-Alabama coast, we have drawn a series of diagramatic maps (figs. 4.6, 4. 10, 4-4, 4.19, 1. Site elevation is above anticipated storm-surge level (table 4. 1 4-21-4.22, 4.24-4.26, 4.28, 4.30-4-31, 4.33-4-35, 4.37) that sum- 2. Site is behind a natural protective barrier, such as a line of sand marize information currently available from a cross section of dunes. scientific literature. Our conclusions, as represented on the maps, 3. Site is well away from any pass or position of former pass. are based on published data, aerial photographs, charts and maps, 4. Site is in an area of shoreline growth (accretion) or low shoreline as well as our personal communications and observations. These erosion. Evidence of an eroding shoreline includes (a) sand maps present zones classified as high, moderate, or low risk on the bluff or dune scarp at back of beach; (b) stumps or peat exposed basis of the summarized information. The risk terms are some- on beach; (c) slumped features such as trees, dunes, or man- what arbitrary, but high risk implies at least 3 real dangers from made structures; (d) protective devices such as seawalls, groins, among flood potential, wave impact, erosion, overwash, pass mi- or pumped sand. gration or formation, poor escape routes, or the lack of natural 5. Site is located in an area backed by salt marsh (for island or protection (for example, dunes, elevation, and vegetation). A low peninsular locations). risk zone is an area where only i of these hazards is likely. 6. Site is away from low, narrow portions of land backed by water Buyers, builders, or planners can assess the level of risk they are bodies. willing to take with respect to coastal hazards. The listing of spe- 7. Site is in an area of no or low historic overwash. cific dangers and cautions provides a basis for taking appropriate 8. Site is in a vegetated area that suggests stability. precautions in site selection, construction, and evacuation plans. 9. Site is well away from edge of bluff or escarpment. Our recommendation is to avoid high-risk zones. Keep in mind, i o. Site drains water readily, even after heavy rain. 66 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore HAZARD ZONES ENVIRONMENTS M High Risk F-] Ma,ah Mode,ate Risk Lo, Risk Land 0 -1 ==&_3 Kilometers 0 1 Miles [email protected] $TATE PAF tK Shelby Lakes 16 ROMAR BEACH historic inlet HII I 11111111111111111111111111111111111 1111 DANGER: High storm-surge potential (flooding and wave attack) DANGER: Civerwash extensive DANGER: Overwash extensive; protective CAUTION: High storm-surge potential dunes mostly destroyed by Hurricane CAUTION: Potential blockage of evacuatior Frederic route DANGER: High inlet potential in front of Variable erosion rate lakes DANGER: Potential blockage of evacuation route Fig. 4.6. Site analysis: Perdido Key to Shelby Lakes. Variable erosion rate 4. Selecting a site 67 DANGER: Land adjacent to coast is in the flood zone. Lowest risk sites are inland on forested high ground. The evacuation route is above the flood zone. Be La Launch Arnica Bay DANGER: Flood zone Orange DANGER: Evacuation bridge exits into high- each [email protected] PERDIDO BAY risk zone. Avoid low elevations, particularly at ends aswel Bear Point of the island. Best sites at higher eleva- Terry Cove tions behind protective dunes. st John ton Bay you ia arna I oin [email protected] 0 Old River at S PERDID KEY N DANGER: Overwash extensive, low, discon- DANGER: High storm-surge potential tinuous dunes k (flooding and wave attack) CAUTION: High storm-surge potential along DANGER: Extensive overwash, no protective ocean front dunes CAUTION: Inlet potential DANGER: Potential inlet formation and CAUTION: Historic high erosion rate migration CAUTION: Potential blockage of evacuation DANGER: Potential blockage of evacuation route route 68 Living with the Alabama- M issi ssi ppi shore i i. Fresh groundwater supply is adequate and uncontaminated. have chosen -especially if the area in which you live has grown. There is proper spacing between water wells and septic systems. With more people using the route, it may not be as satisfactory as 12. Soil and elevation are suitable for efficient septic tank opera- you once thought it was (see Hurricane information, appendix B). tion. 13. No compactable layers such as peat are present in the soil below Use the escape route early building footings. Site is not on a buried salt marsh. Be aware that some coastal areas have only i route for escape to 14. Adjacent structures are adequately spaced and of sound con- higher elevations. In the event of a hurricane warning, evacuate struction. immediately; do not wait until the route is blocked or flooded. Anyone who has experienced the evacuation of a community Escape routes knows of the chaos at bottlenecks. Depend on it: excited drivers will cause wrecks, run out of gas, have flat tires, and cars of Because of the threat of hurricanes, there must be a route that frightened occupants will be lined up for miles behind them. Be will permit escape from any low-lying coastal area to a safe loca- sure to have plans made for where you will go. Keep alternative tion inland within a reasonably short time. The presence of a destinations in mind in case you find the original refuge filled or in ready escape route near your building site is essential to site safety, danger. especially in high-risk areas where the number of people to be Hurricane Carmen, which hit the Gulf Coast in September 1974, evacuated, transported, and housed elsewhere is large. illustrated the desirability of leaving early to miss the traffic jam. More than 75,000 people are said to have evacuated from what Select an escape route ahead of time were thought to be the danger areas in Louisiana and Mississippi. Check to see if any part of a potential escape route is at a low The traffic was bumper-to-bumper on the few roads leading north. elevation, subject to blockage by overwash or flooding; if so, seek One accident backed up traffic for ig miles. Motel lobbies were an alternate route. Several exit routes from Gulf Coast low-lying filled with people looking for a place to stay; all rooms were taken. areas are flood-prone. Note whether there are bridges along the Weary people were forced to continue traveling north until they route. Remember that some residents will be evacuating pleasure found available space. Also keep in mind that hurricane-force boats, and that fishing boats will be seeking safer waters; thus, winds and heavy rainfall will extend far inland. Hurricane Frederic drawbridges will be accommodating both boats and automobiles. in 1979 generated 75-mph winds at Meridian, Mississippi, and Assume that the electricity will be cut off, perhaps when the bridge together with torrential rain made driving difficult for those com- is in the up position! Periodically reevaluate the escape route you ing inland from the coast. The continued population growth in the 4. Selecting a site 69 coastal zone of Alabama and Mississippi has only compounded Perdido Bay area the evacuation problem. Perdido Key. As shown in figure 4.6, Perdido Key is a high-risk zone. The area is a good example of barrier coast facing a multi- Individual area analysis: high-, moderate-, and low-risk zones tude of natural hazards, and one that is totally unsuited for devel- The Mississippi-Alabama coastal zone is a complex of different opment for the following reasons. (i) Except for areas immediately environments, each with its own set of conditions and problems. adjacent to Alabama Highway 182, the Alabama portion of the We have divided the area into a number of smaller units to facili- key is low in elevation (slightly above io feet). Hurricane Frederic tate discussion. totally flooded most of the key with high-water marks reaching 9 to 14 feet above sea level. (2) Sand dunes are poorly developed and sparsely vegetated. Many of the dunes are active, and the Alabama area is characterized by blowing sand. Hurricane Frederies storm surge and waves swirled over the key, washing the highway out in Baldwin County several places and damaging the few houses that were in the area. (3) Overwash has been extensive. (4) The potential exists for ero- Diversity characterizes the Baldwin County coast with more sion, flooding, and inlet formation to occur from the landward than 30 miles of ocean Gulf shoreline, and many times that length side of the key. Perdido Pass is an engineered inlet, no longer able of shore again in Mobile Bay, Bon Secour Bay, Wolf Bay, Perdido to widen or "blow-out" in response to a big hurricane. These waters Bay, Bayou St. John, Old River, and the many smaller bays and are likely to seek a new route to the sea during flooding by form- bayous. Because of shoreline diversity the county is subdivided ing a new inlet. (5) These last 3 hazards may preclude evacuation into 3 major sections to simplify this discussion. The first area is on Highway 182, the only escape route. (6) Erosion data show Perdido Key, Ono Island, and the Orange Beach- Caswell- Bear mixed results; this beach is sometimes eroding, sometimes build- Point area. The second area is the Gulf Coast west of Perdido ing up, but net erosion is expected over the intermediate term Pass to Mobile Point at the end of the Fort Morgan Peninsula, because of the rising sea level. Sand trapping due to the break- including Gulf Shores, Gulf Highlands, and the peninsula's bay water cannot be regarded as the pattern for the entire key. side. The third area of the county to be examined is the eastern In 1983 construction began on condominiums in this area (fig. shore of Mobile Bay, including the shores of Bon Secour Bay 4.7; see chapter 5 for a review of the controversy). Construction north of the Bon Secour River. leveled dunes, and buildings are being located precariously close to the shoreline. Destruction will be severe for this area, even in 70 Living with the Alabama- Mi ssi ssippi shore changes in Perdido Pass (fig. 3-3). Ono Island's low western end also has undergone some changes in shoreline position. The is- i _4F;, land's position landward of Perdido Key affords protection from direct storm surge and wave attack, but farther west in the Gulf Shores area cottages on the north side of Little Lagoon suffered considerable damage or destruction during Hurricane Frederic in spite of a similar "protected" position. rhose central portions of the island with higher elevations on -A-i vegetated dune ridges are suitable for limited development. There- fore, Ono Island can be looked on with caution, particularly in view of the single escape routes exit onto Perdido key (fig. 4.8), a high-hazard zone. As development on Perdido key increases, Ono Island's evacuation problem worsens. In addition, water supply Fig. 4.7. Condominium construction on Perdido Key, 1984. Compare may be a problem. During the summer of 1984 the island experi- to Figures 4.8 and 5.2. Note absence of dunes and positioning of build- enced a water shortage and sewer difficulties. ing at back edge of beach. Photo by Eugene Brannan, Freelance Orange Beach- Caswell-Bear Point The peninsula that lies be- Photography Unlimited, @ 1984. tween Bay La Launch-Arnica Bay and Terry Cove-Bayou St. John is an example of a more protected area in the coastal zone the next moderate hurricane to make local landfall. The Florida that is suitable in part for development. Shoreline property along section of Perdido Key has a few areas of higher ground (locations Terry Cove is flood-prone, as is water-front property west of not flooded by Frederic), but in general it suffered the same type Orange Beach at the south end of Wolf Bay. For example, Fred- of destruction as the western portion during Hurricane Frederic. eric's flood level approached 8 feet along the south shore. Low-risk Ono island. This island owes its "island" character to the work of sites are in the central portion of the peninsula where elevations man. At one time this strip of land was connected to the Alabama are on the order of 20 feet. Keep in mind that structures at higher mainland, but between 1867 and 1892 the local residents exca- elevations are still vulnerable to hurricane winds, and in the event vated a channel through the western end of the peninsula. The of a hurricane early evacuation may be warranted. High ground connection of Perdido Bay directly to Perdido Pass via Bayou St. with good vistas plus proximity to water access and a short drive John reduced the flow through Old River and contributed to later to the beaches make this a prime area for consideration. 4. Selecting a site 71 Cotton Bayou (North Shore). The point of land between Cotton Bayou and Terry Cove is a low-lying, marshy area that has been filled and partially developed. The entire area was flooded during Hurricane Frederic and will be flooded in the future. Finger canals ....... dredged to provide more property with water access have enhanced this likelihood, as well as creating the potential for other water N1 quality problems. Although the area is protected from the open Gulf, it should be regarded as a moderate-risk zone. Owners of existing structures should consider improving the structural integ- rity of their buildings (see chapter 6). Gulf beaches (Perdido Pass to West Beach) @d Gulf beaches, south of Cotton Bayou. The peninsula from Perdido Pass (Alabama Point) to the area near the junction of Alaba ma Highways 182 and 161 is developed on the Gulf side and in the vicinity of the pass. The east end, adjacent to Perdido Pass, his- torically is an area of rapid shoreline erosion (greater than i o feet a year; reference 58, appendix Q. However, the stabilization of the inlet with the construction of the seawall/ breakwater in the 196os altered this pattern. Fill in back of the breakwater and some accre- Fig. 4.8. Ono Island and bridge onto Perdido Key in 1981 prior to tion to the west widened the area near the jetty; however, all of the development on the key. Ono Island's relative low-risk sites on vege- land in front of Cotton Bayou should be viewed as a moderate-risk tated high ground behind dunes stand in sharp contrast to the high- zone. Therefore, all development in the area should be approached risk sites of the low, nearly featureless key that faces the open Gulf. with caution. Note the low elevation of the escape route. Residents should evacuate As a general guideline in looking for the safest sites, the land early in the face of a hurricane threat. Photo by Bill Neal. located in the central part of the peninsula, near the highway, at the higher elevations behind the dunes is best, assuming prudent construction practices are followed. For the most part, this area is 72 Living with the Alabarna- Mississippi shore landward of the line of pre-Frederic cottages that were not flooded The low-lying shore along Cotton Bayou is subject to flooding. in that storm but that lost protective dune elevation between them Again, the higher elevations are adjacent to the highway. and the Gulf Although stable and vegetated dunes exist along the The area east of Romar Beach is also classified as a moderate- beach front, they are generally low and offer no protection to the risk zone (fig. 4.6); however, it is somewhat more stable than the cottages built between the dunes and the Gulf of Mexico! Access peninsula. roads and driveways that cut through dunes create potential sites Romar Beach-Shelby Lakes area. Beach-front sites are danger- for overwash during storms. ous. Figure 4.6 indicates the increasing risk due to coastal hazards Shorefront property should be avoided. A moderate hurricane westward from the junction of Highways 16 1 and 182 to west of making a landfall west of this area will cause damage or destruc- Romar Beach. Much of the area inland from the beach is part of tion to property even in the most ideal sites within this zone. The Gulf State Park and is either marsh or very low in elevation. West newer condominiums and a hotel scheduled for construction in from the junction for a distance of approximately 2.3 miles, this 1984 lie in Frederic's storm-surge zone. Unfortunately, the pri- mainland coast has dunes that locally reach elevations greater than mary dune line as defined for the setback requirement was severely 12 feet. Sites at these higher elevations near the highway, and eroded during Hurricane Frederic, and overwash was extensive. where there are protective dunes between the site and the beach New structures that satisfy the setback requirement, but that in front, may be regarded as being in the moderate-risk category (fig. fact lack the intended natural protection of a well-developed dune 4-9). For instance, Frederic's flood level was in excess of 15 feet line, are facing high risk. Such development actually adds to the above mean low water at some points in this area. threat that exists for its neighbors, especially when dunes have Continuing through Romar Beach to the eastern beach bound- been leveled during construction. Not surprisingly, some of the ary of the state park, Frederic's storm surge eroded away the dunes original residents in this area refer to these development methods that formerly offered some protection from storm waves. Flood as "rape and run"-strong terms that reflect the opinion that the levels were near 17 feet, and wave runup brought water to eleva- developers will be gone, leaving new owners and their neighbors tions of nearly 24 feet above mean low water level, one of the to suffer the consequences. The lesson is to know the ownership of highest for Frederic. Flooding and overwash extended into the adjacent properties, their likely future, and how rigorous state low areas north of the highway. Dunes near the water were totally regulations and building codes will be interpreted and enforced, destroyed; others were extensively reduced in elevation. Until the or be ready to do legal battle (not what you came to the beach to washed-out dunes rebuild, this entire low-lying area is highly vul- enjoy). nerable to wave attack and overwash associated with future storms. 4. Selecting a site 73 If Hurricane Frederic had made its landfall a few miles farther east, this area would have experienced the same devastation that occurred in Gulf Shores. The area included in Gulf State Park south of the Shelby Lakes is vulnerable to inlet formation, flooding, and overwash (figs. 4.6 and 4-io). Fortunately, this high-risk area is available for public recreation without extensive development. Unfortunately, the con- enter and adjoining lodging facilities were constructed in the high-risk zone. Subsequently, Hurricane Frederic proved the high-risk nature of the site. Currently, protective dune growth is A being engineered in front of the facilities. The narrow strip of sand that separates west Shelby Lake from the Gulf was an inlet at some time in the past. The situation is like east Shelby Lake, which was connected to the Gulf by an inlet in historic times; this water connection was reopened temporarily -Sep- during Hurricane Frederic. This opening was closed in mid 6 tember Of 1979 to prevent saltwater mixing with the freshwaters of Shelby Lakes. Fig. 4.9. Romar Beach area illustrating contrasting site safety. Front Gulf Shores area. The community of Gulf Shores stands as a row of cottages lacks natural protection. Owners are attempting to classic example of how coastal development in a high-risk zone establish sand dunes through the use of sand fences. Cottages in originates, evolves, and responds to storm impact. Prior to World second row have good setback, are on higher ground, and have some War 11 the seed of this development was a single row of beach natural protection in the form of dunes and vegetation. Note access cottages owing their location to the fact that it was the end of the roads that cut through the dunes. These are likely to become over- road. The Sibley Holmes Trail, Alabama Highway 59, was the wash passes during a hurricane. Photo by Bill Neal. access. Highway 182 was a later catalyst for lateral growth. When beach-front real estate came into shorter supply, the marsh was developed. The dredge spoil from finger canals was the fill to make 74 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore ,,-IDANGER: Shore-front flood zone CAUTION: Moderate erosion rate Good sites on forested, higher elevations sey Mour B'lutj Fine Hills La k 0) Little Lagoon Ile, West Beach Pine Beach recent inlet historic inlet DANGER: High storm-surge potential (flooding and wave attack) DANGER: Total overwash probable. Hurri- cane Frederic totally destroyed protective dunes. HAZARD ZONES ENVIRONMENTS DANGER: High potential for inlet formation High Risk DANGER: Evacuation route extremely vul- M Moderate Risk 71 Marsh nerable to blockage Low Risk F-1 Land Variable erosion rate North shore of Little Lagoon is also an area of moderate to high risk. Low-risk Fig. 4.10. Site Analysis: Shelby Lakes, Gulf Shores, West Beach, Little Lagoon. sites at higher elevations on forested inland. 4. Selecting a site 75 0 2 3 Kilometers Miles N 7, Shelby Lake ULF S ORE historic inlet DANGER: Storm-surge flood zone DANGER: Overwash potential, no protective dunes DANGER: Evacuation route in flood zone CAUTION: Beach-front property is in poten- tial storm-wave zone. Low inlet potential. North side of development in moderate- risk zone. 76 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore wetland dry while providing more waterfront property. Occasional storms did not deter development. Camille, which generated flood levels of 6 to 9 feet above mean low water, was not taken as a harbinger of what might happen here io years later. The development illustrates the folly of building in unprotected, h -hazard coastal areas (fig. 4.io). Hurricane Frederic devas- igh tated Gulf Shores. Highway 182 was buried by sand or washed out in several places. Nearly every cottage and building suffered IF destruction or heavy damage. The tally was 8o percent (400) of the cottages destroyed and another 6 percent (21) of the cottages so severely damaged that the residents had to seek alternative shelter. The area is very low in elevation, including the poorly developed dunes that existed prior to Hurricane Frederic. The pre-hurricane ""to maps show the discontinuity of the dunes and susceptibility to overwash. Many of the dunes had lost their stabilizing cover of vegetation due to human activity. Few dunes survived the storm. Flood level reached ii to 12 feet above mean low water, both 0 along the beach front and in the back marsh area. On top of the storm surge, waves battered the structures. The entire community was flooded. Fig. 4.11. Post-Frederic construction in the Gulf Shores area. Note Frederic was not the last chapter in Gulf Shores storm history. complete absence of primary dunes and location of multi-unit con- The next storm will find the community more vulnerable because struction at the edge of the narrow beach. Pilings at left are for a the protective dunes are gone and the sand reservoir depleted. similar unit, increasing the density of development in this high-risk Future storms will be more costly because cottages are being re- zone. This area was completely flooded by Hurricane Frederic, and all placed by condominiums (fig. 4.11). Although the experience of of the area between the beach and road was overwashed. Photo by Frederic has increased precaution, the bravado to build the com- Bill Neal. 4. Selecting a site 77 munity back "bigger and better" than before has not lessened the risks from the now well-known hazards. Federal attempts to control development through restrictions on a new sewer system did not meet with local acceptance. The sys- tem was financed without federal aid, thereby avoiding growth restrictions. While this action is commendable from the point of view that the community is not relying on a federal subsidy, it will allow for greater growth. As the size of the investment grows, pressure will develop to protect that investment. By way of pre- diction, that pressure will come in the disguise of a movement to protect the beach (which, incidentally, still existed after Frederic). =21 Gulf Shores - West Beach. The area separating Little Lagoon from the Gulf responds to storms in the same way as a narrow barrier island (fig. 4. 1 o). Highly susceptible to erosion from flooding and overwash, it is unstable and unsuited for development. The nar- row, low sections also may be cut by new inlets like those that have formed in the past (fig. 4.12). The destruction from Frederic Fig. 4.12. Area between Gulf Shores and inlet into Little Lagoon. The am, AS-A,_ unvegetated white sand area is the overwash deposit of Hurricane Frederic. The cottages are post-hurricane occupation of a high-risk velocity zone. During storms the inlet may shift laterally, or a new inlet may form across the barrier between the Gulf and the lagoon. Photo by Bill Neal. Fig. 4.13. Rubble of cinder block cottage on north shore of Little Lagoon. Note cottages on the low barrier in the background, looking toward the Gulf across Little Lagoon. Photo by Bill Neal. 78 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore DANGER: High p flooding HAZARD ZONES ENVIRONMENTS M High Risk @@2 Marsh DANGER: Potential for inlet formation EM Moderate Risk DANGER: Local high erosion rate (5-10 Little Point Clear Low Risk EE Land feet/year) DANGER: Potential blockage of evacuation route 0 1/2 1 2 a Kilometers 2 Miles CAUTION: Overwash may penetrate from front side Saxon Bay CAUTION: Extensive marsh BON SECOUR BAY @[email protected]'__RON SECOUk- Edith St. Andrew# ---NATIONAL WILDLIFE Bay % .. .% - '' --*" Hammock RtFUGIt Navy Cove SURFSIDE GULF A AT MORGA14 SHORES HIGHLANDS I Mobile Point F DANGER, Highpotential for storm-su 'ge "Oodi ng DANGER -Potenti al forin let formation DANGER Localh gh erosi on rate (5 _10 feet/yea r) DANGER 'Potenti albICC kage of evacuat, on DANGER: High potential for storm-surge flooding and wave attack DANGER: Extensive overwash zone; Hurri cane Frederic washed away protective dunes DANGER: Moderate potential for inlet formation, western half DANGER: Evacuation route likely to be blocked during storm CAUTION: Local problems with erosion and water supply are likely Fig. 4.14. Site analysis: Fort Morgan Peninsula (Little Lagoon to Mobile Point; Mobile Bay and Bon Secour Bay). 4. Selecting a site 79 DANGER: Shore-front flood zone CAUTION: Local shore-front erosion and stabilization structure. Avoid shore-front sites. Lower-risk sites located at higher elevations inland. Seymour al GASQUE uti ALMETTO BEAC Pine Hills CEDAR GROVE 9000" LIttle L fzz- L,k BON SECOUR Pine Beach NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE DANGER: Beach-front overwash and flood- ing CAUTION: Potential blockage of evacuation route. Avoid the front 1,000 feet. Lower-risk sites located on inland vegetated dune ridges, behind remaining front dune. 80 Living with the Alabama-Mississippi shore as described above included this area. The hurricane's wind and storm surge also destroyed a large number of cottages on the north shore of Little Lagoon (fig. 4.13). Do not locate in this area unless you are willing to take the risk. Residents in this zone should evacuate early in the case of a storm warning. Fort Morgan Peninsula Figure 4-14 classifies both the Gulf and bay sides of the penin sula. With the exception. of local areas of high ground in Gulf Highlands, most of the area is in a high-hazard zone. The Gulf side has experienced shoreline erosion, and moderate hurricanes flood and overwash much of the area. The potential for new inlets also exists. Gulf Highlands - Surfside Shores. A series of east-west arcuate dunes ridges, curving slightly to the north, extend for a distance of .... ... ... 4 to 5 miles along the peninsula. These ridges may represent a remnant of an old barrier island. Elevations along some crests are in excess Of 20 feet. The eastern portion of the ridge complex Fig. 4.1 S. Bu i Id i n g sites at -Su rf side S h ores laid out on the back of the consists of sharply defined ridges separated by wide, low areas, beach in 1980. Although formerly a line of dunes, Hurricane Frederic sometimes wetlands. This extension of the upland is part of a wild- reclassified this land as beach in 1979. Dynamic equilibrium says it life refuge and contains very few sites suitable for development. will be beach again! Photo by Bill Neal. To the west, the sand ridges merge into a more continuous up- To the west, the sand ridges merge into a more continuous up- land that includes the residential development. Individual sites vary in relative safety, and even the best locations have a moderate risk. Frederic's floodwaters penetrated the frontal 8oo to i,ooo feet of shore front, and cottages in this zone were destroyed or 4. Selecting a site 81 heavily damaged. Even if a high, continuous frontal dune had been present before the storm, the area would not have escaped damage. Recorded flood levels varied between io.i and 13.6 feet above mean low water, existing sand dunes were leveled or heavily eroded, and even cottages on higher ground were damaged or destroyed by the brunt of Frederic's forces. Like Gulf Shores, the Gulf Highlands and Surfside Shores developments illustrate the temporary nature of human intrusion into such a dynamic zone. Such development is truly at Mother Nature's mercy. In the rush to rebuild after Frederic, the now-absent protective dunes and vegetation were ignored. Builders bulldozed sand onto the back of the beach to create building sites (fig. 4.15) in the high-hazard zone. Many structures were built seaward of the post- storm dune line (fig. 4. 16) and are in jeopardy from future storms and shoreline retreat. e If you must locate in these developments, choose a site on one of the well-vegetated dune ridges, preferably above 15 feet in ele- Fig. 4.16. Row of beach-front cottages at Surfside Shores facing the vation. Locate behind the first vegetated dune ridge, at least goo Gulf without protection. Previous hurricanes have wiped this area to i,ooo feet inland. Remember that storm surge is likely to flood clean, destroying dunes and earlier cottages. Stumps exposed on all the way across the barrier to the bay. Debris from frontal cot- beach are evidence of shoreline erosion. Photo by Bill Neal. tages will act as battering rams against inland buildings unless they are above flood-wave level. Preserve the vegetation cover on your site to afford wind protection. In case of a hurricane warn- ing, evacuate early! Low elevations along Highway 18o will flood, blocking escape. West Surfside Shores to Mobile Point. From Surfside Shores to the tip of the Fort Morgan Peninsula is a high-risk zone (fig. 82 Living with the Alabama- M i ssissi ppi shore 4.14). Storm-surge flooding, wave attack, erosion, and overwash brought widespread destruction to the area in 1979. Inlet forma- tion during hurricanes is also a possibility. Most of Highway i8o, the only evacuation route, lies in the flood zone, and portions of the road washed out or were buried during Hurricane Frederic. The only ground above flood level is in the vicinity of Fort Mor- gan, along with a narrow strip along the highway leading into the state park. Between Surfside Shores and Fort Morgan State Park several areas are being developed or redeveloped in the aftermath of storm destruction. As in the West Beach area where a line of dunes once offered some protection, the topography now is an it unobstructed slope to the beach. If Frederic were to be repeated in this area today, the destruction would be greater than in 1979. New condominiums in part of this development only add to the problems of effective evacuation and provision of an adequate, high-quality water supply. Some of these structures have been in violation of ordinances (see chapter 5). Bay Side (Palmetto Beach-Gasque to Fort Morgan). Low coastal sites in east Palmetto Beach are subject to flooding. Avoid sites Fig. 4.17. Hurricane Frederic's debris on bay side of Fort Morgan located right on the shore, especially at elevations less than 7 or 8 Peninsula. Cottages that remained intact floated into adjacent struc- feet. There are safer sites just inland with sufficient elevation to tures and into the bay in some cases. Photo by Bill Neal. afford some protection. For example, south of the highway near Cedar Grove the land rises to above 15 feet. Edith Hammock is the backside of the barrier forming the Gulf Highlands and in- cludes some protected sites, particularly the higher ridges south of the highway. Living on the bay side of the peninsula is no guarantee that 4. Selecting a site 83 your property will escape storm destruction. Examine not only your site, but the area between your property and the Gulf as well. Avoid low, narrow areas of the peninsula where floodwaters may attack from either direction (fig. 4.17). Much of the bay shore is eroding, so even if there were no hurricanes, shorefront property owners are faced with the added expense of trying to combat such erosion (fig. 4A8). These battles are lost to hurricanes; or, when persistent, strong winds out of the northwest generate destructive waves. About i mile west of Edith Hammock an extensive marsh makes "NOW up Little Point Clear and extends to St. Andrews Bay. This area is part of the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. Although a few forested sand ridges break up the marsh, Little Point Clear is not suitable for development. One would expect that a marsh @Mb-- -16 would not be developed, even if it were not part of a protected ........... area. This is not the case. Less extensive tracts of marsh land to the west of St. Andrews Fig. 4.18. Stumps and debris on beach are evidence of a retreating Bay on the narrow peninsula have been dredged and filled for shoreline. The property owners must maintain the wooden bulkhead bay-side development. From St. Andrews Bay to Fort Morgan or their property will erode to the same position. The irregularity pro- this development is in a very high-hazard zone based on just about duced in the shoreline is likely to increase the rate of erosion for the every criteria that might be used to evaluate risk. Historic erosion adjacent property, leaving both properties more vulnerable to the next rates for a significant part of this shore are from 5 to io feet per storm. Photo by Bill Neal. year. Storm-surge flooding affects the entire area, overwash may extend across from the front side, and new inlets may form. Numerous cottages along this Mobile Bay shore were destroyed or damaged by Hurricane Frederic. Between St. Andrews Bay and Fort Morgan State Park land is still available for purchase and development for those willing to take a very high risk. 84 Living with the Alabama- M i ssissi ppi shore Mobile Bay. eastern shore Figures 4.14 through 4.23 characterize the hazards of the coastal margin along the east side of Mobile Bay and part of Bon Secour Bay. No risk classification is assigned in most of the figures, but the hazards are listed. Natural processes that threaten bay-front property tend to be fewer in number or of less magnitude than along the Gulf. Nevertheless, storm-surge flooding and hurricane winds pose a real danger along this bay shore. Hurricane Frederic caused extensive damage in the area. Locally, the only route for evacuation is in the flood zone (for example, around Bailey Creek). Weeks Say Shoreline erosion also is a permanent problem. Hundreds of feet of shoreline retreat have been recorded in this century. Prop- erty owners have responded by building revetments and groins. From north of Weeks Bay to Fairhope the shoreline is a continu- Fish Ous hodgepodge of such structures (fig. 4.20). Beaches are absent River . . . . . . Point except immediately south of Great Point Clear. When buying property, keep the following in mind. Revetments and groins are evidence of an erosion problem. You will have the additional cost of maintaining these structures. Such structures do not protect property from flooding. Know your evacuation route, and do not DANGER: Flood zone have a false sense of security because you live on the bay and not DANGER: Low evacuation route on the Gulf. CAUTION: Shoreline erosion Bon Secour River to Gasque (Southeast Bon Secour Bay). A coastal CAUTION: Revetment maintenance marsh extends from the Bon Secour River to Seymour Bluff (figs. 4.14 and 4. 19). This marsh zone is totally unsuited for development, although inland from the marsh the upland is sufficiently removed from the coast to be safe from flooding. Seymour Bluff, aptly Fig. 4.19. Site analysis: Bon Secour Bay and Weeks Bay. 4. Selecting a site HAZARD ZONES ENVIRONMENTS High Risk 71 Marsh Moderate Risk Kilometers Lo. Risk Land . . ........ 0 112 1 2 Mile. Groins j 8 on Secour River Bon [email protected] National Wildlife [email protected]' 2 Cypress Point DANGER: Flood zone/wetland DANGER: Potential water quality problems DANGER: High storm surge-potential CAUTION: Shoreline erosion (flooding and wave attack) DANGER: Problems with water supply and foundations MOBILE BAY CAUTION: Moderate erosion rates CAUTION: Low evacuation route 86 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore r it's n, _L77- jo, I n Seacliff 'A 4' 0 Fig. 4.20. The armored eastern shore of Mobile Bay. The high rate of DANGER: Erosion/bluff retreat shoreline erosion has led to property owners' constructing a hodge- Highlands are I podge of groins, bulkheads, and walls. Beaches and dunes are gen- erally absent. Photo by Bill Neal. Magnolia Beach CAUTION: Flood zone (very narrow) named for its relatively high elevation along the south shore of CAUTION: Revetment maintenance Bon Secour Bay, parallels the bay to the community of Gasque. Fairhope has good elevation Sites located on the immediate shore front as at Gasque are in the flood zone as they discovered in 1979. Safer sites are to be found inland at the higher elevations, for example, south of Highway DANGER: High erosion rate i8o east of Gasque and farther east in the vicinity of Miller Ceme- DANGER: Flood zone tefy, north of the highway. DANGER: Engineered shoreline, no beach Sites along bluffs and wave-cut scarps should be avoided. Bluffs are semi-stable so the addition of a building or a simple activity such as watering the lawn can cause slope movement. Instead of Fig. 4.21. Site analysis: Mobile Bay's eastern shore; Mullet Point to the sea rising to claim the house, the house descends to meet the Fairhope. 4. Selecting a site HAZARD ZONES ENVIRONMENTS 0 1/? 1 2 3 Kilometers High Risk Marsh Miles Moderate Risk m waMp - Low Risk Land Groins Mullet Point DANGER: Shore-front flood zone DANGER: Engineered shoreline, no beach CAUTION: Evacuation route floods in Bailey POINT CLEA Creek area Battles Wharf DANGER: Flood zone CAUTION: Shoreline erosion Beach area Great Point Clear MOBILE BAY 88 Living with the Alabama-Mississippi shore Z 0 1/2 1 2 3 Kilometers 0 2 Miles cd 0 (D Park 1 1'6) 0 4 Spanish Fort '011ve say qlakely RivOI .. ........ ........ Fig. 4.22. Site analysis: Mobile Bay's eastern shore; Red Bluff to Bridgehead. 4. Selecting a site _j .4 .. .... rose ed DANGER: Erosion/bluff retreat Ra ged Highlands are low-risk area P int Village Point Mobile Bay HAZARD ZONES ENVIRONMENTS @ High Risk F7 Marsh CAUTION: Flood zone (variable width) EM Moderate Risk Land CAUTION: Revetment maintenance Low Risk F-1 Highlands are low-risk area [email protected] Groins 90 Living with the Alabama-Mississippi shore sea! In the area from the Bon Secour River to Catlin Bayou, Pauline. The safest sites anywhere in the coastal zone are on these erosion rates Of 3 feet per year have been measured. uplands, but well back from the edge! Son Secour River to Fairhope. The flood zone is continuous from Head-of-the-Bay. The delta complex at the head of the bay is the Bon Secour River to Fairhope (figs. 4J9 and 4.21). South of made up of unstable marsh land, swamps, and shifting channels Weeks Bay a wide area of marsh and swamp is subject to flooding. (fig. 4.24). Flooding may come from river runoff or coastal storms. Most of this region is part of the Bon Secour National Wildlife The habitat provided by the delta make it an important natural Refuge, but the development south of Weeks Bay lies in the dan- resource, and it has been placed on the National Register of ger zone. North of Weeks Bay to Magnolia Beach in Fairhope the Natural Landmarks. With the possible exception of expendable flood zone is usually narrow, extending inland to elevations of hunting or fishing camps, the delta is unsuitable and unsafe for between 5 and io feet. Most of the cottages between the shore and development. Frederic caused considerable damage to both the Eastern Shore Boulevard lie within or at the edge of the flood causeway and commercial buildings along the highway. zone. Many of these buildings, including the Grand Hotel on Great Point Clear, were damaged during Hurricane Frederic. Swamps (Gum, Caldwell, Titi) and creek floodplains inland of the coastal Fig. 4.23. Bluff shoreline. Waves erode base of bluff, causing slumping. road also are subject to flooding. Loading of bluff edge also causes slumping. Photo by Bill Neal. Fairhope to Bridgehead. From Fairhope to Spanish Fort (fig. 4.22) at the head of the bay the shoreline is formed by the bluff edge of the upland. The cliffs or bluffs reach a height of ioo feet at Red Bluff and form a shoreline quite different from that south of Fairhope. Very little land is present between the base of the i bluffs and the bay (fig. 4.23). These narrow strips are totally unsafe for development. Likewise, sites along the immediate edge of the [email protected] sandy bluffs also should be avoided. Shoreline erosion at the base of the cliff, groundwater seepage from the bluff face, or loading of the upper edge of the bluff may trigger slumping or sliding. With time, the cliff edge will migrate inland as the erosion process con- tinues. The price paid for the fantastic view from a bluff-edge house is likely to be a real-life cliff-hanger as in the old Perils Of 4. Selecting a site 0 1/ 3 Kilometers Miles 1 0 Delven Bay Polecat Bay MOBIL e Checaloochee Bay 31 6 42 HAZARD ZONES ENVIRONMENTS 00, High Risk E7 Marsh 10 Moderate Risk Low Risk 71 Land DANGER: Flooding DANGER: High erosion rate @DANGER: Wave zone Fig. 4.24. Site analysis: Head -of -the- Bay. 92 Living with the Alabama-Mississippi shore Fowl HAZARD ZONES ENVIRONMENTS Bay High Risk Barron Point Marsh Moderate Risk Low Risk Land *MON LOUIS ISLAND HOLLINGERS ISLAND Mississippi Sound er n 'ay 0 Be[ f *al 0 edar (16 Point unny Cove M n Louis Alabama Faustinas Deer River ID Port @oint / Judith Point DANGER: *Local high erosion rate (5-10 MOBiLE BAY feet/year) CAUTION: Lowland flooding Qau hin Island CAUTION: Potential blockage of evacuation route DANGER: High flood potential DANGER: Flooding of evacuation route, po- CAUTION: Narrow flood zone tential washout of roads and bridges Avoid low shore-front elevations DANGER: Erosion rate moderate to high DANGER: Flood potential DANGER: Moderate to high erosion ra CAUTION: Potential blockage of evac route Fig. 4.25. Site analysis: Mobile Bay's western shore; Mobile to Dauphin Island Causeway. 4. Selecting a site 93 Mobile County As in Baldwin County, the diverse shoreline of Mobile County is subdivided for purposes of discussion. Four distinct areas can be defined, both in terms of general types of coast and human use. These include the Mobile urban shoreline, the western shore of Mobile Bay, the northern shore of Mississippi Sound, and Dauphin Island. _2_3_4_5 Kilometers Miles Mobile The Mobile shoreline is a typical urbanized coast (fig. 4.25). From the mouth of Chickasaw Creek to the southern edge of the Lq Brookley area the shoreline is either artificial or extensively modi- fied. Large-scale dredge-and-fill operations were necessary for the T M ILE Port of Mobile, associated facilities, the airbase, transportation Dog River r corridors, and similar development. Much of McDuffie and Pinto Point islands is artificial land, built out of dredge spoil over the past century. Since 19 17 over i,6oo acres of new land was added in the Mobile Harbor area, most of it constructed during the period of CAUTION: Minor erosion CAUTION: Minor flood potential rapid development in the 195os and 196os. Prior to the intense development of this coast, it was eroding. Studies indicate that before the early igoos Choctaw Point and industrial/ the shoreline south to Brookley were eroding. That old shoreline Urban Coast now lies buried as much as 2,000 feet inland as a result of fill projects. And new fill projects are likely in the future. The industrial park development and proposed expansion of the state port facilities will require additional new land construc- 94 Living with the Alabarna- M i ssissippi shore tion in the area between Brookley and McDuffie Island. Such were damaged by Frederic's floodwaters, and associated wave ac- development is not without repercussions. The efficiency of storm tivity destroyed piers, seawalls, and other waterfront structures. sewers that outfall in the fill area may be affected. Flooding prob- Although erosion rates are highly variable, locally as much as 8 lems in some parts of Mobile may be related to existing shoreline feet per year average loss occurs. development that has altered drainage. The problem of increased As a general rule when choosing a site for low risk, try to locate pollution is always present as additional modification and develop- at an elevation of at least io feet. Stay well back from the shore- ment take place. Disposing of dredge spoil, a potential pollutant, line, especially if there is evidence of erosion. Such evidence is is a growing problem. Planners must take into account the total usually obvious in the form of a cliff or scarp at the back of the urban system of Mobile before future projects take place. The beach, fallen trees on the beach, stumps or roots of former trees in citizens of the city must be alert to possible problems before new place on the beach, or simply that the beach is narrow or absent. filling, dredging, and construction, rather than reacting after the Private erosion control measures (for example, bulkheads, and fact. groins) also reflect the problem. From the standpoint of coastal hazards to the individual resi- Locally, narrow fringes of marsh mark the shore. Do not regard dence or business, flooding is the greatest threat. Frederic, which such marsh as unsightly or something to be removed. The grasses was a i-in-2540-3o-year storm, flooded businesses in the vicinity baffle wave energy, trap sediment, and protect the shoreline. Re- of Water Street in downtown Mobile. Yet the July 1916 flood was moval of the marsh, even a little patch, may trigger shoreline ero- 2.8 feet higher than the one in 1979! Four other hurricane-related sion. Likewise, flotsam of tree trunks and stumps is common in floods in this century have come within 2 feet of Frederic's flood some areas as a result of the shore retreating into forested areas. level. Avoid low-lying areas along the waterfront, Threemile Creek, Such driftwood may be looked on as clutter, but it also may serve and the adjacent wetlands that are in the flood zone. as a natural protection against more rapid erosion. Mobile Bay. western shore Hurricane-strength winds also should be expected during the lifetime of any given structure along the western shore. Consider- Figure 4.25 characterizes the hazards of the west side of Mobile able wind damage accompanied Frederic. Appropriate construc- Bay. Like the eastern shore, storm-surge flooding and shoreline tion precautions may prevent costly damage. erosion are the 2 common threats to bay-front property. Hurri- Brookiey to Dog River. This area experienced storm-surge levels canes Frederic and Camille generated flood levels ranging from 6 of 8 to ii feet during Hurricane Frederic. Development located to 14 feet above mean low water along this coast. Many cottages at lower elevations suffered considerable damage. A significant 4. Selecting a site 95 stretch of Bay Front Drive was flooded, and heavy damage in the flood zone, such as south of the tidal South Fork Deer occurred along Highway 163 in the vicinity of Dog River. The River and along the small creeks near Belleforitaine, to lots that Mobile Yacht Club and numerous businesses located on the low, remain high and dry, such as those between Bellefontaine and filled marsh at the river's mouth were heavily damaged or de- Sunny Cove (fig. 4.25). Flood levels associated with Frederic were stroyed. higher in this area than to the north, as would be expected. The North of Dog River Point the present shoreline is in about the 10- to 15400t minimum ground elevation is a good guideline for same position as it was in the 185os. Apparently the shore built up avoiding flooding. Keep in mind that stilt or pole house construc- until about 1918 and has been eroding slowly since that time. tion may still be required to place the first floor above the ioo-year South of Dog River Point to Dog River the history of the shore- flood level. Locally, erosion rates can be high in this zone. Look line position is somewhat different. After a period of stability in for shore-front evidence of erosion, and talk to the neighbors to the nineteenth century, considerable erosion has occurred since see what they have experienced. 1918. The addition of piers, revetments, and similar structures Mon Louis Island. Lying between East Fowl River and Heron may be contributing to the continuation of this trend. Bay Cutoff, the northern portion of the island shore is much like Hollingers Island The bay front between Dog River and Deer the regions described above. Frederic's floodwaters were nearly 14 River is marked by a continuous row of cottages. Most of these feet above mean low water. Homes on high ground escaped water buildings were above the 6- to 7-fOOt flood levels of Frederic and damage (for example, around Faustinas), although wind damage Camille. Structures in the narrow flood zone at or below these occurred. Homes in low areas, such as north of Mon Louis and at elevations were damaged. Sites above io feet and back from the the edges of the bayous, were flooded. Historic erosion rates have shore can be developed with caution. Erosion rates are low along varied, and individual sites warrant individual evaluation. Gen- most of this stretch but will vary from site to site. The extensive erally speaking, however, shoreline erosion is not a major threat at marsh shore between Deer River Point and Deer River has been the present time. eroding at rates between 3 to io feet per year. Just north of the From Point Judith south, the southern portion of the region mouth of Deer River a road-rail line terminal has been built from should be looked upon as a high-risk zone for development. The dredge spoil out into the bay. The effect of this structure on adja- proximity to the Gulf and open water makes the region highly cent shorelines remains to be seen. susceptible to flooding (fig. 4.25). In this case, evacuation routes Deer River to East Fowl River. This mainland shore rises inland may be cut off, so if you do live in the area, evacuate early when to elevations in excess Of 20 feet. Developed sites range from those the hurricane warning comes. Heron Bay, Alabama Port, and 96 Living with the Alabarna- Mississippi shore Point Judith were all inundated by Frederic. Locally high erosion receives polluted water, adds up to a large cumulative loss for rates also are a threat to bay-front property. coastal residents. Cedar Point. This area and the marsh island between Heron and Storm-surge floods totally inundate these marshes (Frederic: 8 Mobile bays are good examples of the fragility of coastal environ- to 9 feet above mean low water) as well as the adjacent inland ments, physically, biologically, and as escape routes during storms. areas. Marsh shorelines are very unstable and are eroded rapidly. Over the years erosion is the dominant process to affect this area, Modern erosion rates for representative localities, such as Barron especially Cedar Point. The point eroded and migrated northwest- Point, Cat Island, and Marsh Island, range between 5 to 11 feet ward for hundreds of feet over the past century. Modern erosion per year (reference 58, appendix Q. rates are in excess of 8 feet per year at Cedar Point. This marsh West of Bayou Como and up Bayou La Batre is an area of old island is the mainland approach route off the Dauphin Island recreational development (San Souci Beach and south of Coden) Bridge and causeway. The 1979 hurricane not only destroyed the and the newer commercial development at Bayou La Batre (fig. bridge but washed out segments of the road. Keep in mind that a 4.26). San Souci translates to "without care" or "without worry.' very small break anywhere along Highways 163 and 188 in this Perhaps "Avec Souci Beach" would be a more appropriate name area is sufficient to trap evacuees. The Heron Bay Cutoff bridge to imply that development in this area should proceed with care! and especially the low road north of Cedar Point may be the weak It is difficult to imagine this area as a once popular resort. Today links in the escape chain. Early evacuation is a must for residents the road is at the edge of Portersville Bay, separated from the of southern Mon Louis Island as well as Dauphin Island. water by a deteriorating steel bulkhead. The numerous patches in the road, refill in back of this wall, and repaired sections of the Mississippi Sound. Alabama shore bulkhead are evidence of an erosion problem. The bulkhead is a Mon Louis Island-Portersville Bay. Most of this coast is salt marsh miniature seawall. The beach is absent. A row of summer cottages broken by tidal creeks (figs. 4.25 and 4.26). The marshes are not and some of the old resort buildings remain, but they face a ques- suitable for development, both from the standpoint of coastal haz- tionable future. The absence of a protective beach dune system, the ards and their importance as marine nurseries. Many fish and low elevation, and potentially high flood levels make a poor com- shellfish spawn in these creeks and wetlands. Every acre of marsh bination for safe development. Anyone depending on the coastal lost to development is a loss to the fishing industry. The marsh road for evacuation should leave very soon after the warning seems vast, but each small area dredged or filled, each acre that comes! 4. Selecting a site I orno f4 Ba u La Bat a og___ta Kil t BAY SWAMP.' Miles [email protected] Coden Sans Souci 0 say Grand Point PORTERSVILLE BAY oes ID \e HAZARD ZONES ENVIRONMENTS High Risk Marsh DANGER: High flood potential UM Moderate Risk Point aux Pins DANGER: Engineered shoreline, revetment Low Risk Land maintenance required DANGER: Potential blockage of evacuation route Fig. 4.26. Site analysis: Mississippi Sound (Portersville Bay). 98 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore The prospective buyer/builder also should be cautious of areas along or near the bayous. Even though inland from Mississippi Sound, hurricanes push floodwaters to the heads of bayous. Sites above io feet in elevation are safer from flooding than lower eleva- 'W" tions, but elevated structures may be required to make sure the living unit is above the ioo-year flood level. High elevation alone is not sufficient for establishing site safety. For example, west of Bayou La Batre is the Grand Bay Swamp. Much of the swamp is at or near the elevation of io feet. The forest vegetation and the elevation may give a false impression of stability, but a coastal swamp is not a safe place to build. It is subject to significant flood- ing during storms. The same is true for the marshes around Little A00 Bay and the western shore of Portersville Bay. Two to 3 miles inland, though, is the edge of the upland, rising from 30 feet to elevations greater than go feet. The upland provides safe sites with close proximity to boat launches, bay access, and recreational sites. Grand Bay. From Point Aux Pines to the Grand Batture Islands @P& the shore is a continuous expanse of salt marsh, extending inland Ile into swamps, and not illustrated in the map series. As noted above, this marsh also is subject to flooding and is highly erosion-prone (3 to 9 feet per year). Because it is unsuitable for development, and because of its great economic importance to the state of Ala- Fig. 4.27. Active dune field, eastern Dauphin Island. Dunes have mi- bama's fishing industry, this entire area should be preserved in its grated into edge of forest. The area forested in the middle of the island natural state. behind this continuous dune ridge was the only area of Dauphin Island not flooded by Hurricane Frederic's storm surge. Photo by Bill Neal. Dauphin Island Prior to the War Between the States, Petit Bois Island was in Alabama. Over the last century, however, Petit Bois Pass migrated 4. Selecting a site 99 laterally to the west, as did Petit Bois Island (fig. 2.3). Today Petit i,8oo feet), lacks well-developed continuous dunes, lacks good Bois lies entirely in Mississippi, giving Dauphin Island the dis- vegetation cover, and is fringed along its bay side by salt marsh. tinction of being [email protected] only barrier island. This 15-mile ram- All of the common barrier island hazards apply to this segment of part of sand protects Mississippi Sound and the mainland shore the island, that is, overwash, flooding, wave attack, shoreline ero- from the direct onslaught of hurricanes, but like Petit Bois it is an sion, and inlet formation. Said simply, this area is one of the most ephemeral feature. Hurricane Frederic in 1979 was the most recent dangerous on the Alabama coast! in a series of storms to rake the island. The eye of the hurricane Hurricane Frederic demonstrated the fragility of the spit portion passed over the center of the island, and the storm's economic of the island. The storm-surge flood is known to have exceeded 13 fallout brought Dauphin Island to the center of a political storm feet above mean low water in the Bienville Beach area. How deep over barrier island policies. it was over the spit area is unknown because the flood totally Dauphin Island is not a typical barrier island after the fashion inundated the natural features against which water levels might be of the Texas or Carolinas' barriers. The island did not form far measured! Overwash was extensive and crossed the island into the from its present position and migrate across the shelf as sea level sound. North-south streets and driveways funneled the overwash rose. The eastern 3.5 miles of the island was once a hill on the across the island. Cottages along Bienville Boulevard were heavily coastal plain mainland that existed in this position when sea level damaged or destroyed. The eye of the storm passed over Dauphin was lower. As sea level rose, flooding the former mainland, only Island so the impact was not as great as farther east, for example, the upper part of the hill was left emergent. Wave and wind ero- the Fort Morgan Peninsula, West Beach, and Gulf Shores. Imag- sion and longshore drift began to rework and redistribute the sand ine waves in Mississippi Sound that could lift and wash away the making up the hill. Gulf-side beaches formed, and a dune field concrete decking of the causeway and bridge! Developments along developed at the back of the beach. These dunes are still active, finger canals on the back side of the island (Silver Cay and Oro migrating slowly into the forest that has grown on the former Point) also suffered. Some intercanal property was left as minia- upland (fig. 4.27). ture islands, while other canals trapped sediment washed across Sand carried to the west began constructing a spit, extending the island (fig. 4-5). Homeowners were faced not only with cottage the island from the former hill to its present tip some i i miles to repair/ reconstruction but also with rebuilding the canals. Silver the west. The character of the spit is more typical of an active Cay property owners were faced with a collective out-of-pocket barrier island, and it is classified as a high-risk zone (fig. 4.28). It bill in excess of S8o,ooo for canal dredging and bulkhead repair is low in elevation (less than io feet), narrow in width (less than or replacement. Such potential additional costs are worth consider- ing in site selection next to finger canals. 100 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore HAZARD ZONES ENVIRONMENTS 9 .1/2 1 13 '2 Kilometers M High Risk Ej Marsh [email protected] 2 Miles N Moderate Risk Low Risk Land Mississippi Sound Oro Point 00 71 T Z 0 DAUPHIN ISLAND -1-forical inlet GULF OF MEXICO DANGER: High potential for total storm- surge flooding and wave attack DANGER: High potential for total overwash and overwash channels. Hurricane Fred- 'Storm- Iove rwash ne Fred_ fo rm ati 0n frot eric destroyed protective dune ] s. DANGER: High potential for inlet formation DANGER: Island migration, ocean-front shoreline erosion DANGER: Potential blockage of evacuation route Fig. 4.28. Site analysis: Dauphin Island. 4. Selecting a site 101 DANGER: High potential for total storm- It seems incredible, but after the destruction of Frederic, prop- surge flooding, wave attack, and breaching erty owners rushed to rebuild on sites of destruction, made even DANGER: High overwash potential more dangerous by the removal of protective dunes, stabilizing 40 DANGER: Inlet formation likely vegetation, and reduction of elevation (fig. 4.29). Shoreline erosion and the potential for inlet formation add to the risk. Early in this century a hurricane breached Dauphin Island, D up n Island 91 C, forming a 5-mile-wide, shallow inlet. The inlet gradually filled in Bay until a single island had re-formed by 1942. The September 4, 1948, hurricane again breached the island about 4,000 feet west of Oro Point. Extensive overwash occurred at that time as well. The a POst-195os development on the spit portion of the island has been 'D in these unstable areas. All sites on the entire spit must be re- Fort Gaines garded as in the high-risk zone (fig. 4.28). Even the very best Pelican Point construction will be vulnerable in such an area. H111111111111111111111 Because the spit is rapidly building up at its western end, aver- aging more than 150 feet per year, it is tempting to conclude that DANGER: High potential for blockage of island growth will increase its suitability for development. This is evacuation route during storms not the case. The western part of the island cannot be developed CAUTION: Backside flooding safely. The entire western segment is migrating northward. As CAUTION: Migrating dunes CAUTION: Variable erosion rate much as 8oo feet of northward movement in the last 130 years has Lower-risk sites located at higher eleva- been documented. The present Gulf shoreline is now in the former tions behind the sand dunes in the for- position of the island's Mississippi Sound shore! Put in somewhat ested interior of the island. different terms, the western end of the island eroded at a rate of over io feet per year in a study period between 1917 and 1974. Hardly a wise place to build. In contrast, the main body of the eastern portion of the island has some stable features, and lower-risk building sites are to be -spuulsi joililoq p;)dOl3AOP ISOW UO ftissitu si juiql slol!siA pur sluop!sw puulsi Aq lu;)wAofua joj @)ojnos -w U sapiAOld oslu li 'spjiq Suil-eAhtu ioj vaiu Suilsaj v su llom st, '1139N 11!q Aq 01014d -91noi 'swoods oijunbrims puu I-e!i1solial snoiownuioj lulTquq mijodwi adeosa Aluo eqj Buimoojq'pun qSeMJ9AO jol sl!npuoo leinleu awooeq UU*Sl ;)A.Mswd *ql -ApiooS uoqnpnV juuoijuN aqj ol p3su3l put, ll!M SA8M9AIJP 9t4l SWJOjS JO[LIW buijn(i -puelsi jo qlp!m moijeu pue Alun*oo oqj Aq [email protected])umo st puul @)qj *puulsi 3qj jo j3j3ujuqo lujnluu 'qoeaq eqj ol lxau se6elloop 6umoipsod asolo Aleweilxa Iseunp GAII lotuloj ;)T41 jo luuutuai u 'AlunjouuS [email protected] uoqnpnV juuoijuNI -c)alojd jo 9ou9sqe'SUOIjl?A9j9 MOI 91ON 'qSEMJGAO S,WAOIS aqj 10 86pe 9ql sl aueos aql jo Noeq eqi piemol punos eqj ui pues ;o duls moneu aim-69 i 3qj s3pnlc)ui puulsi oql jo puo unisloo podol;)Aapun ;)ql sebelloo jo suini aql 9141 -,6L6L ui opepoij aueownH Aq paAojlsgp ' -iqlp!m sli ol jrnb3 isuol w oaurlsip 10 Piemeas p-al-onilsuoo se6elloo mou smoqs oloqd ML slqj -quoz u joj [email protected] svq 3uil;)unp 3qj luqi ftiluoipui IoAoui saunp oqj st, pjezeq-q5iq ui puelsl uiqdnla(] walsem uo ju9LudOj9AG(] '6Z'tp 'Bid 2?uuuoddu wu s)lunil awl 'mnp aqj jo qlnoS i;)snoq punoj2jopun p3uuuldun uu owooaq Am sounp 0AIJOV ;)ql ol mol:) ooi il!nq osnoq V -1swoj m4l 3pvAui: ol 3nuiluoo Ipm [email protected])unp 3qj 1!luj si-iojja ;)SZ)ql J! '.I3AaMOq tsounp aqj 3zipiqvis oi jdw;)jjP uu ui pajonlisuoo swuoj puu p;)Iuuld u33q svq uoilinal3aA -q:pou 5ulju.Jfttu aju saunp a2jul oql looq:)s puulsl uiqdnuCl Qqj jo AI!UI'OIA aqj ui ';)Idwuxo joA -pitzuq u ju3swil OSJU '13A3moq '[email protected])unp aqL -suoijuAOjOioq&q all JL, UQJU slqj ul 3JU S;)I!s juawdol3AQP putisi is;)q oql -(8z-V q -S& 'OAlla UOIS WIP" puu LVV J) (QATICI QII!Aloqj Put"WWIS OPuuu'OH -utlof '1;)ajlS uoqnpnV '[email protected]) ioj) sl3wis iqlnos-qllou 3qj Suolu AljQdoid 3qj ol j3iljuq QAil:);Dlojd u sap!Aoid mil ounp ;Dql put, jaAal ms aAoqu laoj 01V unqi ajoLu oi asil sounp osoql -1sojoj aql puu jjnq oql u3ampq [email protected])IsAs 3unp p3dOjOA;)p-jj;)M PUU QAISUQIXO uU ST oniqj 'sauiuf) ljo_4 juau 'puulsi 3iql jo pu;) ujalstc) ;)uiai:IX3 3iql jo uoijd;)ox3 3ql qjyA -souid puu quo ql!m palswoj XpAvotj si puuldn latuloj ;)ql put, S;)I!w 9 * I ol spumo qlp!m PU'BISI .;)i?P!l aunp juluoij qSiq oqj puitl3q Pan polsaipj iou3jui all ui punoj ajoqsiddississin-ewL,qulVaqlql!M6UIAII ZOL 4. Selecting a site 103 Hazard zones to be avoided in the eastern section include the bit of moving sand is unsuitable for development, but the original ocean-front area between the beach and the high dune line. This plans for the new bridge are said to have included an exit ramp area is subject to storm floods and wave attack, overwash, and onto Little Dauphin Island. If so, the ramp plan was abandoned, occasional erosion. It is undeveloped and should remain so. The and the area was recently included as a unit in the Bon Secour eastern end of the island includes Fort Gaines and the Marine National Wildlife Refuge. Environmental Science Consortium facility. The shoreline along How do such high-risk zones as those on Dauphin Island come Pelican Point to the front of the island has been stabilized by to be developed? Access is the answer. The development of Dau- groins. The groins on the front side have become detached during phin Island is largely the result of the ease of access provided by storms, allowing some sediment bypassing (fig. 3-4). After Hurri- the Dauphin Island Parkway Bridge (Highway 163), completed in cane Frederic, considerable amounts of sand were pumped up on 1954. Development, once in place, created the political pressure to the eastern end of the island, burying some of the groins. The maintain access that allows for more development. Frederic's de- sand provided a temporary beach, but erosion is removing the struction of the bridge was met with nearly immediate Federal sand, reexposing the groins. Additional projects will be necessary Highway Administration approval of an "emergency" grant to re- in the future to maintain the shoreline position. build the bridge. The $38 million is a subsidy that serves redevel- The sound side of the eastern portion of the island is extensively opment in high- to moderate-risk areas that had only i,6oo per- developed, including finger canals and land areas built up from manent residents at the time (references 93-95, appendix Q. One dredge spoil. All of the back side of the island was flooded by study calculated that the bridge subsidy amounted to $50,000 per Frederic and will be flooded in future storms. Development along structure on the island before the storm, or $20,000 per structure the bridge approach received considerable damage. if all mapped lots were developed! These monies are on top of the Little Dauphin Island. A narrow ridge of sand and back marsh payoff in federal flood insurance, low-interest loans from the Small forms the barrier enclosing Dauphin Island Bay. At one time it Business Administration, federal dollars for a new sewage treat- was connected to the main island and probably derived part of ment facility, federal dollars to underwrite the emergency activities its sand supply from the eroding east end. The connection was of the Army Corps of Engineers, and other expenditures of federal severed with the dredging of Government Cut, a water access and state tax revenues. It adds up to a financial boon to refurbish route between the adjacent bays. The cut is not unlike the various an island that could be wiped out again next year, or in io years, inlets that have breached the island in several places over the years. or several times in the next century. The island is very low and unstable. One would conclude that this Hurricane Frederic's impact on Dauphin Island focused the 104 Living with the Alabama-Mississippi shore nation's attention on the folly of barrier island development at the of Davis Bayou. Property along smaller bays and bayous provides expense of the general public. As a result, it became the center of water access. Such new developments are not always in low-risk controversy over American barrier island policy and was impor- areas. The county is divided into 4 segments for purposes of dis- tant in the framing and passage of the Coastal Barrier Resources cussing hazard evaluation, namely, the area east of Pascagoula, Act. When the next storm redestroys the federal investment, Dau- Pascagoula and vicinity, the region between Pascagoula Bay and phin Island may become the straw that broke the camel's back, Davis Bayou, and Ocean Springs. and the next round of legislation will be aimed at developed bar- rier islands. Grand Batture Islands, Point Aux Chenes, Bayou Casotte Sand Island and Pelican Island. These islands lie south of the A vast marsh swamp straddles the Alabama-Mississippi state eastern end of Dauphin Island. The position and size of these line. The north shore of Mississippi Sound from Bayou La Batre sand bodies change dramatically with time. They build up from to Point Aux Chenes is a complex of embayments, bayous, and sand shoals to maximum size during times when no hurricanes tidal creeks separating marsh tracts that grade inland into swamp. come into the area, and then they virtually vanish during hurri- The Grand Batture Islands are the thin sandy edge of this watery canes. Such islands are unsuitable for development. The lighthouse land, all that remains of a once-extensive island chain. The islands at the entrance to Mobile Bay was built on such a feature (fig. are barely sandy enough to call beach, and many are flooded marsh 1.2). The island migrated away leaving the lighthouse standing in remnant rather than barrier islands. As these protective islands the water! disappear, the marsh boundaries of the old, abandoned Escatawpa Delta come under wave attack and rapidly erode. These extensive Mississippi fragile marshes and islands probably never will be considered for development, and rightly so, for they lie in a high-hazard area Jackson County (not shown in the map sequence). Inland, however, the swamp is characterized by bottomiand With the exception of Pascagoula, Mississippi's eastern shore forest that gives an impression of stability. It is not inconceivable is lightly developed. Extensive areas of marshland and limited that building sites could be developed, especially if fill were added access account for the slow development, but inland growth is to build up the elevation. But appearances can be misleading be- toward the shore. Developers are discovering the area south of cause the area is unsuitable for development. The low elevation, Gautier, the sandy ridge of Belle Fontaine Point, and the shores unstable subsoil, groundwater problems, and frequency of flood- 4. Selecting a site 105 ing create a situation that should keep this land in its natural in front of the seawall, held in place by a second wall. Along most state, or allow only forestry or restricted agricultural uses. For of the waterfront only a concrete seawall separates the waves from instance, the area was extensively flooded 3 times in the 15-year the land. Waves break along the wall, sending spray onto Beach period from 1965 through 1979. The flooding extended as far in- Boulevard, the buffer zone between sea and property fronts. West land up the valley of the Escatawpa River as U.S. Highway go. of Market Street the elevation rises abruptly so that the land as An extensive area of lowland in the flood zone south of the little as i block inland is above the flood zone. Such inland prop- Jackson County Airport has been reclaimed and built up with- fill erty falls into the low-risk category, providing access to both the to develop the Bayou Casotte Industrial Area. The development amenities of the coast and an urban environment. Going to the provides a port facility. east, however, the nearshore elevations are lower. Flooding is a Low-risk residential development areas all lie inland at eleva- likely hazard, and caution is in order. tions of at least io feet above sea level. You should consult flood The narrow buffer zone withstood Hurricane Betsy's 5.5- to maps when choosing a site (see appendix B and references 61 and 6.4-feet above sea level flooding in 1965 and Hurricane Frederic's 62, appendix C), but general areas above the flood zone include 5.8-feet storm surge in 1979. The 9 inches of torrential rainfall the land north of the Jackson County Airport, Kreole and Moss that accompanied the latter storm did cause some inland flooding, Point away from the wetlands and floodplain of the Escatawpa and high winds caused considerable damage to homes and busi- River, and between Kreole and Orange Lake north of U.S. go. nesses. Both storms flooded parts of Beach Boulevard, but it was Only the westernmost part of this area is shown on the risk maps the low floodplain of the Pascagoula River that was most exten- (fig. 4.3o). Development along Back Bayou and Bayou Casotte to sively flooded. east Pascagoula is in a high-risk zone. Some damage was sustained Hurricanes Betsy and Frederic were storms with a recurrence in this area during Hurricane Frederic, and Hurricane Camille interval of i in 25 to 30 years, although they came just 14 years caused severe flooding. apart. Pascagoula withstood these storms fairly well, but it was not in the highest impact zone east of the eye. In ig6g the city and Pascagoula-Pascagoula Bay outlying areas were extensively flooded by the storm surge asso- The shoreline of Pascagoula (fig. 4.3o) exemplifies the urban, ciated with Hurricane Camille. Floodwaters rose to more than 11 engineered shoreline. No remnant of a natural beach remains along feet above mean sea level, and flooding was extensive for several the 2.2 miles of Mississippi Sound shore, and the riverfront is blocks inland along the riverfront and in the southeast part of highly modified. The small public beach is artificial: pumped sand town. Again, Pascagoula was far enough from the eye of the storm 106 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore HAZARD ZONES ENVIRONM High Risk Mars [email protected] 0 1 2 3 4 Kilometer Moderate Risk Low Ris 0 1 3 Mile s; a rsh Lake A F k F Land Gautier 0 amp Lamo e 7", a 'PAO [email protected] V, CA OU -IS, -C4GOULA BAY Spanish Point CO Zone oi-, M C) Belle Fontaine Point beach C:@G nourishment Mississippi Sound DANGER: High flood potential; some cot DANGER: Flood zone tages in velocity zone DANGER: Overwash potential DANGER: High flood potential from both the DANGER: High flood potential DANGER: Overwash potential DANGER: Inlet migration river and storm surge DANGER: Avoid low elevations, rnz CAUTION: Potential for inlet formation CAUTION: Erosion DANGER: Shifting channels shorefront CAUTION: Severe local shoreline erosion CAUTION: Low evacuation route DANGER: Shoreline erosion; unstable marsh CAUTION: Local shoreline erosion CAUTION: Low evacuation route ---- ------ ANGER: hore-front flood zone DANGER: Flood zone DANGER: Flood zone CAUTION: Local shoreline erosion CAUTION: Engineered-urbanized shoreline; CAUTION: Overwash potential Good sites above 10' elevations and away seawall and/or beach maintenance re- CAUTION: Shoreline erosion from shoreline. Shoreline owners should quired to protect property CAUTION: Low evacuation route preserve protective marsh fringe. Good inland sites at elevations above flood zone _j Fig. 4.30. Site analysis: Bayou Casotte- Pascagoula to Belle Fontaine Point. 4. Selecting a site 107 to escape the devastation that ravaged the area from Bay St. Louis Lamotte and Seacliffe. Be wary of sites on finger canals. Figure to Biloxi. 4.30 classifies the area as being a moderate-risk zone for water- In each case, Petit Bois and Horn islands, barrier islands 5 to front sites, low risk for inland sites. io miles south of the city, softened the blow and reduced storm Belle Fontaine Point The area here lies between the mouth of surge. Round Island, between Pascagoula and Horn Island, also Graveline Bayou to the east (fig. 4.3o) and Davis Bayou to the has been a buffer to absorb wave energy, but it is eroding away. Its west (fig. 4.31). The marshes are obviously unsuited for develop- landmark lighthouse will soon be claimed by the sea. The barrier ment, but the adjacent land is not much better, even though de- islands are part of the Pascagoula shoreline's "luck:' but that luck velopment is taking place. Between Graveline Bayou and Belle will not last forever. Fontaine Point the shoreline is undergoing erosion. The beach Future development in the greater Pascagoula area should be immediately in front of the golf course near the water tower shows on sites at least io feet in elevation. Construction should take typical evidence of erosion (stumps, scarping, and past road dam- into account the high probability of hurricane-strength winds, and age). Any structure built close to the shore will be "on the water" proper precautions should be observed. The same is true for Moss in a few years! Storm flooding also is a threat. Point and vicinity. West of the point, development is occupying the narrow, length- Gautier to Ocean Springs ening sand spit. Longshore currents are eroding the eastern seg- ment and transporting the sand to the western segment, causing it Gautier to Graveline Bayou. This shoreline is the west side of to grow toward the mouth of Biloxi Bay. The spit is so narrow, of Pascagoula Bay. The land slopes rapidly from sea level to eleva- such a low elevation, and usually lacking good protective sand tions of more than i o feet. Camille's flood level was 12.7 feet here, dunes that the future of most cottages built there is easily pre- but good waterfront sites exist at elevations above the i-in-5o- dicted: destruction by a future hurricane just as the previous cot- year flood level. Locally shoreline erosion may be a problem, but a tages were destroyed by Hurricane Camille. The spit is highly check for stumps on the beach or other evidence of such erosion susceptible to flooding, wave erosion, overwash, and potential inlet will allow you to avoid such areas. Locations back from the water's formation. Late evacuation will be impossible. Surviving struc- edge in well-vegetated areas are usually the best. This also is true tures may be on an island or standing in the water of a breach! along bayous. If fringing marsh is growing along the shore, pre- If you are willing to take a high risk, seek the more stable sites. serve it as insurance against erosion. Remember to take precau- Here and there are good dunes and thickets with live oaks. Set tions against potential wind damage. Developments include Camp back from the waterfront. If buying an existing cottage, check 108 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore DANGER: High flood potential DANGER: Inlet potential r8AY CAUTION: Shoreline erosion CAUTION: Low evacuation route DANGER: Shorefront flood zone , Ir CAUTION: May be local erosion Lower-risk sites inland at higher elevation 0, 0 cean ri s [email protected] Ki me or n..i R.-I ks U 2 ill N BILOXI HAZARD ZONES ENVIRONMENTS BILOXI BAY Marsh oint High Risk El Marsh o P I Igsw r Moderate Risk Land Low Risk DANGER: High flood potential DANGER: Potential inlet formation DANGER: Shoreline erosion may be severe DANGER: Overwash potential MISSISSIPPI SOUND DANGER: Evacuation problems DANGER: High flood potential; extensive marsh and low elevations unsuitable for development DANGER: Local potential for inlet formation CAUTION: Local shoreline erosion CAUTION: Low evacuation route Good sites inland on forested ridges Fig. 4.31. Site analysis: Belle Fontaine Point to Ocean Springs, and Deer Island. 4. Selecting a site 109 construction quality carefully. When the storm warning comes, city is at an elevation above the storm-surge flood zone. Hurricane evacuate early. Camille, an extreme, pushed water levels to 15.8 feet above mean Better yet, sacrifice being right on the water for a much lower- sea level, flooding parts of the town. The presence of Deer Island risk inland site, such as along Point Aux Chenes Road where and Marsh Point afford protection from the open waters of Mis- elevations are above 2o feet. Your heirs instead of the sea will sissippi Sound (fig. 4-30. As in all of the area, low-lying coastal inherit your cottage. land is subject to frequent flooding. The beach fronting Ocean Marsh Point. This area marks the western extension of land Springs is artificial and will not survive severe storm wave attack. beyond Belle Fontaine Point (fig. 4.31). Most of the sound shore Keep in mind that high rainfall is associated with most hurri- is marsh, but a long upland lies between Simmons Bayou and canes, so even at higher elevations you should choose a site with Mississippi Sound. Although the upland is not waterfront property, good drainage. Wind and wind-blown debris also should be taken the elevations of 2o feet (Camille flooded to 14 feet) and vegetative into account. All of these comments also apply to the area along cover may make it suitable for future development. Public boat Old Fort Bayou. access could be made available without disturbing significant areas of marsh. Gulf Islands National Seashore Davis Bayou. Davis [email protected] north shores and bayou accesses provide upland development sites on or near the waterfront. Hur- Petit Bois Island and Horn Island in Jackson County and Ship ricanes push floodwaters to the heads of the bayous and generate Island in Harrison County make up the Gulf Islands National destructive winds even for upland sites. Nevertheless, the area east Seashore (along with part of the Florida barrier system; see appen- of Ocean Springs has many developed and developable sites in the dix B, Parks and recreation). Cat Island, the westernmost island low-risk category (fig. 4.31). Camille's flood level reached nearly of the chain in Harrison County, is not part of the designated 16 feet, but site elevations of 12 feet should be above most floods. federal seashore (fig. i.i). If storm evacuation is necessary, avoid the waterfront roads as The islands, 7 to 15 miles off the mainland coast, form a fragile escape routes. division between Mississippi Sound and the Gulf of Mexico. These long, narrow strips of sand are migrating as a result of marine Ocean Springs processes (see chapter 2). Ocean Springs lies at the head of Biloxi Bay and east of the Exposure to the open Gulf makes the islands vulnerable to high Back Bay of Biloxi. Although peninsular in character, most of the wave energy and storm surge so that the fronts of the islands 110 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore commonly erode. The sand either is transported to the west by the island, are now exposed on the eroding beaches. Dr. Steve longshore drift or across the islands as overwash during hurricanes. Shabica, a research oceanographer, has reported that the island is The eastern ends of the islands lack a nourishing sand supply and now one-half its original size. erode significantly, while the western ends lengthen as sand is The ends of the island are changing in response to both nature added from the longshore drift. The net effect is that the islands, and man. The eastern end is eroded by the westward drift and the and the passes between them, are migrating to the west and slightly migration of Petit Bois Pass. Normally, the western end would be landward. an area of shoreline growth, but dredging of the shipping channel Fortunately, the islands' national seashore designation removes for Pascagoula through Horn Island Pass is removing sand and them from the realm of development. All are high-risk areas in destroying shoals that act as protective buffers against beach ero- terms of exposure to natural hazards and not suitable for develop- sion. Although the island may not totally disappear, this shrinking ment. Their cost to taxpayers as parks and natural areas will be results in loss of wildlife habitat and the loss of the mainland much less than the subsidies that would be required to develop and shore's protection against the full force of hurricanes. People living repair them if they were commercially exploited. In their present on the Jackson County coast should be concerned about the future state the islands generate tourism revenues and preserve wildlife of Petit Bois and Horn islands. habitats, including those important to the state's fisheries. Given the rapid disappearance of the island, its historic lateral Petit Bois Island shift, and the extremely high-risk nature of the island with respect to natural hazards, it seems inconceivable that it would be con- Thirty-five to 40 years ago the eastern end of Petit Bois Island sidered for development. Incredibly, at the time the Gulf Islands was in Alabama. If it had been covered with cottages at that time, National Seashore was taking shape, private land on Petit Bois they would have fallen into the sea long ago. Petit Bois is a typical was being traded with the intent to develop the island! This land barrier island: long, narrow, and migrating. The low, discontinuous ultimately was condemned under the eminent domain procedure ridge of dunes through the middle of the island is only slightly and is now part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. more than io feet above sea level at its highest points. Hurricanes Horn Island flood the island, carrying sand across to the sound as overwash. Dr. Ervin Otvos of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory has docu- De Bienville is said to have named this island in 1699 when one mented that both the front and back sides of the island are erod- of his men lost a powder horn there. From that time on, human ing. Marsh peats, which formed in marshes on the back side of beings occasionally occupied the island but never dominated it. 4. Selecting a site Ill Commercially hunted, marginally farmed, used for recreation of in the 192os and 1930s, today there is only ocean. Fire destroyed various sorts from the earliest days, used as a gunnery range and some of the buildings; nature took the island. home for a biological warfare experiment station during World Horn Island and its associated shoals are a natural laboratory War 11, all suggest a search for some ideal use. Designation of a where change can be studied. Perhaps it will give up secrets of portion of the island as a national wildlife refuge in 1958 was a barrier islands that have been lost in the commercial scenery-of- return to what the island was designed for-home to hundreds of sameness of much of America's coast. species of aquatic and land plants and animals. Ship Island At more than 12 miles in length, and with dunes a few tens of feet in elevation, Horn Island is the largest of the barrier chain. In The western island of the Gulf Islands National Seashore lies in spite of its size, it is, like Petit Bois and Ship islands, an unstable Harrison County. Ship Island, whose name reflects its long history feature. Shoreline erosion, island migration, and overwash are all at as an anchorage, is the most accessible of the national seashore work. Hurricane Ethel (ig6o) took away a half-mile of the island's barriers (see appendix B, Parks and recreation). Fort Massachu- eastern end, while the western end grew by a quarter-mile. In setts and the island's role in the Civil War, as well as its natural 19o6 a hurricane swept away the island's lighthouse, its keeper, state as a barrier island, make this an excellent island to visit. and his family. But these events pale when compared with the In character the island is much like Petit Bois. Hurricane Ca- impact of Hurricane Camille. Waves ate away at the beach, leveled mille breached the island producing Ship Island Channel, creating dunes, and flooded across the island, sweeping debris all the way what are now commonly referred to as Big Ship and Little Ship to the mainland coast. The island lost 1.6 miles off its western end islands. If no significant storms occur, the breach may close natu- and one-third mile off its eastern end in the 1969 storm. rally. The only certainty is change. Rubble from an 1854 brick Isle of Caprice (Dog island). Mentioned in chapter i, this island lighthouse that was felled by the retreating shoreline in the nine- was part of the dynamic sand shoal off the western end of Horn teenth century attests to a history of change. island in Dog Keys Pass. Generalizations can be dangerous, and the model of western migration does not mean that the barrier Harrison County islands always show growth on their western ends. Hurricanes have proven the opposite, and so has shoreline erosion. In addition to Ship Island, Deer Island and the mainland shore Where Dog Island stood with a dance pavillion, restaurant, of Mississippi Sound compose the Harrison County coast. The casino, pier and docks, small cabanas, trees, scrubs, and sea oats mainland shore consists of approximately 27 miles of continuous 112 Living with the Alabama-Mississippi shore urban-suburban development. The area's economy is tied to a lesson that such a system is not a defense against property loss. complex of tourism, commercial fishing, harbor facilities, light The seawall "held the line" of the coast; it did not save the beach industry, military installations, and related businesses, all in the or even the property in back of the wall. The system has served vulnerable coastal zone. its purpose in lesser storms, but the "big event" obviously can- In 1915 one of the most costly Gulf Coast hurricanes inflicted not be dismissed. Social questions such as the scenarios outlined heavy damage to this area. More than half of U.S. go was washed in chapter 3 will become the new determining factors in the fu- out between Biloxi and Pass Christian, along with a great deal of ture of this coast. Fortunately, the protective offshore barrier is- beach-front property. The response between 1925 and 1927 was to lands will remain in their near natural state as part of the Gulf build 25 miles of seawalls from the Biloxi lighthouse and Hender- Islands National Seashore. Only Deer Island, the low, narrow son Point. With the exception of i mile of concave wall, the sea- island extending southeast from Biloxi, is threatened with high- wall is the concrete step type, ranging in height from 8 to i i feet. risk development. Construction of the seawall was a commitment to hold a fixed Figures 4.32 through 4.36 classify the risk categories of the shoreline and led down the road of shoreline engineering. Five Harrison County coast. sections of wall failed in the 1947 storm as all of the seawall was topped, and property damage was again extensive. As a result of this storm, Biloxi adopted the Southern Standard Building Code, Deer Island. a case example of development controversy and the 1948 River and Harbor Act authorized the construction The "Friday the 13th" arrival of Pierre LeMoyne Sieur d'Iber- of an artificial beach to protect the wall and beachless shoreline. ville on the Ile-aux-Chevreuiles in 16gg may have been an omen. In ig5i a 3oo-foot-wide, 5-foot-high beach was placed in front of Just as the island beckoned this early explorer, it has beckoned the wall. By 1965 its width had been reduced to between 140 feet other coastal adventurers. Today, as a remaining stretch of open and 250 feet. Conditions during Camille were such that the beach coast, it beckons the developer. History does repeat itself. was not severely damaged, but clearly a long-term and costly com- In 1915 Deer Island was being advertised as the "Coney Island mitment has been made to this engineered shoreline. of the South" with a pier, dance hall, merry-go-round, penny ar- Natural processes such as erosion-buildup, overwash, dune for- cades, refreshment stands, and the opportunity to buy into this mation, and migration have lost their significance in coastal evo- paradise-a lot complete with bungalow. The hurricane of igi5 lution. Army Corps dredges and county dump trucks have become destroyed the amusement park in its first season, killed real estate part of an artificial equilibrium. Camille brought home the hard sales, and led the financiers to prudently withdraw. 4. Selecting a site Backbay area DANGER: Flood zone CAUTION: Local shoreline erosion; avoid low elevations and bluff edges CAUTION: Evacuation problems Good inland sites on high ground --------------- 2 3 Kilometers :!]@@ 7vE 1/2 1 Mil Taw ...... .... a t C.. BACK BAY OF [email protected]@ BIG LAKE N '@@VB I G D R H, ......... .. . . .-, ............ ............ ............ 9A so P A . . . . . . . . . .. ........ Engineered-urbanized shoreline Permanent maintenance of continuous ENVIRONMENTS seawall and beach nourishment required DANGER: High flood potential HAZARD ZONES to protect property DANGER: Overwash potential M High Risk E:j Marsh DANGER: Flood zone DANGER: Possible new inlet formation and Moderate Risk CAUTION: Evacuation problems migration Low Risk F-1 Land CAUTION: Blowing sand nuisance DANGER: Evacuation problems Best sites are inland on high ground DANGER: Shoreline erosion Fig. 4.32. Site analysis: Deer Island -Biloxi -Edgewater Park-Back Bay of Biloxi. 114 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore The decision was a wise one because by all criteria Deer Island after agreeing with the local county commission not to develop is a very high-hazard zone for development (figs. 4.31 and 4.32). such areas; such sand as needed on Deer Island is in limited sup- Although this island lies behind the barrier island line of the outer ply and wetland destruction would likely result); (3) mosquito Mississippi Sound, it behaves as a true barrier island. Stumps on control to be achieved through the use of pesticides (mosquito the beaches attest to its migrating character, and its low elevation breeding grounds probably lie beyond limited spraying reach; wet- allows overwash and storm-surge flooding. The lack of a continu- lands would be adversely affected by pesticides); (4) public recrea- ous natural sand supply accounts for retreating beaches. The nar- tion to be restricted (read this as doublespeak for denied access); row width leaves the island vulnerable to inlet breaching. The (5) vehicular traffic to be limited (and so would the opportunity impact of frequent storms accounts in part for the island's remain- for swift egress in the event of storm evacuation). ing in its natural state. However, as the northwest end of the island Supporting the developer are local officials (Biloxi's city fathers) has built up, the distance between island and mainland is ever who see such development as "excellent" and "a good economic shortening. Today only the distance of a football field separates boost *"The president of the chamber of commerce envisages an the two, half the distance of open water that existed in the 1850S. expanding population base as good for business and thinks the By the late 1970S the island was coming into the center of a new proposed development ecologically sound (?), but reserves the right storm. This storm was not nature's as in the 1915 destruction, or for a change of mind if things doWt go as expected (what a "change Camille's submergence and battering, or the dozens of other storms of mind" will achieve after the damage is done goes unexplained)! that have raked the island. The modern storm is the political- History forgotten. economic-social controversy generated by a new set of proposals The oppo,,,ing camp is that of the "environmentalists which to develop the privately owned island; it is a case example to the includes views ranging from "leave-it-just-as-it-is" preservationism student of coastal development. to those who favor limited development, encouraging recreational Generator of the controversy is the "promise-them-anything" and educational uses of this unique asset. That the island is the developer. In this case the following claims were made: (i) con- only place in Mississippi where salt flats and salt pans still exist, crete condominiums designed to withstand 25o-mph winds, as that half of the island is salt marsh (fisheries' nursery land), and tested by a major university (the university had not tested, was un- that it is home to some rare birds and alligators are facts that aware of any other such tests, and had given no stamp of approval suggest the total island system is an "endangered species", worthy to the design); (2) the beaches to be nourished (the same devel- of limited use. opers bulldozed several acres of dune beach complex in Florida Perhaps the most important group-the taxpaying public, citi- 4. Selecting a site 115 zens of the city, county, and state-have little voice in the impor- resulted, especially along the waterfront. Waves came into direct tant controversy. They must rely on the prudence of their elected contact with buildings, and the waves won! High winds, wind- officials and the coastal governing/ regulating agencies. In this case blown debris, and high rainfall added to the damage. If you are permits were denied by the Bureau of Marine Resources, although new to the area since 1969, obtain copies of the U.S. Geological some construction did take place. Survey Hydrologic Investigations Atlas HA-404 and 405 to see If Deer Island is developed, there will be winners and losers. just how far and wide Camille's flood extended (reference 61, ap- The winners will be the developers, contractors, and service units. pendix Q. The entire beach front-including all of Beach Boule- Short-term winners will be the island dwellers and the local tax vard, all of the area from Gulf to Bay east of Central High School, coffers-until the first storm. The losers will be the buyers who the land between Keegan and Auguste bayous north of Division ultimately lose all or part of their property and possibly their lives, Street, and the area east of Main Street and north of the railroad the public denied access to the beach, the wildlife that lose their -was flooded! The routes and/or approaches to bridges to the habitat, and ultimately the taxpayers of the state who will be asked east and north were flooded. Survivors of Camille know the value to subsidize infrastructure costs and post-storm cleanup. of an evacuation plan and the need to leave the area early. Hurricane Camille may have been exceptional, but at least 4 Biloxi to Pass Christian other hurricanes had brought limited flooding and destruction dur- The classification shown in figures 4.32 through 4.34 is for the ing this century, which should be reason enough for the prudent immediate coastal zone. This general area is difficult to assess be- to seek home sites away from the shore and on high ground. For cause the risk category depends on how well the seawall and arti- example, such sites may be found around Keesler Air Force Base ficial beach system are maintained. If a hurricane or long-term or along the ridges to the west. erosion remove the beach (as is the case at Pascagoula and Wave- Back Bay of Biloxi. Biloxi's Back Bay area (fig. 4.32) is protected land, for example), the property immediately in back of the wall from the direct attack of storms, but the storm-surge effect pushes would be more vulnerable to destruction. A property owner's best and holds waters in embayments and bayous. High rainfall in guides in site evaluation are elevation, vegetative cover, and re- association with hurricanes pumps more water into the system, so sponse to recent historic hurricanes (for example, Betsy, Camille, flooding becomes a problem. Sometimes flood levels are amplified Frederic). by the constricted coastline. In 1965 Hurricane Betsy generated Biloxi. The city (fig. 4.32) was hit by a 16- to 19.5400t storm maximum water levels of 8.3 to 9.5 feet, and Camille's flood surge in association with Hurricane Camille. Extensive damage reached between 13 to 15 feet along most of the north shore, flood- 116 Living with the Alabama-Mississippi shore Fig. 4.33. Site analysis: Mississippi City- Gulf port- Long Beach. U. S. NAVAL 0 1/2 1 2 3 Kilometers E RV T'ON 0 112 1 2 Miles so Gaston Point LONG BEACH Mississippi Sound HAZARD ZONES ENVIRONMENTS High Risk Marsh Moderate Risk Low Risk Land 4. Selecting a site so Mississippi City Engineered-urbanized shoreline Permanent maintenance of continuous seawall and beach nourishment required to protect property DANGER: Flood zone CAUTION: Evacuation problems CAUTION: Blowing sand nuisance ----------- Best sites are inland on high ground 118 Living with the Alabama-Mississippi shore ing D'Iberville. A lesser threat to property adjacent to the bay is and reached maximum elevations of more than 21 feet. Wind erosion. This includes bluffs that slump when undercut. Avoid damage was excessive throughout the region. areas of artificial fill, no matter how high the elevation. Choose Sites of lowest risk are those at elevations Of 20 feet or more, sites that are well drained. away from the shore. Based on Camille, a general guideline would West of Biloxi. The flood zone here is restricted to the area on be to locate north of the L&N railroad tracks. The Gulfport Har- either side of U.S. 90 (fig. 4.32). Hurricane Camille's storm-surge bor and Jones Memorial Park complex appears to have created flood level reached ig.5 feet, so areas below the 20400t contour some artificial protection for the area north of the complex. Hur- were flooded, for example, Beauvoir, the area south of Southern ricane flooding has not penetrated as far inland behind the com- Memorial Park, and all along U.S. go. In 1965 Hurricane Betsy plex as in the immediately adjacent areas. The harbor also acts flooded portions of this area. as an obstruction to longshore drift and is causing local beach Inland developments such as Southern Memorial Park and buildup. Edgewater Park are above flood level and may be regarded as Any location in this area may suffer flooding under the unusual low-risk areas if a few basic guidelines are kept in mind. First, all conditions generated by hurricanes. Wind damage is almost cer- of the area will be subject to high winds, so construction should tain, especially if no special construction precautions are taken. be wind-resistant. Second, evacuation may be required; therefore, Be aware of your community's evacuation plan and routes. Heed know where shelters are located and the route to reach such shel- hurricane warnings. ters. Third, take all hurricane warnings seriously. Pass Christian. Pass Christian (fig. 4.34) was more severely dam- Mississippi City. This area (fig. 4.33) straddles the flood zone aged by Hurricane Camille than the area to the east because it that extends a few hundred yards inland. Water marks left from was in the "critical" position, just east of the storm's eye when Camille exceeded 20 feet. Selecting sites greater than 2o feet in landfall was made. Flood levels exceeded 22 feet in elevation, and elevation is a good first step in reducing risk as all such locations essentially all routes out of Pass Christian were ultimately flooded are above the flood zone and removed from the shore. Generally as the entire area from Henderson Point to Bayou Portage was the safest sites are north of the railroad, but creeks and bayous submerged. Pass Christian lacks the extensive area of higher ele- provide routes for floodwaters beyond the shoreline. vations found to the east, or across the bay in Bay St. Louis. All Gulfport-Long Beach. This area (fig. 4.33) suffered heavy losses sites are subject to potential flooding. from Hurricane Camille, particularly along the waterfront due to In recent years extensive development has taken place in the storm-surge flooding. This flooding extended several blocks inland Henderson Point to Mallini Point area and along waterways into 4. Selecting a site DANGER: Flood zone CAUTION: Shoreline erosion CAUTION: Reveled shoreline must be maintained CAUTION: Potential finger canal problems CAUTION: Potential blockage of evacuation route HAZARD ZONES ENVIRONMENTS High Risk aJ ini Say P E71 Marsh Point 0,tsv. Moderate Risk DANGER: Flood zone Low Risk E:1 Land CAUTION: Reveled shoreline must be main- tained to prevent erosion 0 /V CAUTION: Potential blockage of evacuation 0 1 Kilometers route 3 0 h 1 2 miles 00- 10 17 Pitcher Point Pass Ch istian Engineered-urbanized shoreline Permanent maintenance of continuous seawall and beach nourishment required to protect property DANGER: Flood zone CAUTION: Potential blockage of evacuation route Best sites are inland on high ground red a tic @ Fig. 4.34. Site analysis: Pitcher Point-Pass Christian-Bayou Portage. 120 Living with the Alabama- M i ssi ssippi shore Mallini Bayou. All sites in this area are in the moderate- to high- risk category. Hazards range from flooding and shoreline erosion to water quality problems. People locating in this area should seek maximum site elevation away from the water, elevate structures, build with strong winds in mind, and take evacuation seriously. Cat Island. The westernmost of the Mississippi barrier islands, Cat Island is unusual in its T-shape. The T is a result of the re- gional geologic history (reference 17, appendix Q. The east-west part of the island represents earlier beach ridge formation, ter- minated by sinking through compaction of the underlying sedi- ments, while erosion of the east end produced the pair of north- south spits, crossing the T. The island is privately owned, and various alternatives for its use have been presented, including sale to the U.S. government, -launching facility, mining the sand resources, using it for a satellite or developing the island. The latter approach is highly questionable because the island is definitely high risk with respect to natural hazards. Access will always be by boat, and its position of approxi- mately io miles offshore warrants early evacuation in case of a hurricane warning. In spite of this high-risk categorization and Fig. 4.35. Damaged seawall in vicinity of Bay St. Louis. Note the ab- the uniqueness of the island's habitat, it was not included in the sence of a beach. Photo by Bill Neal. Coastal Barrier Resources Act as a result of successful lobbying by the island's owner. Most of the island is low in elevation, marsh to around 5 feet above sea level. All of the island is in the flood zone, subject to overwash and shoreline erosion throughout its eastern end. High 4. Selecting a site 121 points on the island reach 15 to 17 feet, but these are spot eleva- to io feet above normal tide in the Bay St. Louis area, causing tions. There is insufficient upland for development. The most ap- flooding, shoreline erosion, damage to the seawall, and extensive propriate use of this ephemeral island would be inclusion in the property damage. Gulf Islands National Seashore. Hurricane Camille (1969) was the most devastating of these storms, pushing water elevations to more than 21 feet in Bay St. Hancock County Louis and more than ig feet in Waveland where the eye of the storm made its landfall. Wind and wave destruction were wide- The 2o-mile coast of Hancock County falls into 2 distinct divi- spread. The flood zone in Waveland extended to the L&N railroad sions: the developed shore of Bay St. Louis and Waveland includ- tracks, 2,000 to 4,000 feet from the shore. ing the bayshore, and the contrasting extensive marsh-bayou coast Bay St. Louis is centered on high ground, the edge of which extending to the Pearl River, the state boundary with Louisiana. extends to the shore south of the bay bridge. Flooding penetrated The former is urbanized and engineered, while the latter remains to Beach Boulevard, but houses on the upland above the 22400t in its natural state. Although Hancock County's coast is tucked level suffered only wind damage. The campus of St. Stanislaus behind the seaward extension of the Mississippi River Delta com- College is on somewhat lower ground and was flooded. Southwest plex, it is not immune from the impact of storms and coastal of the campus, Camille's floodwaters penetrated I to 2 blocks in- processes. land and to the railroad going toward Waveland. Bay St. Louis, Waveland, Clermont Harbor-Lakeshore North of the bay bridge ramp the low-lying marsh land and all of the development north and northwest of the yacht club, cen- The town of Bay St. Louis constructed a vertical concrete sea- tered on Dunbar Avenue and out to Cedar Point on St. Louis wall in igi5 and 1920 to protect the business district. Between Bay, were flooded. Hurricane Betsy (1965) had flooded a portion 1926 and 1928 the county built approximately io additional miles of this area as well. Similarly all of the development between Bay of concrete step seawall between Bayou Caddy and Joe's Bayou. St. Louis and the Jourdan River along Watts Bayou and Joes For the most part a protective beach is absent (fig. 4.35). From Bayou was flooded. time to time artificial beaches have been constructed but have Southwest and west of Waveland, Camilles flooding and wind not been maintained as permanent features. There are also some damage was extensive. Clermont Harbor and Lakeshore were sub- groins. Figure 4.36 classifies this shoreline as one of moderate risk. merged. Intervening bayous were avenues for rapid flooding. At least 6 times this century hurricanes have pushed flood levels The experiences of Camille, Betsy, and the hurricanes Of 1915, 122 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore DANGER: Flood zone CAUTION: Beach absent seawall must b maintained to protect property HAZARD ZONES ENVIRONMENT CAUTION: Potential blockage of evacuat route High Risk Marsh Caution should be exercised in locating on El some inland developments. Extensive low- Moderate Risk Cowand Point lands (<10 feet) into which finger canals Low Risk Land T:_L_0U1S have been cut are subject to flooding. Pos- BAY sible water quality problems, and potential evacuation problems. Seek sites above 15 4( feet in elevation. 0 JIg 1 -2 Kilometers 0 1/2 1 2 M les ...... ........ r I u d -urbanized shoreline Engineered Permanent maintenance of continuous seawall required Mississippi Sound DANGER: Flood zone DANGER: F 'ood zone DANGER: Potential blockage of evacuation route DANGER: Storm waves top seawall; no pro- CAUTION: Beach absent; artificial beach tective beach erodes away; seawall sometimes in dis- DANGER: Potential erosion if seawall not repair maintained DANGER: Potential blockage of evacuation route Fig. 4.36. Site analysis: Bay St. Louis-Waveland -Clermont Harbor- Lakeshore. 4. Selecting a site 123 igi6, and 1947 define the hazard zones. If you decide to locate in Past reflections, future expectations this general area, choose low-risk sites at elevations above 20 feet. In summary, locating at the shore calls for greater prudence This zone is generally north of the L&N railroad tracks and south of U.S. Highway go, at least three-quarters of a mile east of Jack- than in locating in an inland environment. First, less uniformity son Marsh in the Waveland area to Bay St. Louis. Wind is still a of environment exists at the shore. Topography, sediment, and hazard in this area, and all homes should be evaluated for wind vegetation change abruptly from beach, to dune, to overwash ter- resistance. race, to forest, and to marsh. These systems are not stable for a Sites to avoid are all beach-front and bay-front property. Prop- very long time and change or shift in response to the rise in sea erty with elevations under 20 feet is questionable, and elevations level and shoreline migration. Look to the future when selecting a under io feet should be avoided. Bayous and marshes will be path- site. Thefuture comes sooner on the coast. ways for flooding, so choose locations away from these wetlands. Second, coastal hazards such as hurricane winds, storm-surge Finally, evacuation may be a problem, even if your property is on flooding, wave attack, overwash, and persistent erosion are unlike high ground. People living in areag such as Lakeshore, Clermont anything you have experienced in the relative quiet and stability Harbor, or the low country north of these communities should of the coastal plain or other inland, upland environments. Choose evacuate early. Escape routes cross marshes or low, swampy areas your site with such forces in mind and reinforce your construction that may flood the road well in advance of an approaching hur- to improve its strength to survive such forces. Expect maintenance ricane. to be more frequent and somewhat more expensive. Third, coastal communities have their own set of dynamics, both Clermont Harbor to Pearl River because they are resorts and because they must respond collec- The last segment of Mississippi coast is a morass of marsh, tively to coastal hazards. Responses to erosion, flooding, overwash, bayous, and tidal creeks. Here the slope of the land is so low that and other hazards, as well as the kind and extent of development it is difficult to tell where the waters of the Gulf end and land allowed, set a course in coastal communities that is more difficult begins. Here and there dry land interrupts the marsh where long, to alter than in an inland town. Expect increasing regulation and narrow islands like Point Clear Island rise a few feet above the higher community costs to meet the impact of the hazards. The marsh. pattern of regutation is suggested in the next chapter. None of the area is safe for development, and lack of access precludes any likely future development. 5. The coast, land use, and the law use at the regional level is the only way our beaches can be saved from following the New Jersey example. The guidelines for such controls must be based on the recognition of the dynamic nature of the shore. We must be willing to accept natural changes in the Development of the Gulf Coast shorelines, and those of asso- shore rather than adopt the philosophy of man against the sea. ciated bays, has been haphazard. Mississippi's urbanized shore- Population growth, affluence, and the migration to the Sun Belt lines must now be maintained at public expense through perpetual will necessitate increased regulation of the coastal zone. By analo- beach nourishment and seawall maintenance. Rapid post-Frederic gy, as the traffic increases, more traffic laws and regulations are redevelopment along the Alabama coast on Dauphin Island, and required to avoid the certainty of traffic jams. particularly on the Baldwin County coast, has placed a multitude The best philosophy on shoreline development is that land use of buildings in high-risk zones. The owners of these properties are should be in harmony with the natural environments and processes likely candidates to form a voice for seawalls and beach nourish- that constitute the system. Of course, various segments of society ment projects along that stretch of coast. view the coastal zone differently. The extreme views range from The previous chapters demonstrate that the coastal zone is a untouched preservationism to unplanned, uncontrolled urbaniza- dynamic area where land, wind, wave, and organisms interact. tion. Increasingly, decisions on land use are made by government The resulting rapid changes are especially apparent along beaches under the pressure of various special-interest groups. Existing leg- and on barrier islands. We cannot occupy this zone without some islation is often that of compromise, satisfying the various federal, level of interference, or without risking being affected by natural state, and local levels of the political infrastructure. We can expect changes. that regulations will continue to be established and modified with Wise land-use planning, environmental maintenance, and con- the intention of insuring reasonable, multiple land use of the servation of the coastal zone are necessary to protect the environ- coastal zone while attempting to protect both inhabitants and the ment, but just as significant, they are necessary to protect our- natural environment. Developers have had this expectation in the selves. The ecosystem is as important to the human population as past, and in some cases it has spurred unwise development. Cur- it is to a population of pelicans or a stand of sea oats. Curiously, rent and prospective owners of coastal property, especially on bar- laws are passed to protect the latter with the goal of protecting the rier islands, should be aware of their responsibilities under current former- sometimes from ourselves. Although we may find added law and expect additional regulation with respect to development regulations distasteful, it is obvious that increased control of land and land use. 5. Land use and the law 125 A partial listof relevant current land-use programs and regula- that encourage barrier island development, for example, roads, tions applicable to the Alabama-Mississippi coast follows. The bridges, water supply systems, waste water treatment systems, and explanations provided are general and introductory in nature; ap- erosion control projects. Any new structure built on these desig- pendix B lists the agencies that will supply more specific and de- nated barrier islands (as of October 1, 1983) is not eligible for tailed information. The regulations listed here range from federal federal flood insurance. Certain activities and expenditures under laws that protect the interests of the larger society to state and the act are permissible. The act does not prohibit private devel- local laws and ordinances that serve the interest of the states' citi- opment on the designated barrier islands but passes the risks and zens and the local community. A review of these regulations before costs of development from taxpayers to owners. All applicable investing in or undertaking property development anywhere on federal, state, and local permits still must be obtained before any the coast will be in your best interest. We recommend that you get development begins in the designated areas. in touch with the local county or municipal planning, zoning, or The Coastal Barrier Resources Act affects only a small portion building department to determine state and federal permit require- of the Alabama-Mississippi coast, covering approximately 23 miles ments. of Gulf beaches (table 5. 0. For exact boundaries of the designated areas, get in touch with local city or county planning departments Coastal Barrier Resources Act of 1982 or order the map for the area needed from the E-NCIC as listed in table 5.1. Recognizing the serious hazards, costs, and problems with fed- erally subsidized development of barrier islands, the United States The National Flood Insurance Program Congress passed the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (Public Law 97-348) in October 1982. The purpose of this federal law is to Some flood insurance facts minimize loss of human life and property, wasteful expenditure of One of the most significant legal pressures applied to encourage federal taxes, and damage to fish, wildlife, and other natural re- land-use planning and management in the coastal zone is the sources from incompatible development along the Atlantic and National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The National Flood Gulf coasts. The act covers 19o designated areas, covering 700 Insurance Act of 1968 (P.L. 90-448) as amended by the Flood miles of undeveloped barrier beaches in the United States. Disaster Protection Act Of 1973 (P.L. 92-234) was passed to en- Specifically, the act prohibits the expenditures of federal funds courage prudent land-use planning and to minimize property (including loans and grants) for the construction of infrastructures damage in flood-prone areas like barrier beaches. Local commu- 126 Living with the Alabama- M ississi ppi shore Table 5.1. Alabama-Mississippi barrier coast affected by permits for all proposed construction and other development within Coastal Barrier Resources Act the flood zone and ensures that construction materials and tech- Area Map number Miles of beach niques are used to minimize potential flood damage. At this point Alabama the community is in the "Emergency Phase" of the NFIR The Mobile Point unit Q01 3.5 federal government makes a limited amount of flood insurance Pelican Island 001A 1.75 coverage available, charging subsidized premium rates for all exist- Dauphin Island Q02 9 ing structures and/or their contents, regardless of the flood risk. Mississippi FEMA may provide a more detailed Flood Insurance Rate Round Island R01 1.25 Map (FIRM) indicating flood elevations and flood-hazard zones, Belle Fontaine Point R01A 1.25 Deer Island R02 4 including velocity zones (V-zones) for coastal areas where wave Cat Island R03 2 action is an additional hazard during flooding. The FIRM iden- Source: Public Law 97-348. tifies Base Flood Elevations (BFE), establishes special flood haz- Note: The Coastal Barrier Resources System maps (36" X ard zones, and provides a basis for floodplain management and 42") are available for $3.25 each from the Eastern-National establishing insurance rates. Cartographic Information Center, U.S. Geological Survey, 536 National Center, Reston, VA 22092. Order by title and map To enter the Regular Program phase of the NFIP, the commu- number. nity must adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances that at least meet the minimum requirements for flood hazard nities must adopt ordinances to reduce future flood risks in order reduction as set by FEMA. The advantage of entering the Regular to qualify for the National Flood Insurance Program. The NFIP Program is that increased insurance coverage is made available, provides an opportunity for property owners to purchase flood and new development will be more hazard-resistant. All new insurance that generally is not available from private insurance structures and substantially improved preexisting structures will companies. be rated on an actual risk (actuarial) basis, which may mean higher The initiative for qualifying for the program rests with the com- insurance rates in coastal high-hazard areas but generally results in munity by contacting the Federal Emergency Management Agency a savings for development within numbered A-zones (areas flooded (FEMA). FEMA will provide the community with a Flood Hazard in a ioo-year coastal flood but less subject to turbulent wave Boundary Map (FH B M). Any community may join the National action). Flood Insurance Program provided that it requires development 5. Land use and the law 127 FEMA maps use the " i oo-year flood" as the base flood eleva- the NFIP and for additional information on the insurance, contact tion to establish regulatory requirements. People unfamiliar with your local property agent or call the NFIP's servicing contractor hydrologic data sometimes mistakenly take the "wo-year flood" (phone: [8oo] 638-6620) or the NFIP State Assistance Office to mean a flood that occurs once every ioo years. In fact, a flood (phone: Alabama [205] 832-6963; Mississippi [6oi] 982-6376). of this magnitude could occur in successive years, or twice in one For more information, request a copy of "Questions and Answers year, and so on. The flooding in Jackson, Mississippi, that has on the National Flood Insurance Program" from FEMA (refer- occurred over the past few years illustrates this point. If we think ence 85, appendix C). of a ioo-year flood as a level of flooding having a i percent statis- Before buying or building a structure on a barrier beach, an tical probability of occurring in any given year, then during the individual should ask certain basic questions: life of a house within this zone that has a 3o-year mortgage, there i. Is the community I'm located in covered by the Emergency or is a 26 percent probability that the property will be flooded. The Regular Phase of the National Flood Insurance Program? chances of your property being flooded becomes i in 4, rather 2. Is my building site located in the designated areas of the Coastal than i in ioo. Having flood insurance makes good sense. Barrier Resources Act, where no federal flood insurance on new In V-zones, new structures will be evaluated on their potential structures was to be available after October 1, 1983? (See Table to withstand the impact of wave action, a risk factor over and 5.1.) above the flood elevation. When your insurance agent submits an 3. Is my building site above the ioo-year flood level? Is the site application for a building within a flood hazard area, a certifica- located in a V-zone? V-zones are high-hazard areas and pose tion of structural design must accompany the application. For serious problems. buildings within a V-zone the elevations are adjusted, usually an 4. What are the minimum elevation and structural requirements additional 2 to 6 feet above stillwater flood levels, to minimize for my building? wave damage. The insurance rates are also higher in these zones. 5. What are the limits of coverage? The insurance rate structure provides incentives of lower rates if Make sure your county is enforcing the ordinance requiring buildings are elevated above the minimum federal requirements. minimum construction elevations. After Hurricane Frederic 0 979) Flood insurance coverage is provided for structural damage as a number of homeowners from Santa Rosa County, Florida, whose well as contents. Most coastal communities with barrier beaches are now covered houses were flooded, put in claims for federal flood insurance. It under the Regular Program. To determine if your community is in turned out that on direct order from the county commissioners, 128 Living with the Alabarna- Mississippi shore the elevation requirements for insurance were not being enforced construction, where practical, away from locations which are by the county. One woman who had paid $i 58.oo a year for her threatened by flood hazard . To date, development in flood-hazard insurance discovered she should have been paying over $13,ooo a areas continues at a rapid rate. year because her house was 5 feet below the ioo-year flood level. FEMNs elevation requirements have encouraged buildings de- Prior to construction, her house plans had been approved by the signed to withstand the flood hazard. Revision of minimum flood county and no mention was made of the elevation problem. Before elevations in the V-zones of coastal counties takes into account payment of her $17,000 claim, the National Flood Insurance Pro- the additional hazard of storm waves atop stillwater flood levels. gram subtracted the correct $13,000 premium. Later, all parties Existing FEMA regulations stipulate protection of "dunes and agreed on a lower but still substantial figure for flood insurance vegetation" in the V-zones, but implementation of this require- premiums. More than 20 people in the National Flood Insurance ment by the local communities has not always been strong. The Program in the local community were forced to continue paying existing requirements of the NFIP do not address other hazards exorbitant insurance premiums for buildings built below the re- of "migrating" shorelines, for example, shoreline erosion or inlet quired elevation because the banks that held their mortgages in- migration. Thus, buildings may meet the minimum FEMA eleva- sisted upon it. This problem came about because county officials tion requirements, but at the same time they can be located near said nothing about flood elevations when issuing building permits. highly exposed and eroding shorelines. In addition to recognizing The county commissioners fared very poorly in the next election! the flood hazard, there is a need to incorporate location and Most lending institutions and community planning, zoning, and structural codes that reflect migrating shorelines, hurricane winds, building departments will be aware of the flood insurance regula- wave uplift, horizontal pressures and scouring to minimize the tions and can provide assistance. It would be wise to confirm such loss of structures and tax dollars that have supported the insurance information with appropriate insurance representatives. All insur- program. ance companies charge the same rates for federal flood insurance In the past the National Flood Insurance Program has been policies. subsidized and has grown to become a large federal liability. As of The National Flood Insurance Program states its goal as "to ... August 31, ig8i, more than i.qi8 million flood insurance policies encourage State and local governments to make appropriate land valued at $97-972 billion had been sold nationwide. Coastal coun- use adjustments and to constrict the development of land which is ties had i. 165 million of these policies valued at $64.667 billion. In exposed to flood damage and minimize damage caused by flood more local terms, Mobile County had flood insurance policies losses" and "to ... guide the development of proposed future valued at over $97.7 million in 1978. Claims paid in 1979, mostly 5. Land use and the law 129 due to Hurricane Frederic, exceeded $10.7 million. The impact of Hurricane evacuation Hurricane Frederic on the NFIP is reflected in another statistic, the cost/loss per policy in velocity zones. During 1978-79 the The Disaster Relief Act Of 1974 authorized FEMA to establish average premium for federal flood insurance policies located in all disaster preparedness plans in cooperation with local communities velocity zones was $13 1 a year while the average expense and loss and states. Alabama (Civil Defense Act of 1955; Governor's exec- per policy in these areas was $422 a year, due mainly to Frederic. utive order No. 14, 6/14/71) and Mississippi (State Code 33-15) Such losses have encouraged the addition of wave heights to flood already had such plans in place, which are now coordinated with elevations, and as a result insurance rates have been raised sub- the federal act as well as local ordinances. Hurricane evacuation stantially. remains a critical problem on barrier islands and coastal flood- Recognition of natural hazards and tax subsidy problems pro- plains. Due to heavy concentrations of population in areas of low vided the rationale for Congress to pass the Coastal Barrier Re- elevation, narrow roads and vulnerable bridges and causeways, sources Act in 1982. The act prohibits the sale of flood insurance plus limited hurricane warning capability (possibly 12 hours or for new construction or substantial improvements after October 1, less), it may be difficult to evacuate all people prior to a hurricane. 1983, on certain designated undeveloped barrier islands and ended .Coastal communities have formulated detailed hurricane evacu- federal assistance for any infrastructures for development (for ation plans. You should check for hurricane evacuation plans with example, bridges, highways, water-treatment systems). There is the county Civil Defense or Disaster Preparedness officer and find an urgent national need to address the problems of developed or out if any potential evacuation problems will exist during a hurri- developing barrier beaches which were not covered in the Coastal cane. These offices can provide information on the location of Barrier Resources Act in order to minimize hazards to human hurricane evacuation shelters and are responsible for providing lives and loss of property in these areas. An incentive program to emergency and relocation assistance after hurricanes. The Civil encourage sound land-use planning, limit density of development, Defense Office also can provide information on expected losses improve hurricane evacuation, and allow relocation of damaged from hurricanes. structures after hurricanes needs to be developed before a disaster strikes the coast. Coastal zone management The federal Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (P.L. 92- 583) generated an effort by most coastal states to manage their 130 Living with the Alabama- M i ssi ssippi shore shorelines and conserve a vital national resource. Key requirements achieved through the Bureau of Marine Resources, which acts as of the act are coastal land-use planning based on land classification a clearinghouse for permits. For example, suppose you wish to and on identification and protection of critical areas. construct a dock on your waterfront that will involve some dredge The federal requirements were broad enough to allow each state and fill. You would need permits from both the MCP and the to establish management regulations through its own legislative Army Corps of Engineers. The "one-stop permitting" process process. The result is a variety of approaches to actual manage- through the Bureau of Marine Resources will meet both applica- ment. Alabama and Mississippi are examples of the contrast in tion requirements through a single set of forms. The processing approach and the problems that can arise. and issuing of permits is coordinated, and review or processing is reduced to the shortest practical time. Mississippi Before any activity in the coastal zone (for example, construc- The backbone of this state's management program is the Wet- tion, dredge and fill, removal of vegetation, installation of septic lands Protection Law of 1973 and the Mississippi Marine Resource or water treatment systems, sediment or water discharge) is under- Council enabling legislation, under the umbrella of the Mississippi taken, you should check with the Bureau of Marine Resources Coastal Program (MCP; reference 89, appendix C; see also ap- (see appendix B). While the BMR is the primary administrator of pendix B). The Bureau of Marine Resources of the Department the coastal program, the Bureau of Pollution Control and Land of Wildlife Conservation is the state agency charged with enforce- and Water Resources (also in the Department of Natural Re- ment of the Mississippi Coastal Program. sources) and the Department of Archives and History also are Some of the goals of the program are "to provide for reasonable responsible for monitoring decisions that affect the coastal area of industrial expansion in the coastal area" but at the same time Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson counties and all coastal waters. "to conserve the resources of the coastal area for this and succeed- The Mississippi Coastal Program has been relatively free of ing generations ,7 "to encourage the preservation of natural scenic controversy. The fact that the Mississippi coast is already highly qualities," and "to assist local governments in the provision of urbanized and that the barrier islands are part of the National public facilities and services in a manner consistent with the coastal Seashore has resulted in less conflict over residential development. program.9 Deer Island is one of the exceptions (see chapter 4). Perhaps the Another important objective is to consolidate state policy in the biggest problem facing the program is the pressure to industrialize coastal area and simplify the process of applying for and obtaining coastal areas that are now wetlands. Such land is often viewed as various types of permits and licenses. "One-stop permitting" is worthless in its present state, a prime target for dredge and fill to 5. Land use and the law 131 create industrial parks. The test of the coastal management pro- The 1982 creation of ADEM was an effort to streamline the gram will be whether or not the wetland resource is protected. permitting process and consolidate the environmental regulatory Alabama programs. One-stop permitting is achieved through the Depart- ment of Environmental Management. Before you engage in any In contrast, the coastal management program in Alabama was activity that will alter the coastal zone system, you must apply for based on new legislation, stimulated by the federal program. The the necessary permits through ADEM (see appendix B). Alabama Coastal Area Program (ACAMP) was approved in 1979 Obtain a copy of "Building in the Coastal Counties: A Guide (reference 87, appendix Q. Act 534, the Alabama Coastal Area to the Permitting Process with Special Emphasis on the Coastal Act, established the Coastal Area Board (CAB) with the mandate Areas" (reference 88, appendix Q for specific information. One to develop a comprehensive management program with rules and of the most important requirements is that construction must be regulations. The same act established the coastal area from the 40 feet landward of the primary dune line crest. contiguous i o-foot inland contour to the seaward limit of the state's Controversy. Almost from its inception the Coastal Area Board territorial water (3 nautical miles), including coastal islands. In (CAB) was under fire from man and nature. Legislative attempts 1982 the Alabama legislature created the new Department of En- to change the program and Hurricane Frederic created such un- vironmental Management (ADEM), and in October, 1982, the certainty that it is debatable whether the CAB ever reached its functions of the CAB were transferred to ADEM and the De- design effectiveness. About the time it defined the primary dune partment of Economic and Community Affairs (DECA). ADEM line (to enforce the mandated 40 feet of setback behind such a is charged with all coastal permitting and regulation, whereas line), Frederic washed the dunes away! At the time of this writing ADECA includes planning and nonpermit/nonregulatory func- some state officials still regard that now nonexistent rampart as tions. the legislated line of permitting authority. The dune line must The purpose of the Alabama Coastal Area Act is "to promote, have been chosen because of its protective role. To insist on the improve and safeguard the lands and waters in the coastal areas ... letter of the law when real protective dunes no longer exist, and through a comprehensive and cooperative program designed to are likely to reestablish landward of this former position (see chap- preserve, enhance and develop such valuable resources" for the ter 2, sea-level rise), is like being in the crowd that watched the future. Resources include "natural, commercial, recreation, indus- king in his invisible clothes, afraid to tell him of his nakedness. trial and aesthetic." The fragility of the natural ecosystem and the The beach houses rebuilt after Frederic behind these imaginary need for balanced development are recognized. dunes are just as naked (fig. 5. 1 132 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore Although the formation of ADEM and the division of the Coastal Area Board functions between the new agency and the ADECA were designed in part to streamline the permitting pro- cess and consolidate coastal and other environmental regulatory programs, the transition year 1982-1983 was one of increasing controversy and a breakdown in regulatory permitting rather than increased efficiency or prudent land use. As the CAB held its final meeting, it was clear that the oil and gas industry was not being monitored closely. The admitted illegal dumping of drilling wastes into Mobile Bay was an embarrassment to all. On the Fort Morgan Peninsula developers of condos were bulldozing primary dunes and "rebuilding" them closer to the water. Dune sands were being removed to fill wetland for a sewage plant. These activities were going on without all of the necessary permits. No certificate of consistency was issued for the Fort Morgan development as called for by ACAMP. U.S. Capitol Corporation, builder of a 300-unit complex on Highway 18o, was cited for code violations by Baldwin County regarding fire-resistance requirements. Construction in the wetland was halted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers because Fig. 5.1. Post-Frederic construction, West Beach, Alabama. Note the of violations of the Clean Water Act. Some wells in this area were absence of any dune line. The original dune line governing the set- already known to be polluted, and groundwater supply is limited. back requirement was destroyed by the hurricane. Photo by Bill Neal. In April 1983 a civil suit was filed against ADEM contending that the department had failed to enforce regulations of the Coastal Area Management Program. In May the news broke that federal funds were being withheld because of questions about how Ala- bama was handling its program. The federal officials contended that the CAB had been the permitting agency, but the director of 5. Land use and the law 133 ADEM contended it was not, that it lacked the proper technical expertise or staff to make decisions of a technical nature, and that the county commissioners are authorized under CAMP to issue permits (where the counties get their technical expertise is un- clear). In June, ADEM closed its Mobile office and the media reported the coastal management program to be "broke." An edi- torial in the Azalea City News lamented that "this program has become erroneously interpreted, inadequately enforced, incompe- tently managed to the point of bankruptcy." In August, Coastal Environmental Alliance, Inc., was formed because its members felt that the Mobile area had lost its ability to police its environ- ment with the loss of the Coastal Area Board. The Theodore Industrial Complex outfall line and its potential pollution impact on important oyster beds was their first case in point, However, in 1984, ADEM opened another office in Mobile, further illustrating 71 JV W-52" the story of change. 777:@, Although some of these statements are charged with emotion- alism, they bear seeds of truth. A sharp eye was not being kept on Fig. 5.2. Early construction phase of Lei Lani Towers on Perdido Key. the coast, and problems were spreading. In August, FEMA di- To paraphrase a popular expression: "Where's the beach?" Photo by rected the Baldwin County Commission to issue stop-work orders Eugene Brannan, Freelance Photography Unlimited, (D 1983. on 7 beach-front developments. Romar House (later excluded from the order), Perdido Dunes, Lei Lani Towers (fig. 5.2), Winddrift Condominiums, Perdido Quay, and Perdido Hotel in the Alabama Point-Perdido Key area, and the Surf Club and Marina in the Fort Morgan area were believed to be in violation of FEMA flood insurance requirements, particularly in the significant alteration of dunes in the designated velocity zones (V-zones). The resulting 134 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore hearings and news reports again put ADEM in the spotlight. the setback was supposed to be, or what the plan looked like on (Interested readers might wish to contact the Robertsdale Inde- paper, or who said what, when, and to whom, the structure is pendent, Robertsdale, Alabama, for a series of informative articles being built at the edge of the surf! The building site was sand by Mike Williams.) By December 1983, ADEM found it neces- bulldozed into the position shown at the water's edge, with addi- sary to impose a moratorium on development for approximately 2 tional sand pushed up in front of the construction to keep it from weeks. The controversy and the law suits continue. flooding while being built. The "erosion problem" is "built in" Perhaps the programs designed to protect are in fact part of the here just as sure as are the kitchen cabinets. problem. Did the knowledge of the coming federal Coastal Barrier This development in the V-zone is a replay of what has hap- Resources Act spur developers to accelerate building on previously pened again and again in other states. A recent example from undeveloped properties? It is quite likely. Did the state Coastal South Carolina is the blueprint for what is likely to happen at Lei Area Act intend the primary dune line as it existed prior to Hur- Lani Towers and its sisters near the surf. Condominiums were re- ricane Frederic (1979) to be the definitive line on which all future cently built near the ocean at the Wild Dunes Beach and Racquet development was to be based? Or did the law intend for the set- Club on the Isle of Palms. Even during construction, beach sand back line to fluctuate through time, as the dune line fluctuates? If was being bulldozed and packed in front of the buildings to pro- the line is rigid, the law will be defeated by a rising sea level. If we tect them from flooding. Waves gnawed at these artificial barriers. legally define dunes as something they are not in the natural sys- In the words of a local resident who watched the development: tem, then lawyers will defeat the law. At one point in the contro- "Residents purchased condominiums that were built too close to versy, the setback requirement in the absence of a dune was 250 the ocean. They were so enamored of their close-range seascape feet inland of the first vegetation at the back of the beach. The that they risked having sea water spill over their sundecks . . . assumption apparently is that the primary dune crest will reform regular and predictable erosion cycles so familiar to coastal ecolo- approximately in keeping with legal requirements. In still another gists were not so familiar to the condominium purchasers. They case the permit to build was issued with the requirement that an coveted too strongly their own vista. It blinded them.' artificial dune be constructed and maintained to meet the setback Almost immediately the new owners found their property in requirement. Until such variances cease, the Coastal Area Pro- trouble. They petitioned for a riprap seawall and sought permits gram will not serve its defined purpose. for such construction. Although their island neighbors protested, Figure 5.2 is a clear illustration of the real situation. Cutting public officials allowed the engineering solution. One island resi- away all discussion of where the dune may be forming, or what dent noted that either the condominiums would be saved and the 5. Land use and the law 135 beach lost, or vice versa, but it could not be both ways. The mayor traditional design in this dynamic zone would have a much shorter (like a good politician and ignoring an existing wall with no beach life expectancy than the same house in an inland location. The at high tide) said you can have it both ways. The developer made services for this house and many like it (for example, electric lines, no bones about it: the revetment was to save the buildings, not the gas mains, water lines), the sewage generated, and the roads, beach. bridges, and service structures required for such development will In issuing the permit, however, the state coastal management exceed the carrying capacity of a barrier island or beach dune agency hung a millstone around the necks of the condominium system much quicker than for a similar inland community devel- owners. The permit requires that the homeowners and club keep opment. The resulting damage to the environment through pollu- the riprap covered with sand and the beach in front of the wall tion, loss of habitat, stabilization structures, and the like removes nourished. If enforced, this requirement will be a heavy financial the amenities that most shore dwellers originally came to enjoy. burden to pay for the ocean vista that is still not worry-free! Not only is aesthetic value lost, but the risk from coastal hazards Clearly, in all coastal states, there is a gap between what is to be is magnified. learned from coastal experience/coastal science, how such experi- Building codes and zoning ordinances provide a means of con- ence may be fruitfully applied in coastal regulation, and in what trolling building location and design and set minimum standards coastal political arena such regulation is to take place. Since sci- for materials and construction to reduce the likelihood of property ence, politics, business, and bureaucracy seem destined to meet at damage or loss to natural processes. Most progressive communities the shore, perhaps future ADEM meetings and hearings should require that new construction adhere to the provisions of a recog- be scheduled at the Lei Lani during storms, preferably where all nized building code. If you plan to build in an area that does not participants can see the beach, or lack of it, during discussions. follow such a code, you would be wise to insist that your builder do so to meet your requirements. Building codes Local building officials in storm areas often adopt national codes that contain building requirements for protection against high Coastal dynamics preclude shoreline and island development wind and water. Compiled by knowledgeable engineers, code en- patterned after traditional inland styles. A one-story, ranch-style forcement officials, and architects, these codes regulate the design house at the back of the beach will block wind transport of sand, and construction of buildings and the quality of building materials. interfere with overwash, and ultimately behave as a seawall before The Standard Building Code (formerly the Southern Standard being destroyed in its turn by storm waves and flooding. This Building Code; reference 113, appendix Q is the building code in 136 Living with the Alabarna- Mississippi shore general use along the Gulf Coast. This code has certain hurricane- Mobile home regulations resistance requirements such as continuity, stability, and anchor- Mob age, all related to calculated reference wind speed as modified by ile homes differ in construction and anchorage from per- height above ground and building shape factors to determine the manent structures. The design, shape, lightweight construction design load. materials, and other characteristics required for mobility, and for Individual counties and coastal communities often adopt amend- staying within axle-weight limits, create a unique set of potential ments or modifications to this code, particularly for structures problems for residents of these dwellings. Because of their thinner placed on the floodplain or in the V-zone. These supplements have walls, for example, mobile homes are more vulnerable than per- more stringent requirements for piling size, piling support, depth manent homes to wind and wind-borne projectiles. Thus, some of piling embedment, framing, plumbing, and mechanical and coastal states and communities have separate requirements for electrical installations to improve wind and flood resistance. mobile homes. The mobile home owner should check with the It is emphasized that the purpose of these codes is to provide appropriate authority. minimum standards to safeguard lives, health, and property. Com- Mobile home anchorage may be regulated by local ordinance. munities have the right to strengthen the adopted code in order Tiedowns should be required to make the structure more stable to improve it or make it more stringent. As a result, numerous against wind stress (for recommendations, see the section on mo- communities do have specifications that go beyond the Standard bile homes in chapter 6). Violations of anchorage or foundation Building Code. We recommend such strengthening amendments regulations may go undetected unless there are a sufficient number as those suggested by the Florida Department of Natural Re- of conscientious inspectors to monitor trailer courts. One poorly sources in their "Recommendations for a Coastal Construction anchored mobile home can severely damage adjacent homes whose Building Code" (reference 125, appendix Q. Check with your owners abided by sound construction practice. Some operators or local building inspector to determine the specific code for your managers of mobile home parks are alert to such problems and area. see that they are corrected; others simply collect the rent. Individuals can and should insist on designs and materials that The spacing of mobile homes also may be regulated by local or- go beyond the minimum code requirements (see chapter 6 on dinance. Providing residents with open space between homes, this construction). Sanibel Island, Florida, has adopted one of the bet- type of ordinance preserves some aesthetic value for a neighbor- ter codes on the Gulf Coast with respect to coastal construction. hood and helps to maintain a healthier environment. For exam- ple, if mobile home septic tanks are closely spaced, there is the 5. Land useand the law 137 potential for groundwater or surface water pollution. Similarly, if tation and septic system permits). The Marine Protection, Re- mobile homes are built too close to finger canals, canal water may search and Sanctuaries Act Qf1972 (P.L. 92-532) regulates dump- become polluted. ing into ocean water. The Water Resources Development Act of Check with your city or county building inspector's office about 1974 (P.L. 93-251) also provides for comprehensive coastal zone mobile home regulations. planning. At the state and local levels the coastal zone management agen- Water quality and waste disposal cies (ADEM in Alabama; Bureau of Marine Resources in Missis- sippi) and the municipal or county health departments have the Protecting the water resources of barrier coasts as well as the bay primary permitting authority with respect to activities that may coasts is essential for safeguarding the various uses of the coast. affect water quality. Before drilling a well or installing a septic Fisheries, all forms of water recreation, and the general ecosystem system, check with these state and local offices. depend on high-quality surface waters. Potable water supply is drawn mainly from groundwater that also must be of high quality. Endangered species As noted in chapter 4, water resources are being threatened, and existing pollution is costly to both local communities and the state. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 protects several animals When shellfishing waters are closed or the health of local residents common to the Gulf Coast. In particular, whales, the West Indian is threatened, the loss is more than economic. Manatee, the American alligator, Loggerhead and Green Sea Tur- Water quality is measured by fecal coliform count. Fecal coli- tles, the Atlantic Ridley, Hawksbill, and Leatherback turtles are form is a type of bacteria found in human wastes, and its abun- covered by the act. The penalty for intentionally shooting, killing, dance is a good measure of the extent of pollution. or harming any endangered, threatened, or protected animal is The Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments Of 1972 severe. Consult your state's conservation and resources offices (see (P.L. 92-500), as administered by the U.S. Environmental Pro- appendix B, Wildlife). tection Agency in cooperation with state agencies, control any type of land use that generates, or may generate, water pollution. The dredging and filling of wetlands and water bodies is regulated through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (see appendix B, under Dredging, filling, and construction in coastal waterways, and Sani- 6. Building or buying a house which gives more detail on coastal construction and supplements this volume. In addition, the Federal Emergency Management near the beach Agency's Design and Construction Manualfor Residential Build- ings in Coastal High Hazard Areas is an excellent guide to coastal construction and additional reference material (see references 107 Real estate roulette: protecting your bet and io8, appendix Q. In reading this book you may conclude that the authors are at Coastal realty versus coastal reality cross-purposes. On the one hand, we recommend that develop- ment of barriers and beach front be avoided because of the risks Coastal property is not the same as inland property. Do not and dangers attendant to building on the coast. On the other hand, approach it as if you were buying a lot in a developed woodland of we provide you with a guide to evaluate the risks; and in this northern Alabama or a subdivided farm field in the Coastal Plain. chapter we describe what type of structure is best to buy or build The previous chapters illustrate that the shores of the Gulf Coast, near the beach. especially the barrier islands, are composed of variable environ- This apparent contradiction is more rational than it might seem ments and are subjected to nature's most powerful and persistent at first. For those who will heed the warning, we describe the risks forces. The reality of the coast is its dynamic character. Property of owning shore-front property. For those who decide that the lines are an artificial grid superimposed on a changing land and satisfaction of living on the edge of the sea is worth the risk, we sea that know no such boundaries. If you choose to place yourself provide some guidelines to reduce but not eliminate those risks. or others in this zone, prudence is in order. Reality dictates that development will not stop. Some individuals A quick glance at the architecture of the structures on the will always be willing to gamble their real wealth to be near the Alabama-Mississippi coast provides convincing evidence that the shore. For those who elect to play this game of real estate roulette, reality of coastal processes was rarely considered in their construc- we provide some advice as to how to place their chips in the game. tion. Apparently the sea view and aesthetics were primary con- We do not recommend that you play the game! siderations. Except for meeting minimal building requirements, If you want to learn more about construction near the beach, no further thought seems to have been given to the safety of many we recommend the book Coastal Design: A Guidefor Builders, of these buildings. The failure to follow a few basic architectural Planners, and Home Owners (Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1983), guidelines that recognize this reality will have disastrous results in 6. Building or buYing a house 139 the next major storm. Gamblers usually try to stack the odds as should fully comprehend the risks involved, the likelihood of harm much in their favor as possible; the same should be true when to home or family. The risks should then be weighed against the designing to five with nature. benefits to be derived from the residence. Similarly the developer Life's important decisions are based on an evaluation of the building a motel should weigh the possibility of destruction and facts. Few of us buy goods, choose a career, take legal, financial, death during a hurricane versus the money or other advantages to or medical actions without first evaluating the facts and seeking be gained from such a building. Then and only then should con- advice. In the case of coastal property 2 general aspects should be struction proceed. For both the homeowner and the developer, evaluated: site safety and the integrity of the structure relative to proper construction and location reduce the risks involved. the forces to which it will be subjected. The concept of balanced risk should take into account the fol- A guide to evaluating the site(s) of your interest on the Gulf lowing fundamental considerations: Coast and bay shorelines is presented in chapter 4, along with i. Construction must be economically feasible. hazard evaluation maps. The remainder of this chapter focuses on 2. Therefore, ultimate and total safety is not obtainable for most the structure itself, whether cottage or condominium. homeowners on the coast. 3. A coastal structure, exposed to high winds, waves, or flooding The structure: concept of balanced risk should be stronger than a structure built inland. A certain probability of failure for any structure exists within 4. A building with a planned long life, such as a year-round resi- dence, should be stronger than a building with a planned short the constraints of economy and environment. The objective Of life, such as a mobile home. building design is to create a structure that is both economically 5. A building with high occupancy, such as an apartment building, feasible and functionally reliable. A house must be affordable and should be safer than a building with low occupancy, such as a have a reasonable life expectancy free of being damaged, destroyed, single-family dwelling. or wearing out. To obtain such a house, a balance must be achieved 6. A building that houses elderly or sick people should be safer among financial, structural, environmental, and other conditions. than a building housing able-bodied people. Most of these conditions are "higher" on the coast, for example, higher property values, higher desire for aesthetics, higher envi- Structures can be designed and built to resist all but the largest ronmental sensitivity, higher chance of storms and other hazards. storms and still be within reasonable economic limits. Structural engineering is the designing and constructing of build- The individual who builds or buys a home in an exposed area ings to withstand the forces of nature. It is based on a knowledge 140 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore of the forces to which the structures will be subjected and an Hurricane winds understanding of the strength of building materials. The effective- Hurricane winds can be evaluated in terms of the pressure they ness of structural engineering design was reflected in the aftermath exert. A ioo-mph wind exerts a pressure or force of about 40 of Cyclone (hurricane) Tracy that struck Darwin, Australia, in 1974. Housing that was not based on structural engineering prin- pounds per square foot on a flat surface. The pressure varies with ciples suffered 70 percent destruction and 20 percent seriously the square of the velocity. For example, a wind of i go-mph velocity damaged; that is, only io percent of such housing weathered the exerts a force of 144 pounds per square foot. This force is modified storm. In contrast, more than 70 percent of the structurally engi- by several factors that must be considered in designing a building. neered large commercial, government, and industrial buildings For instance, the effect on a round surface, such as that of a sphere came through with little or no damage, and less than 5 percent o or cylinder, is less than the effect on a flat surface. Also, winds such structures suffered destruction. Because housing accounts for increase with height above ground, so a tall structure is subject to greater pressure than a low structure. more than half of the capital cost of the buildings in Queensland, A house or building designed for inland areas is built primarily the state government there established a building code that re- to resist vertical loads. It is assumed that the foundation and fram- quires standardized structural engineering for houses in hurricane- ing must support the load of the walls, floor, and roof, and rela- prone areas. This improvement has been achieved with little in- tively insignificant wind forces. crease in construction and design costs. A well-built house in a hurricane-prone area, however, must be constructed to withstand a variety of strong wind forces that may Coastal forces: design requirements come from any direction. Although many people think that wind damage is caused by uniform horizontal pressures (lateral loads), Hurricanes, with their associated high winds and storm surge most damage, in fact, is caused by uplift (vertical) suctional (pres- topped by large waves, are the most destructive of the forces to be sure outward from surface), and torsional (twisting) forces. High reckoned with on the coast. Winter storms, however, also can be horizontal pressure on the windward side is accompanied by suc- devastating. Figure 6.1 illustrates the effects of hurricane forces tion on the leeward side. The roof is subject to downward pressure on houses and other buildings. and, more importantly, to uplift. Often a roof is sucked up by the uplift drag of the wind. Usually the failure of houses is in the devices that tie the parts of the structure together. All structural members (beams, rafters, columns) should be fastened together 6. Building or buying a house 141 WIND WAVES Loose 101) objects Wind Debris direction Pressure Suction Arrows show direction of House is damaged by the forces on house. force of the waves. DROP IN BAROMETRIC PRESSURE HIGH WATER Low Normal high pressure . pressure High water level outside inside house The passing eye of the storm n n creates different pressure inside [email protected] -J L- @ rm al high 'es'u'e High water [email protected] ide hou'! iio,[email protected] and out, and high pressure inside Unanchored house floats off attempts to burst house open. its foundation. Fig. 6.1. Forces to be reckoned with at the shoreline. 142 Living with the Alabarna- M i ssissippi shore on the assumption that about 25 percent of the vertical load on and frequency of storm surge for the area. In general, building the member may be a force coming from any direction (sideways standards require that the lowest floor of a dwelling be above the or upwards). When lumber is poorly connected, its capacity for ioo-year flood level. At this level a building has a i percent proba- strength is wasted. Such structural integrity also is important if it bility of being flooded in any given year. is likely that the building may be moved to avoid destruction by Hurricane waves shoreline retreat. Hurricane waves can cause severe damage not only in forcing Storm surge water onshore to flood buildings but also in throwing boats, barges, Storm surge is a rise in sea level above the normal water level piers, houses, and other floating debris inland against standing during a storm. During hurricanes the inundation of the coastal structures. In addition, waves can destroy coastal structures by zone by storm surge and the accompanying storm waves causes scouring away the underlying sand, causing collapse. It is possible most property damage and loss of life. (Storm surge was discussed to design buildings for survival in crashing storm surf. Many in chapter 2.) lighthouses, for example, have survived storm surge. But in the Often the pressure of the wind backs water into streams, estu- balanced-risk equation, it usually is not economically feasible to aries, or bays already swollen from the exceptional rainfall brought build ordinary cottages to resist the more powerful of such forces. on by the hurricane. Water is piled into the sounds between islands On the other hand, cottages can be made considerably more storm- and the mainland by the offshore storm. This flooding is particu- worthy by following the suggestions in the following sections. larly dangerous when the wind pressure keeps the tide from run- The force of a wave may be realized when one considers that a ning out of inlets, so that the next normal high tide pushes the cubic yard of water weighs over three-fourths of a ton; hence, a accumulated waters back and higher still. breaking wave moving shoreward at a speed of several tens of miles People who have cleaned the mud and contents out of a house per hour is one of the most destructive elements of a hurricane. subjected to flooding will retain vivid memories of the effects of Barometric pressure changes that flooding. Flooding can cause an unanchored house to float off its foundation and come to rest against another house, severely Barometric pressure changes also may be minor contributors to damaging both. Even if the house itself is left structurally intact, structural failure. If a house is sealed at a normal barometric pres- flooding may destroy its contents. sure Of 30 inches of mercury, and the external pressure suddenly Proper coastal development takes into account the expected level drops to 26.61 inches as happened in Hurricane Camille, the pres- 6. Building or buying a house 143 sure exerted within the house would be 245 pounds per square used in the construction of small residential structures. foot. An ordinary house would explode if it were leakproof. In It is hard to beat a wood frame house that is properly braced tornadoes, where there is a severe pressure differential, many and anchored, and its members well connected. The well-built houses do just that. In a hurricane the problem is much less severe. wood house will often hold together as a unit even if moved off Fortunately, most houses leak; yet they must leak fast enough to its foundation, where other types of structure would disintegrate. prevent damage. Given the more destructive forces of hurricane Although all of the structural types noted above are to be found in wind and waves, pressure differential may be of minor concern. the coastal zone, newer structures tend to be of the elevated wood Venting the underside of the roof at the eaves is a common means frame type. of equalizing internal and external pressure. Figure 6.2 illustrates some of the actions that a homeowner can Keeping dry: pole or "stilt" houses take to deal with the forces just described. In coastal areas subject to flooding nearly all communities have House selection adopted building codes or zoning ordinances that comply with minimum standards established by the National Flood Insurance Having listed the forces to which a house near the beach may be Program. In V-zones these ordinances and/or codes generally re- subjected, and having presented a guide for evaluating the site, let quire that residences be elevated on pilings or columns so that the us turn to the house itself. Some types of houses are better than lowest horizontal structural member of the lowest floor is at or others, and an awareness of the differences will help you make a above the ioo-year flood elevation. Areas below that elevation better selection either in building a new house or buying an exist- must be left free of obstructions, or at least enclosed by walls that ing place. will break away if struck by waves, and contain no habitable space. Worst of all are unreinforced masonry houses, whether they be The ioo-year flood elevation is being adjusted upward in these brick, concrete block, hollow clay-tile, or brick veneer, as they communities to include wave heights that are superimposed on cannot withstand the lateral forces of wind, wave, and settling of top of the storm surge. foundation. In A-zones residences can be elevated by any means so that the Adequate and extraordinary reinforcing in coastal regions will lowest floor is at or above the elevation of the ioo-year flood. alleviate the inherent weaknesses of unit masonry, if done properly. Although elevation of a residence by building a mound out of fill Reinforced concrete and steel frames are excellent but are rarely generally would be permitted in A-zones, this method is not ad- 144 Living with the Alabama- M i ssissippi shore Problem: Problem: Problem: Higher pressure inside than out. Overturning and lateral movement Loss of parts of house. Wind or '**@' 1, Wind or Pressure waves waves Li Li Cure: Cure: Cure: Open windows on leetside of the Anchor house to foundation with Install adequate connections and house. Put vents in he attic to tension connection. properly sized materials. equalize the pressure. Problem: Problem: Racking (lateral collapse). Penetration by flying debris. Flying debris Wind or Wind or waves waves Cure: Cure: Install bracing, such as diagonals Construct walls and roof solidly. and plywood sheets well nailed to Make windows extra Strong; use studs and floor plates; in masonry smaller panes. houses, install reinforcing. Fig. 6.2. Modes of failure and how to deal with them. Modified from U.S. Civil Defense Preparedness Agency Publication TR83. 6. Building or buying a house 145 visable in most coastal areas because the fill is likely to be eroded by waves or flowing floodwaters. Because of these hazards, mod- ern flood-prone structures are elevated on pilings that are well anchored in the subsoil. Current building design criteria for pole-house construction under the flood insurance program are outlined in the Design and ......j, W., W., W., W., Construction Manualfor Residential Buildings in Coastal High 6' to 8- Hazard Areas (reference io8, appendix Q. Regardless of these Spikes or lags requirements, pole-type construction with deep embedment of piles is advisable in any area where waves and storm-surge flood- -11 Post with concrete footing waters will erode foundation material. Deeply embedded pole Materials used in pole construction include the following: on a concrete pad Piles. Piles are long, slender columns of wood, steel, or concrete driven into the earth to a sufficient depth to support the vertical load of the house and to withstand the horizontal forces of flowing water, wind, and water-borne debris. Pile construction is especially suitable in areas where scouring (soil "washing out" from under the foundation of a house) is a problem. [email protected] ized galvan Posts. Posts are usually of wood; if of steel, they are called strap columns. Unlike piles, they are not driven into the ground but, 121 minimum Bolt I tag rather, are placed in a pre-dug hole at the bottom of which may be I 1 0, a concrete pad (fig. 6-3). Posts may be held in place by backfilling Wood post anchored to a concrete footing and tamping earth or by pouring concrete into the hole after the L_J pole is in place. Posts are more readily aligned than driven piles Concrete collar for pole and are, therefore, better to use if poles must extend to the roof. In permits shallower embedment J/ general, treated wood is the cheapest and most common material Fig. 6.3. Shallow and deep supports for poles and posts. Source: for both posts and piles. Southern Pine Association. 146 Living with the Alabama- M i ssissi ppi shore -C r JoisL [DcpLh of embednicnit [email protected] [email protected] header frorn 6 to 10 feet, dopciidiiiq on spaciriq arid size of [email protected];' Willd 1-101(, is 110tche'd load, arid so forth. or, iaced. SSLII'C- 1.3 d jojsL CS er oil head [email protected] ; LlI Fig. 6.4. Framing system for an elevated house. Source: Southern Pine Association. 6. Building or buying a house 147 Piers. Piers are vertical supports, thicker than piles or posts, usually made of reinforced concrete or reinforced masonry (con- crete blocks or bricks). They are set on footings and extend to the underside of the floor frame. Pole construction can be of two types. The poles can be cut off at the first floor level to support the platform that serves as the dwelling floor. In this case, piles, posts, or piers can be used. Or they can be extended to the roof and rigidly tied into both the floor and the roof. In this way they become major framing mem- hers for the structure and provide better anchorage to the house as a whole (figs. 6.4 and 6.5). A combination of full- and floor-height 112- poles is used in some cases, with the shorter poles restricted to supporting the floor inside the house (fig. 6.6). Where the foundation material can be eroded by waves or winds, the poles should be deeply embedded and solidly anchored either A [email protected] by driving piles or by drilling deep holes for posts and putting in a i-7 ) V concrete pad at the bottom of each pole. Where the embedment is Fig. 6.5. Pole house with poles extending to the roof. Extending poles shallow, a concrete collar around the poles improves anchorage to the roof, instead of the usual method of cutting them off at the first (fig. 6-3). The choice depends on the soil conditions. Piles are more floor, greatly strengthens a beach cottage. Photo by Orrin Pilkey, Jr. difficult than posts to align to match the house frame; posts can be positioned in the holes before backfilling. Inadequate piling depths, improper piling-to-floor connections, and inadequate pile bracing all contribute to structural failure when storm waves liquify and erode sand support (fig. 6-7). When post holes are dug, rather than pilings driven, the posts should extend 4 to 8 feet into the ground depending on the type of soil and the weight (vertical load) on the pole. Hole excavations 148 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore Outside pole beyond 8 feet become excessively expensive. For this reason, posts do not provide suitable deep anchorage in V-zones or where deep Joist hang rs soil erosion is likely to occur. Post foundations are suitable for Knee some parts of the A-zone. The lower end of the post should rest bracing on a concrete pad, spreading the load to the soil over a greater Bolts area to prevent settlement. When the soil permits the embedment to be shallow, it is best to tie the post down to the footing with Interior pole straps or other anchoring devices. (trimmed below floor) The depth of embedment of driven orjetted piles depends upon the type of soil, the location of the house with respect to the sea, and other criteria. Loose sand requires more penetration than dense sand and still more than dense clay. The minimum penetra- Solid wood or Exterior Subfloor tion should be 8 feet, but a much greater penetration can be dic- Sole plate plywood subfloo, sheathing tated by local building codes. As an example of a special situation, Header joists FEMA recommends that piles in the V-zone penetrate sand to at Joist least a tip elevation Of 5 feet below mean sea level if the Base Flood Elevation is io feet or less above mean sea level. If the house must Bolt be elevated higher than io feet above mean sea level (expected Lag or bolt Bolts height of water plus waves), then the pile tips should penetrate at least to i o feet below mean sea level. You may want posts or pilings to extend deeper than minimum code requirements. ly ,d w, w. -d1b or 0.01m We @d. p 0"' hanger I!Inte, Knee , [email protected] b ac,.g ("'mm ' p ed Sole plate '-d fl fo. Heade or '[email protected] it Outside pole Joists Outside pole The floor and the roof should be securely connected to the poles Band joist with bolts or other fasteners. When the floor rests on poles that do not extend to the roof, attachment is even more critical. A system of metal straps is often used. Unfortunately, it is very common for Fig. 6.6. Tying floors to poles. Source: Southern Pine Association. builders simply to attach the floorjoists or beams to a notched pole by i or 2 undersized bolts. Hurricanes have proven this method 6. Building or buying a house 149 insufficient. During the next hurricane on the northeast Gulf Coast many houses will be destroyed because of inadequate attachment. Local building codes specify the size, quality, and spacing of the piles, ties, and bracing, as well as the methods and materials for fastening the structure to them. Building codes often are minimal requirements; however, building inspectors are usually amenable to allowing designs that are equal or more effective. The space under an elevated house, whether pole-type or other- wise, must be kept free of obstructions to minimize the impact of waves and floating debris. The convenience of closing in the ground floor for a garage or extra bedroom may be costly because it violates insurance requirements and actually can cause the loss of the house in a hurricane. In some instances it may be desirable to enclose part or all of the space under the elevated structure. If this is done, the walls should be built so they will break away under pressure from water or debris, but in such a manner that they will not float away and add to the water-borne debris problem. This can be done in several ways, including hinging so they will swing out of the way, or mak- Fig. 6.7. Inadequate piling depths, and inadequate size and bracing ing them detachable for removal prior to the storm. The National of pilings are common causes of failure during storm-surge flooding Flood Insurance Program suggests open-wood latticework as the as resulted from Hurricane Frederic. About 4 to 6 feet of sand was preferred option for people who want enclosed space for aesthetic scoured from the base of these pilings, and the remaining sand may reasons. Generally, enclosing the space is discouraged. have been liquefied to a depth of 3 to 4 feet by the floodwaters. Hence, the leaning pilings. Damage to the superstructure was caused mainly by wind. Photo by H. C. Miller. 15o Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore An existing house: what to look for, where to improve ested, look closely at the adjacent homes. If poorly built, they may If instead of building a new house, you are selecting a house float over against your house and damage it in a flood. You may already built in an area subject to flooding and high winds, con- even want to consider the type of people you will have as neighbors. sider the following factors: (i) where the house is located, (2) how Will they "clear the decks" in preparation for a storm or will they well the house is built, and (3) how the house can be improved. leave items in the yard to become wind-borne missiles? The house itself should be inspected for the following: Geographic location The house should be well anchored to the ground. If it is simply resting on blocks, rising water may cause it to float off its founda- Evaluate the site of an existing house using the same principles tion and come to rest against your neighbor's house or out in the given earlier for the evaluation of a possible site for new construc- middle of the street. If well built and well braced internally, it tion. House elevation, frequency of high water, escape route, and may be possible to move the house back to its proper location, how well the lot drains should be emphasized, but you should go but chances are great that the house will be too damaged to be through the complete site safety checklist in chapter 4. habitable. You can modify the house after you have purchased it, but you If the house is on piles, posts, or poles, check to see if the floor cannot prevent hurricanes or winter storms. The first step is . to beams are adequately bolted to them. If it rests on piers, crawl stop and consider: do the pleasures and benefits of this location A balance the risks and disadvantages? If not, look elsewhere for a under the house if space permits to see if the floor beams are home; if so, then evaluate the house itself. securely connected to the foundation. If the floor system rests un- anchored on piers, do not buy the house. How well built is the house? It is difficult to discern whether a house built on a concrete slab In general, the principles used to evaluate an existing house are is properly bolted to the slab because the inside and outside walls hide the bolts. If you can locate the builder, ask if such bolting the same as those used in building a new one (references 107 to was done. Better yet, if you can get assurance that construction of 125, appendix Q. It should be remembered that many of the the house complied with the provisions of a building code serving houses were built prior to the enactment of the National Flood the needs of that particular region, you can be reasonably sure Insurance Program and may not meet the standards required of that all parts of the house are well anchored-the foundation to structures or improvements built since then. the ground, the floor to the foundation, the walls to the floor, and Before you thoroughly inspect the house in which you are inter- the roof to the walls (figs. 6.8, 6.9, and 6.io). 6. Building or buying a house 151 Metal plate Ground Stud Strap 8d nail line Bolt 2" x 611 braces reated sill Heavy galvanized 5heathing strap anchor Lag screws Sill or Header Large plate plate joist washer Poured cap Anchor bolt r-- spaced 4' to 6' apart Nail to header joist. Fig. 6.8. Foundation anchorage. Top: anchored sill for shallow embed- ment. Bottom: anchoring sill or plate to foundation. Source of bottom drawing: Houses Can Resist Hurricanes, U.S. Forest Service Research Fig. 6.9. Stud-to-floor, plate-to-floor framing methods. Source: Houses Paper FPL 33. Can Resist Hurricanes, U.S. Forest Service Research Paper FPL 33. 152 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore Be aware that many builders, carpenters, and building inspectors Rafter Rafter who are accustomed to traditional construction are apt to regard Joist Strap metal connectors, collar beams, and other such devices as new- 10d nails anchor Joist fangled and unnecessary. If consulted, they may assure you that a Toenail Toenail house is as solid as a rock, when in fact it is far from it. Neverthe- less, it is wise to consult the builder or knowledgeable neighbors Plate Strap Plate when possible. anchor Stud The root should be well anchored to the walls. This will prevent Eld nails 8d nails uplifting and separation from the walls. Visit the attic to see if such anchoring exists. Simple toe-nailing (nailing at an angle) is not adequate; metal fasteners are needed. Depending on the type of construction and the amount of insulation laid on the floor of the attic, these may or may not be easy to see. If roof trusses or Rafter braced rafters were used, it should be easy to see whether the Joist Rafter various members, such as the diagonals, are well fastened together. 6d common or 1-3/41' roofing nails Again, simple toe-nailing will not suffice. Some builders, unfor- 8d nails Toenail rafter to plate tunately, nail parts of a roof truss just enough to hold it together (opposite side). to get it in place. A collar beam or gusset at the peak of the roof Wall plate (fig. 6. 11 ) provides some assurance of good construction. Stud Stud Quality roofing material should be well anchored to the sheathing. A poor roof covering will be destroyed by hurricane-force winds, a'fle, Raf.1rer S,r P an chr Te..,'I' Toenail h.r nails Id nails Toena-,, S u, t S'.' Fig. 6.10. Roof-to-wall connectors. The top drawings show metal strap allowing rain to enter the house and damage ceilings, walls, and connectors: left, rafter to stud; right, joist to stud. The bottom left draw- the contents of the house. Galvanized nails (2 per shingle) should ing shows a double-member metal-plate connector-in this case with be used to connect wood shingles and shakes to wood sheathing the joist to the right of the rafter. The bottom right drawing shows a and should be long enough to penetrate through the sheathing single-member metal-plate connector. Source: Houses Can Resist (fig. 6. 11). Threaded nails should be used for plywood sheathing. Hurricanes, U.S. Forest Service Research Paper FPL 33. For roof slopes that rise i foot for every 3 feet or more of hori- 6. Building or buying a house 153 Wind or WiA or Wind or Wind or [email protected] 4i;l 4;;) [email protected] s waves waves wa es waves Reinforced masonry walls Plywood diaphragms Diagonal metal strap Diagonal wood bracing (in tension) (in compression) Reinforce exterior walls by bracing perpendicular interior walls S Sheathi 9 Anchorage across ridge secure"d liar beam Clip angle Bond beam Metal plate conne ctors sec ore Roof tied to roof joists to wall I.undaticin to resi. Reinforcing steel Metal plate connector Anchor plate secures wall to platei to foundation he at se cur Clip ang ,le 4..nd b, .r ore eight of concrete + earth + building itself needs to be Masonry System enough to prevent overturning Wood-Frarned System Fig. 6.11. Where to strengthen a house. Modified from: U.S. Civil Defense Preparedness Agency Publication TR83. 154 Living with the Alabarna- Mississippi shore zontal distance, exposure of the shingle should be about one-fourth The design of a house or building in a coastal area should mini- of its length (4 inches for a 16-inch single). If shakes (thicker and mize structural discontinuities and irregularities. A house should longer than shingles) are used, less than one-third of their length have a minimum of nooks and crannies and offsets on the exterior should be exposed. because damage to a structure tends to concentrate at these points. In hurricane areas asphalt shingles should be exposed somewhat Some of the newer beach cottages along the Gulf Coast are of less than usual. A mastic or seal-tab type or an interlocking shin- a highly angular design with such nooks and crannies. Award- gle of heavy grade should be used. A roof underlay of asphalt- winning architecture will be a storm loser if the design has not saturated felt and galvanized roofing nails or approved staples (6 incorporated the technology for maximizing structural integrity for each 3-tap strip) should be used. with respect to storm forces. When irregularities are absent, the The fundamental rule to remember in framing is that all struc- house reacts to storm winds as a complete unit. tural elements should be fastened together and anchored to the Brick, concrete-block, and masonry-wali houses should be ade- ground in such a manner as to resist all forces, regardless of which quately reinforced. This reinforcement is hidden from view. Build- direction these forces may come from. This prevents overturning, ing codes applicable to high-wind areas often specify the type of floating off, racking, or disintegration. mortar, reinforcing, and anchoring to be used in construction. If The shape of the house is important. A hip roof, which slopes in 4 you can get assurance that the house was built in compliance with directions, is better able to resist high winds than a gable roof, a building code designed for such an area, consider buying it. At which slopes in 2 directions. This was found to be true in Hurri- all costs avoid unreinforced masonry houses. cane Camille (1969) in Mississippi and later in Cyclone Tracy, A poured concrete bond-beam at the top of the wall just under which devastated Darwin, Australia, in December 1974. The rea- the roof is i indication that the house is well built (fig. 6.12). Most son is twofold: the hip roof offers a smaller shape for the wind to bond beams are formed by putting in reinforcing and pouring blow against, and its structure is such that it is better braced in all concrete in U-shaped concrete blocks. From the outside, however, directions. you cannot distinguish these U-shaped blocks from ordinary ones Note also the horizontal cross section of the house (the shape of and therefore cannot be certain that a bond beam exists. The the house as viewed from above). The pressure exerted by a wind vertical reinforcing should penetrate the bond beam. on a round or elliptical shape is about 6o percent of that exerted Some architects and builders use a stacked bond (i block di- on the common square or rectangular shape; the pressure exerted rectly above another), rather than overlapped or staggered blocks, on a hexagonal or octagonal cross section is about 8o percent of because they believe it looks better. The stacked bond is definitely that exerted on a square or rectangular cross section. 6. Building or buying a house 155 weaker than the latter. Unless you have proof that the walls are adequately reinforced to overcome this lack of strength, you should avoid this type of construction. Bond beam Steel In past hurricanes the brick veneer of many houses has separated reinforcing bars from the wood frame, even when the houses remained standing. Asbestos-type outer wall panels used on many houses in Darwin, Australia, were found to be brittle and broke up under the impact Concrete Block Wall of wind-borne debris in Cyclone Tracy. Both types of construction should be avoided along the coast. Poured-in-place Ocean-facing glazing (windows, glass doors, glass panels) should concrete be minimal. Although large open glass areas facing the ocean pro c" vide an excellent sea view, such glazing may present several prob- lems. The obvious hazard is glass that disintegrates and blows inward during a storm. Glass projectiles are lethal. Less frequently 2-1/2" bars recognized problems include the fact that glass may not provide as U-Block Tie Beam much structural strength as wood, metal, or other building ma- terials; and ocean-facing glass is commonly damaged through sedi- 0b;0 76A ment sand blasting, transported by normal coastal winds. The solution to this latter problem may be in reducing the amount of 4-5/8" bars glass in the original design, or installing storm shutters that come in a variety of materials from steel to wood. Is Consult a good architect or structural engineer for advice if you Poured Concrete Tie Beam are in doubt about any aspects of the house. A few dollars spent for wise counsel may save you from later financial grief. Fig. 6.12. Reinforced tie beam (bond beam) for concrete block walls- To summarize, the beach house should have: (i) roof tied to to be used at each floor level around the perimeter of the exterior walls, walls tied to foundation, and foundation anchored to the walls. earth (the connections potentially are the weakest link in the 156 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore Over-Lhe-Lop Liedown Anchor Frame tie Frame tie -,Q type 3 type I @Lype2 These sketches illustrate various methods for connecting frame ties to the mobile home frame. Type 2 system can resist greater horizontal forces than type 1. Type 3 system involves placement of mobile home an concrete slab. Anchors embedded in concrete slab are connected to ties. 'a- e t. @e type I L -3 Additions or canopies also need to be secured with Double wides do not require over-the-top tiedowns. over-Lhe-Lop Liedowns. Fig. 6.13. Tiedowns for mobile homes. Source: U.S. Civil Defense Preparedness Agency Publication TR75. 6. Building or buying a house 157 structural system); (2) a shape that resists storm forces; (3) floors high enough (sufficient elevation) to be above most storm waters CABLE - Minimum diameter galvanized Ste' I cable 7/32" If commercial adapter is not (usually the ioo-year flood level plus 2 to 6 feet); (4) piles that are Minimum diameter galvanized available, use wood blocks to of sufficient depth or embedded in concrete to anchor the structure aircraft 1/4" and Q x19) distribute pressure ofI able. and to withstand erosion; and (5) pilings that are well braced. Use at least two cable c"mps,J I w ith nuts placed 0, live COACH side of cable. BODY What can be done to improve an existing house? If you presently own a house or are contemplating buying one Use . Closed eye wire in a hurricane-prone area, you will want to know how to improve rope Section occupant protection in the house. If so, you should obtain the thimble. @ Drop-forged turnbuckle sized to equal breaking excellent publication, Wind Resistant Design Conceptsfor Resi- strength of rope Turnbuckles with hook ends hould not be used dences (TR83), by Delbart B. Ward (reference i i i, appendix Q. Top of (they can bend open under Of particular interest are the sections on building a refuge shelter a high wind loadings). module within a residence. Whereas TR83 is aimed at residences, supplements TR83A and B (reference 112, appendix Q deal with larger buildings and may be of interest to the general public, espe- Commercial adapters or 'I d s 0 mounting brac1k:lsapte`p,.v`ent cially residents in urban areas. These references provide a means cable or strap tiedowns from of checking on whether the responsible authorities are doing their cutting into mobile home jobs to protect schools, office buildings, and apartments. A num- ber of other pertinent references are listed in appendix C. Fig. 6.14. Hardware for mobile home tiedowns. Modified from U.S. Suppose your house is resting on blocks, but not fastened to Civil Defense Preparedness Agency Publication TR75. them, and thus is not adequately anchored to the ground. Can anything be done? One solution is to treat the house like a mobile home by screwing ground anchors into the ground to a depth Of 4 feet or more and fastening them to the underside of the floor sys- tems. See figures 6.13 and 6.14 for illustrations of how ground anchors can be used. 158 Living with the Alabama-Mississippi shore Calculations to determine the needed number of ground anchors who is resistant to new ideas. One builder told a homeowner, will differ between a house and a mobile home because each is "You don't want all those newfangled straps and anchoring de- affected differently by the forces of wind and water. Note that vices. If you use them, the whole house will blow away, but if you recent practice is to put these commercial steel-rod anchors in at build in the usual manner [with members lightly connected], you an angle in order to better align them with the direction of the may lose only part of it.' pull. If a vertical anchor is used, the top 18 inches or so should be In fact, the very purpose of the straps is to prevent any or all of encased in a concrete cylinder about 12 inches in diameter. This the house from blowing away. The Standard Building Code for prevents the top of the anchor rod from bending or slicing through hurricane-prone areas says, "Lateral support securely anchored the wet soil from the horizontal component of the pull. to all walls provides the best and only sound structural stability Diagonal struts, either timber or pipe, also may be used to against horizontal thrusts, such as winds of exceptional velocity" anchor a house that rests on blocks. This is done by fastening the (reference 113, appendix Q. And the cost of connecting all ele- upper ends of the struts to the floor system and the lower ends to ments securely adds very little to the cost of the frame of the individual concrete footings substantially below the surface of the dwelling, usually under io percent, and a very much smaller per- ground. These struts must be able to take both uplift (tension) centage to the total cost of the house. and compression and should be tied into the concrete footing with If the house has an overhanging eave and there are no openings anchoring devices such as straps or spikes. on its underside, it may be feasible to cut openings and screen If the house has a porch with exposed columns or posts, it should them. These openings keep the attic cooler (a plus in the summer) be possible to install tiedown anchors on their tops and bottoms. and help to equalize the pressure inside and outside of the house Steel straps should suffice in most cases. during a storm with a low-pressure center. When accessible, roof rafters and trusses should be anchored to Another way to improve a house is to modify a special room so the wall system. Usually the roof trusses or braced rafters are that it can be used as an emergency refuge in case you are trapped sufficiently exposed to make it possible to strengthen joints (where in a major storm. This is not an alternative to evacuation prior to 2 or more members meet) with collar beams or gussets, particu- a hurricane. Examine the house and select the best room to stay larly at the peak of the roof (figs. 6. 1 o and 6. 11). in during a storm. A small windowless room such as a bathroom, A competent carpenter, architect, or structural engineer can re- utility room, den, or storage space is usually stronger than a room view the house with you and help you decide what modifications with windows. A sturdy inner room, with more than i wall be- are most practical and effective. Do not be misled by someone tween it and the outside, is safest. The fewer doors, the better; an 6. Building or buying a house 159 adjoining wall or baffle wall shielding the door adds to the pro- so aptly put it: "People who live in flimsy houses shouldn't have tection. hurricanes." Consider bracing or strengthening the interior walls. Such re- Several lessons can be learned from past experiences in storms. inforcement may require removing the surface covering and in- First, mobile homes should be located properly. After Hurricane stalling plywood sheathing or strap bracing. Where wall studs are Camille (1969) it was observed that where mobile home parks were exposed, bracing straps offer a simple way to achieve needed rein- surrounded by woods and where the units were close together, forcement against the wind. These straps are commercially pro- damage was minimized, caused mainly by falling trees. In unpro- duced and are made of 16-gauge galvanized metal with prepunched tected areas, however, many mobile homes were overturned and holes for nailing. These should be secured to studs and wall plates often destroyed by the force of the wind. The protection afforded as nail holes permit (fig. 6. 11). Bear in mind that they are good by trees is greater than the possible damage from falling limbs. only for tension. Two or more rows of trees are better than a single row, and trees If, after reading this, you agree that something should be done 30 feet or more in height give better protection than shorter ones. to your house, do it now. Do not put it off until the next hurricane If possible, position the mobile home so that the narrow side faces or big storm hits you! the prevailing winds. Locating a mobile home in a hilltop park will greatly increase Mobile homes: limiting their mobility its vulnerability to the wind. A lower site screened by trees is safer from the wind, but it should be above storm-surge flood levels. Because of their light weight and flat sides, mobile homes are A location that is too low, obviously, increases the likelihood of vulnerable to the high winds of hurricanes, tornadoes, and severe flooding. There are fewer safe locations for mobile homes than for storms. Such winds can overturn unanchored mobile homes or stilt houses. smash them into neighboring homes and property. Nearly 6 million A second lesson taught by past experience is that the mobile Americans live in mobile homes today, and the number is growing. home must be tied down or anchored to the ground so that it will Twenty or 30 percent of single-family housing production in the not overturn in high winds (figs. 6. 13, 6.14, and table 6. 1). Simple United States consists of mobile homes. High winds damage or prudence dictates the use of tiedowns, and in many communities destroy nearly 5,000 of these homes every year, and the number ordinances require it. Many insurance companies, moreover, will will surely rise unless protective measures are taken. As one man not insure mobile homes unless they are adequately anchored with whose mobile home was overturned in Hurricane Frederic (1979) tiedowns. 160 Living with the Alabama- M i ssi ssippi shore Table 6.1. Tiedown anchorage requirements 10- and 12-ft.-wide mobile homes 12- and 14-ft.-wide mobile 30 to 50 ft. long 50 to 60 ft. long homes, 60 to 70 ft. long Wind velocity No. of No. of over- No. of No. of over- No. of No. of over- (mph) frame ties the-top ties frame ties the-top ties frame ties the-top ties 70 3 2 4 2 4 2 80 4 3 5 3 5 3 90 5 4 6 4 7 4 100 6 5 7 5 8 6 110 7 6 9 6 10 7 A mobile home may be tied down with cable or rope, or rigidly off the piers. This applies to single mobile homes up to 14 feet in attached to the ground by connecting it to or within a wood-post width. Double wides do not require over-the-top ties, but they do foundation system. An alert owner of a mobile home park can require frame ties. provide permanent concrete anchors or piers to which hold-down Mobile home owners should be sure to obtain a copy of the ties may be fastened. In general, an entire tiedown system costs booklet Protecting Mobile Homesfrom High Winds (reference only a nominal amount. 115, appendix Q, which treats the subject in more detail. The A mobile home should be properly anchored with both ties to booklet lists specific steps that one should take on receiving a the frame and over-the-top straps; otherwise it may be damaged hurricane warning and suggests a type of mobile home park com- by sliding, overturning, or tossing. The most common cause of munity shelter. It also includes a map of the United States that major damage is the tearing away of most or all of the roof. When indicates areas subject to the strongest sustained winds. this happens the walls are no longer adequately supported at the top and are more prone to collapse (fig. 6. 15). Total destruction of High-rise buildings: the urban shore a mobile home is more likely if the roof blows off, especially if the roof blows off first and then the home overturns. The necessity for A high-rise building on the beach is generally designed by an anchoring cannot be overemphasized. There should be over-the- architect and a structural engineer who are presumably well quali- top tiedowns to resist overturning and frame ties to resist sliding fied and aware of the requirements for building on the shoreline. 6. Building or buying a house 161 Tenants of such a building, however, should not assume that it is invulnerable. People living in apartment buildings Of 2 or 3 stories were killed when the buildings were destroyed by Hurricane Ca- mille in Mississippi in 1969. Storms have torn away the fronts of 5-story buildings in Delaware. Larger high-rises have yet to be thoroughly tested by a major hurricane. The first aspect of high-rise construction that a prospective apartment dweller or condo owner must consider is the type of pilings used. High-rises near the beach should be built so that even tie if the foundation is severely undercut during a storm, the building will remain standing. It is well known in construction circles that shortcuts are sometimes taken by less scrupulous builders, and pilings are not driven deeply enough. Just as important as driving the pilings deep enough to resist scouring and to support the loads they must carry is the need to fasten them securely to the structure above them that they support. The connections must resist hori- Fig. 6.1 S. Mobile home in wooden frame was destroyed by Hurricane zontal loads from winds and waves during a storm and also uplift Frederic, but it was held in place and did not become a battering ram. from the same sources. It is a joint responsibility of builders and Photo by H. C. Miller. building inspectors to make sure the job is done right. Hurricane Eloise (1975) exposed the foundation of a just-under-construction high-rise in Florida, revealing that some of the pilings were not S_#[email protected] attached to the building. This happened in Panama City Beach, but such problems probably exist everywhere that high-rises crowd the beach. Despite the assurances that come with an engineered structure, life in a high-rise building holds definite drawbacks that prospec- tive tenants should take into consideration. The negative condi- 162 Living with the Alabarna- Mississippi shore tions that must be evaluated stem from high wind, high water, with coastal storms. A power failure can cause great distress. Peo- and poor foundations. ple can be caught between floors in an elevator. New York City Pressure from the wind is greater near the shore than it is inland, had that experience once on a large scale. Think of the mental and it increases with height. If you are living inland in a 2-story and physical distress after several hours of confinement. And com- house and plan to move to the eleventh floor of a high-rise on pound this with the roaring winds of a hurricane whipping around the shore, you should expect 5 times more wind pressure than you the building, sounding like a freight train. In this age of electricity are accustomed to. This can be a great and possibly devastating it is easy to imagine many of the inconveniences that can be caused surprise. by a power failure in a multistory building. The high wind pressure actually can cause unpleasant motion Fire is an extra hazard in a high-rise building. Even recently of the building. It is worthwhile to check with current residents of constructed buildings seem to have difficulties. The television pic- a high-rise to find out if it has undesirable motion characteristics; tures of a woman leaping from the window of a burning building some have claimed that the swaying is great enough to cause in New Orleans rather than be incinerated in the blaze are a hor- motion sickness. More seriously, high winds can break windows, rible reminder from recent history. The number of hotel fires of damage property, and injure people. Tenants of severely damaged the past few years further demonstrates the problem. Fire Depart- buildings will have to relocate until repairs are made. ment equipment reaches only so high. And many areas along the Those who are interested in researching the subject further- coast are too sparsely populated to afford that particular type of even the knowledgeable engineer or architect who is engaged to high-reaching equipment. design a structure near the shore-should obtain a copy of Struc- Fire and smoke travel along ventilation ducts, elevator shafts, tural Failures: Modes, Causes, Responsibilities (reference 116, ap- corridors, and similar passages. The situation can be corrected pendix Q. Of particular importance is the chapter entitled, "Fail- and the building made safer, especially if it is new. Sprinkler sys- ure of Structures Due to Extreme Winds." This chapter analyzes tems should be operated by gravity water systems rather than by wind damage to engineered high-rise buildings from the storms at powered pumps (because of possible power failure), i.e., from Lubbock and Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1970. water tanks higher up in the building. Battery-operated emer- Another occurrence that affects a multistoried building more gency lights that come on only when the other lights fail, better seriously than a low-occupancy structure is a power failure or fire walls and automatic sealing doors, pressurized stairwells, and blackout. Such an occurrence is more likely along the coast than emergency elevators in pressurized shafts will contribute to greater inland because of the more severe weather conditions associated safety. Unfortunately, all of these improvements cost money, and 6. Building or buYing a house 163 that is why they are often omitted unless required by the building of the superstructure. Some of the high-rise buildings suffered code. glass damage in both windows and sliding glass doors. There are 2 interesting reports on damage caused by Hurricane Apparently few, if any, of the residences and buildings were Eloise, which struck the Florida Panhandle the morning of Sep- built to conform to the Southern Standard Building Code require- tember 23, 1975. One is by Herbert S. Saffir, a Florida consulting ments because much of the construction preceded the use of the engineer; the other is by Bryon Spangler of the University of code, so it was not legally applicable. If such requirements had Florida. The forward movement of the hurricane was unusually been met, much of the damage could have been prevented at a fast, causing its duration in a specific area to be lessened, thus minimum of cost. minimizing damage from both wind and tidal surge. The stillwater Some surprising things were noticed. In almost every case where height at Panama City was 16 feet above mean sea level, plus there was a swimming pool, considerable erosion occurred. Loss about a 3400t topping wave; wind gusts Of 154 mph for a period of sand beneath the walkways prior to the storm created a channel of one-half hour were measured. for the water to flow through and wash out more sand during the At least one-third of the older structures in the Panama City storm, which in turn increased both the velocity and quantity of Beach area collapsed. These were the beach-front motels, restaur- the flow of water in the channel. This flow ate away the sand ants, apartments and condominium complexes, and some perma- supporting adjacent structures, accelerating their failure. nent residences. The structures built on pilings survived with Slabs on grade (on the ground) performed poorly. Often wave minimal damage. In one case, part of a motel was on spread foot- action washed out the sand underneath the slab. When this oc- ings and part on piles. Only the part on spread footings was curred there was no longer support for the structure above it, and severely damaged. failure resulted. The anchorage systems, connections between concrete piles or The storm revealed some shoddy construction. Some builders concrete piers, and the grade beams under several high-rise build- had placed wire mesh for a slab directly on the sand. Then the ings were inadequate to resist uplift loads, illustrating that code concrete was poured on top of it, leaving the mesh below and in enforcement and proper inspection by a qualified professional is the sand where it served no structural purpose. To be effective, essential. the mesh should have been set on blocks or chairs, or pulled up Many of the residences and some of the buildings were built on into the slab during the pouring of the concrete. spread footings that failed because the sand they were resting on In some cases cantilevered slabs for overhangs were reinforced washed away with scour. Failure of the footings resulted in failure for the usual downward gravity loads. Unfortunately when waves 164 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore dashed against the buildings they splashed upward, imposing an turer to take shortcuts if he is so inclined. It is possible that some upward force against the slab for which it was not reinforced, modular dwelling units have their wiring, plumbing, ventilation, causing it to crack and fail. and heating and air conditioning installed at the factory by un- qualified personnel, and it is possible the resulting inferior work is Modular-unit construction: prefabricating the urban shore either not inspected or inspected by an unconscientious or inept individual. Therefore, it is important to consider the following: The method of building a house, duplex, or larger condominium Were wiring, plumbing, heating and air conditioning, and ventila- structure by fabricating modular units in a shop and assembling tion installed at the factory or at the building site? Were the in- them at the site is gaining in popularity for development on shore- stallers licensed and certified? Was the work inspected at both the line property. The larger of these structures are commonly 2 to 3 factory and on the construction site? stories in height and may contain a large number of living units. Most important, is the modular dwelling unit built to provide Modular construction makes good economic sense, and there is safety in the event of fire? For example, just a few of the many nothing inherently wrong in this approach to coastal construction. safety features that should be included are 2 or more exits, stairs These methods have been used in the manufacturing of mobile remote from each other, masonry fire walls between units, non- homes for years, although final assembly on mobile homes is done combustible wall sheeting, and compartmentalized units so that if in the shop rather than in the field. Doing as much of the work as fire does occur it will be confined to that unit. possible in a shop can save considerable labor and cost. The In general, it is very desirable to check the reputation and in- workers are not affected by outside weather conditions. They can tegrity of the manufacturer just as you would when hiring a con- be paid by piecework, enhancing their productivity. Shop work tractor to build your individual house on site. The acquisition of a lends itself to labor-saving equipment such as pneumatic nailing modular unit should be approached with the same caution as for guns and overhead cranes. other structures. If the manufacturer desires it, shop fabrication can permit higher The Standard Building Code, which is followed in most areas, quality. Inspection and control of the whole process are much easier. governs prefabricated structures. Prefabricated construction must For instance, there is less hesitation about rejecting a poor piece conform to the same regulations as other types of housing with of lumber when you have a nearby supply than if you are building some exceptions such as testing by a recognized testing laboratory. a single dwelling and have just so much lumber on the site. If you are thinking of buying a modularized dwelling unit, you On the other hand, because so much of the work is done out of are well advised to take the following steps: the sight of the buyer, there is the opportunity for the manufac- 6. Building or buying a house 165 Dune A. Pick a good building site. Ocean Anchor across ridge Members tied together B. Forces may come from any direction. C. Hotise should be well anchored to the ground. D. Structure should have continuity. tj) [email protected] 0 rEr) q fD F. Avoid irregular shapes. G. Wind has less effect on Hip roof is better th E an gable. curved surfaces than on flat. A HH, PLAN YOUR ESCAPE , @PLA [email protected] PE [email protected]@[email protected] ROUTE Fig. 6.16. Some rules for selecting or designing a house. 166 Living with the Alabama- M issi ssippi shore i. Check the reputation and integrity of the developer and manu- knows when to hold them, when to fold them, and when to walk facturer. away. 2. Check to see if the developer has a state contractor's license. Our goal is to provide guidance to today's and tomorrow's 3. Check the state law on who is required to approve and certify players. This book is not the last or by any means the complete the building. guide to coastal living, but it should provide a beginning. In the 4. Check what building codes are enforced. appendixes that follow are additional resources that we hope every 5. Check to see if the state fire marshal's office has indicated that reader will pursue. the dwelling unit complies with all applicable codes. Also check to see if this office makes periodic inspections. 6. Check to see that smoke alarms have been installed, if windows are the type that can be opened, if the bathroom has an exhaust fan, and if the kitchen has a vent through the roof. For the location of modular units, as with all other types of structures, also consider site safety and escape route(s). An unending game: only the players change Hurricane or calm, receding shore or growing shore, storm-surge flood or sunny sky, migrating dune or maritime forest, win or lose, the gamble of coastal development will continue. If you choose your site with natural safety in view, follow structural engineering design in construction, and take a generally prudent approach to living at the shore (fig. 6.16), then you become the gambler who Appendix A. Hurricane checklist -Board up or tape windows and glassed areas. Close storm shutters. Draw drapes and window blinds across windows and glass doors. Remove furniture in their vicinity. Keep this checklist handy for protection of family and property. Stock adequate supplies: - transistor radio - flashlights When a hurricane threatens - fresh batteries - candles - canned heat - matches - Listen for official weather reports. - hammer - nails - Read your newspaper and listen to radio and television for - boards - screwdriver official announcements. - pliers - ax* - Note the address of the nearest emergency shelter. - hunting knife - rope* - Know the official evacuation route in advance. - tape - plastic drop cloths, - Pregnant women, the ill, and the infirm should call a physician - first-aid kit waterproof bags, ties for advice. - prescribed medicines - containers for water - Be prepared to turn off gas, water, and electricity where it - water purification - disinfectant enters your home. tablets - canned food, juices, - Fill tubs and containers with water (one quart per person per - insect repellent soft drinks (see day). - gum, candy below) - Make sure your car's gas tank is full. - life jackets - hard-top headgear - Secure your boat. Use long lines to allow for rising water. - charcoal bucket and - fire extinguisher - Secure movable objects on your property: charcoal - can opener and - doors and gates - garbage cans - buckets of sand utensils - outdoor furniture - bicycles or large Check mobile-home tiedowns. - shutters sports equipment - garden tools - barbecues or grills *Take an ax (to cut an emergency escape opening) if you go to the upper - hoses - other floors or attic of your home. Take rope for escape to ground when water subsides. 168 Living with the Alabama-Mississippi shore Suggested storm food stock for family of four Assume other trapped people may wish to use the building for - two 13-Oz. cans evaporated milk shelter. - four 7-Oz. cans fruit juice Special precautions for mobile homes - 2 cans tuna, sardines, Spam, chicken - three io-oz. cans vegetable soup - Pack breakables in padded cartons and place on floor. - i small can of cocoa or Ovaltine - Remove bulbs, lamps, mirrors-put them in the bathtub. - one 15-oz. box raisins or prunes - Tape windows. - salt - Turn off water, propane gas, electricity. - pet food? - Disconnect sewer and water lines. -one I 4-Oz. can cream of wheat or oatmeal - Remove awnings. - one 8-oz. jar peanut butter or cheese spread - Leave. - two 16-oz. cans pork and beans Special precautions for businesses - one 2-oz. jar instant coffee or tea - 2 packages of crackers - Take photos of building and merchandise. - 2 pounds of sugar - Assemble insurance policies. - 2 quarts of water per person - Move merchandise away from plate glass. - Move merchandise to as high a location as possible. Special precautions for apartments Icondominiums - Cover merchandise with tarps or plastic. - Make one person the building captain to supervise storm - Remove outside display racks and loose signs. preparation. - Take out lower file drawers, wrap in trash bags, and store high. - Know your exits. - Sandbag spaces that may leak. - Count stairs on exits; you! 11 be evacuating in darkness. - Take special precautions with reactive or toxic chemicals. - Locate safest areas for occupants to congregate. - Close, lock, and tape windows. If you remain at home - Remove loose items from terraces (and from your absent neigh- bors' terraces). - Never remain in a mobile home; seek official shelter. - Remove or tie down loose objects from balconies or porches. - Stay indoors. Remember, the first calm may be the hurricane's eye. Remain indoors until an official all-clear is given. Appendix A. Hurricane checklist 169 - Stay on the "downwind" side of the house. Change your posi- - radio tion as the wind changes. - fresh batteries - If your house has an "inside" room, it may be the most secure - bottled water part of the structure. - purse, wallet, valuables - Keep continuous communications watch for official informa- - life jackets tion on radio and television. - games and amusements for children - Keep calm. Your ability to meet emergencies will help others. - Disconnect all electric appliances except refrigerator and freezer. Their controls should be turned to the coldest setting If evacuation is advised and the doors kept closed. - Leave food and water for pets. Seeing-eye dogs are the only - Leave as soon as you can. Follow official instructions only. animals allowed in the shelters. - Follow official evacuation routes unless those in authority direct - Shut off water at the main valve (where it enters your home). you to do otherwise. - Lock windows and doors. - Take these supplies: - Keep important papers with you: - change of warm, protective clothes - driver's license and other identification - first-aid kit - insurance policies - baby formula - property inventory - identification tags: include name, address, and - Medic Alert or other device to convey special medi- next of kin (wear them) cal information - flashlight - food, water, gum, candy During the hurricane - rope, hunting knife - waterproof bags and ties - Stay indoors and away from windows and glassed areas. - can opener and utensils - If you are advised to evacuate, do so at once. - disposable diapers - Listen for continuing weather bulletins and official reports. - special medicine - Use your telephone only in an emergency. - blankets and pillows in waterproof casings - Follow official instructions only. Ignore rumors. 170 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore - Keep open a window or door on the side of the house opposite - Should you require an additional supply, be sure to boil the storm winds. water for 30 minutes before use. - Beware of the "eye of the hurricane. A lull in the winds does - If you are unable to boil water, treat water you will need not necessarily mean that the storm has passed. Remain in- with water purification tablets. doors unless emergency repairs are necessary. Exercise caution. Note: An official announcement will proclaim tap water "safe.' Winds may resume suddenly, in the opposite direction and with Treat all water except stored water until you hear the announce- greater force than before. Remember, if wind direction does ment. change, the open window or door must be changed accordingly. - Be alert for rising water. After the hurricane has passed - If electric service is interrupted, note the time. - Turn off major appliances, especially air conditioners. - Listen for official word of danger having passed. - Do not disconnect refrigerators or freezers. Their controls - Watch out for loose or hanging power lines as well as gas leaks. should be turned to the coldest setting and doors closed People have survived storms only to be electrocuted or burned. to preserve food as long as possible. Fire protection may be nil because of broken power lines. - Keep away from fallen wires. Report location of such - Walk or drive carefully through the storm-damaged area. wires to the utility company. Streets will be dangerous because of debris, undermining by - If you detect gas: washout, and weakened bridges. Watch out for poisonous - Do not light matches or turn on electrical equipment. snakes and insects driven out by flood waters. - Extinguish all flames. - Eat nothing and drink nothing that has been touched by flood - Shut off gas supply at the meter.* waters. - Report gas service interruptions to the gas company. - Place spoiled food in plastic bags and tie securely. - Water: - Dispose of all mattresses, pillows, and cushions that have been The only safe water is the water you stored before it had in flood waters. a chance to come in contact with flood waters. - Contact relatives as soon as possible. *Gas should be turned back on only by a gas serviceman or licensed Note: If you are stranded, signal for help by waving a flashlight at plumber. night or white cloth during the day. Appendix B. A guide to federal, state, Aerial photography and remote-sensing imagery and local agencies involved in If you are interested in aerial photography, remote-sensing coastal development imagery, or agencies that supply aerial photographs or images, write or call the appropriate office listed below. For historic listings of available photography (type, scale, year flown, coverage, percentage of cloud cover, etc.) contact: National Cartographic Information Center U.S. Geological Survey Numerous agencies at all levels of government as well as in the 507 National Center private sector are engaged in planning, regulating, or studying Reston, VA 22092 coastal development in Alabama and Mississippi. Some of these Phone: (703) 86o-6o45 governmental agencies issue permits for various phases of con- Request "APSRS Aerial Photography Summary Record Sys- struction. Others provide information on development (or envi- tem: No. i /Alabama, Georgia" or "No. 3 /Arkansas, Louisiana, ronmental characteristics pertinent to development) to the home- Mississippi" and accompanying microfiche (price $2.00). owner, developer, or planner. Following is an alphabetical list of Recent aerial photography should be available from: topics related to coastal development; under each topic are the U.S. Department of Agriculture names of agencies to consult for information on that topic. Some Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service of these sources also provide similar information on noncoastal Aerial Photography Field Office areas. 2222 West, 2300 South Appendix C presents a list of references, some of which provide P.O. Box 30010 additional agency listings as well as basic information of interest Salt Lake City, UT 84125 to the coastal dweller. In particular, readers needing a more com- Phone: (8oi) 524-5856 plete list of federal and state agencies involved in coastal develop- Request "Status of Aerial Photography Coverage" for Alabama ment should get in touch with either the Alabama Department . of or Mississippi. Black-and-white vertical aerial photographs are Environmental Management or the Mississippi Bureau of Marine available for coastal counties. Resources. 172 Living with the Alabarna- M i ssissippi shore Gulf Coast residents are conveniently close to the Public Office Mississippi Coastal Program of the National Mapping Division, National Cartographic Infor- Bureau of Marine Resources mation Center of the U.S. Geological Survey. The facility will P.O. Box 959 provide assistance in finding aerial photographs, space imagery, as Long Beach, MS 3956o well as maps, map products, and geodetic control. The office is Phone: (6oi) 864-4602 located in the South Reception Center of the National Space Tech- Other sources that may be more conveniently located and that nology Laboratories (take NASA exits off Interstate Highways may have aerial photographs of your area available for inspection 1-io or 1-59). Contact: include the office of the tax assessor in your county, departments of National Mapping Division geography or geology in local colleges and universities, the Mobile U.S. Geological Survey Facility district office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Building 3101 following. National Space Technology Laboratories Geological Survey of Alabama NSTL Station, MS 39529 P.O. Drawer 0 Phone: (6oi) 688-3541 University, AL 35486 Offices that may have aerial photography available for inspec- Phone: (205) 349-2852 tion but are generally not suppliers of photographs include: Geological, Economic and Topographic Survey Alabama Department of Environmental Management P. 0. Box 4915 Field Office Jackson, MS 39216 4358 Midmost Drive Phone: (6oi) 354-6228 Mobile, AL 366og For information on satellite imagery and the National High Alti- Phone: (205) 343-7841 tude Photography Program, contact: Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs EROS Data Center 3465 Norman Bridge Road U.S. Geological Survey Montgomery, AL 36130 Sioux Falls, SD 57198 Phone: (205) 284-8700 Phone: (605) 594-6151 Archives and records Mississippi Coastal Program Appendix B. Guide to agencies 173 Historic information on coastal counties and possible sources Bureau of Marine Resources for historic maps and photographs are: P.O. Box 959 Long Beach, MS 3956o Department of Archives and History Phone: (6oi) 864-4602 Archives and History Building U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 624 Washington Avenue Mobile District Montgomery, AL 36130 P.O. BOX 2288 Phone: (205) 261-4361 Mobile, AL 36628 Department of Archives and History Phone: (205) 69o-2529 ioo South State Street Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium P.O. BOX 571 P.O. Drawer AG Jackson, MS 39205 Ocean Springs, MS 39564 Phone: (6oi) 354-6218 Phone: (6oi) 875-9341 Beach erosion Remote-Sensing /Topographic Division Information on beach erosion, pass history, floods, and high Geological Survey of Alabama winds is available from: P.O. Drawer 0 Alabama Department of Environmental Management University, AL 35486 State Capitol Phone: (205) 349-2852 Montgomery, AL 36130 Coastal Erosion Information System Phone: (205) 271-7700 or (field office, Mobile) 343-7841 Department of Environmental Sciences Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs University of Virginia 3465 Norman Bridge Road Charlottesville, VA 22903 Montgomery, AL 36130 (Summary of historic patterns of shoreline change along the Phone: (205) 284-8700 U.S. coasts prepared for National Atlas) 174 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore Bridges and causeways Civil Preparedness. See also Disaster assistance The U.S. Coast Guard has jurisdiction over the issuing of per- Director, Civil Defense Department mits to build bridges or causeways that will affect navigable waters. State Administrative Building. Information is available from: 64 North Union Street Bridge Administration Office Montgomery, AL 36130 8th U.S. Coast Guard District Phone: (205) 269-7787 Hale Boggs Federal Building Director, Mississippi Civil Defense Council New Orleans, LA 70120 P.O. Box 4501, Fondren Station Phone: (504) 589-2965 Jackson, MS 39216 Phone: (6oi) 354-7200 Building codes and zoning Baldwin County Civil Defense Counties or municipalities are responsible for such codes and P.O. Box 426 their enforcement. Generally the Standard Building Code (old 24 North Section Southern Building Code) is the basis for local codes. Some local Fairhope, AL 36532 governments add more stringent requirements and may have spe- Phone: (205) 928-7661 cial regulations on mobile homes. Those communities participat- Mobile County Emergency Agency ing in the National Flood Insurance Program will have elevation 348 North McGregor Avenue requirements in order to meet the specifications of the program. For the specific code in your area, contact the city or county build- Mobile, AL 366o8 ing inspector. Phone: (205) 46o-8ooo Alabama residents can find a listing of addresses and phone Jackson County Disaster Emergency Services numbers for city clerks, building inspectors, and planning commis- 6oo Convent Avenue sions in Building in the Coastal Counties (reference 88, appendix Pascagoula, MS 39567 C). Phone: (6oi) 769-79oo, ext. 200 or 210 Hancock County Civil Defense Old Spanish Trail Appendix B. Guide to agencies 175 Bay St. Louis, MS 39520 Alabama Department of Environmental Management Phone: (6oi) 467-9226 State Capitol Harrison County Civil Defense Montgomery, AL 36130 P.O. Box 68 Phone: (205) 271-7700 Gulfport, MS 39501 Alabama Department of Environmental Management Phone: (6oi) 865-4002 Field Office 4358 Midmost Dr. Coastal zone management Mobile, AL 366og In Alabama the coastal zone is managed through the permitting Phone: (205) 343-7841 authority of the Alabama Department of Environmental Manage- Mississippi Coastal Program ment, and in Mississippi by the equivalent authority of the Missis- Bureau of Marine Resources sippi Coastal Program through the Bureau of Marine Resources. P.O. Box 959 These agencies coordinate the permitting process with the U.S. Long Beach, MS 3956o Army Corps of Engineers and other state and federal offices that Phone: (6oi) 864-4602 have general regulatory authority in the coastal zone (for example, For additional information on management and planning write those dealing with fish and game, water and air quality, and the above offices or contact: resource development, including groundwater). In Alabama the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs Department of Economic and Community Affairs oversees non- 3465 Norman Bridge Road regulatory and nonpermitting activities for the coastal zone (for Montgomery, AL 36130 example, planning). Before undertaking any activity that will change the character Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management of the coastal zone land or waters (for example, construction, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration dredge and fill, well drilling, septic tank installation, water dis- U.S. Department of Commerce charge, and similar activities), contact these lead agencies for in- 3300 Whitehaven Street, N.W. structions on necessary permits and permit application. Washington, DC 20235 176 Living with the Alabama- M i ssissippi shore Consultants Dredging, filling, and construction in coastal waterways It is not appropriate for the authors of this publication to endorse State coastal zone management agencies and the U.S. Army any individual or firm as a recommended coastal or construction Corps of Engineers have permitting authority to regulate various consultant. We do encourage prospective buyers as well as owners activities in coastal waters and wetlands. The state agency usually of existing property to seek expert advice on safe housing con- coordinates permitting if more than i agency is involved, so before struction, selection of safe sites with respect to coastal hazards, engaging in any activity in these areas contact: and nonstructural techniques for maintaining beaches and dunes. Alabama Department of Environmental Management The offices listed in this appendix under other topics and the State Capitol offices of your local government are sources of advice on many of Montgomery, AL 36130 the problems you are likely to encounter. Your state colleges and Phone: (205) 271-7700, or call the Mobile field office for universities and their affiliated marine laboratories, particularly information (343-7841) those with coastal geologists and coastal engineers, may be valu- able sources of information. Conservation organizations such as Mississippi Coastal Program the National Audubon Society should not be overlooked. Such Bureau of Marine Resources agencies may be able to put you in touch with reputable consul- P.O. Box 959 tants. Long Beach, MS 3956o Phone: (6oi) 864-4602 Disaster assistance. See also Civil preparedness In some cases you will need a building permit. Contact your Federal Emergency Management Agency county or municipality building inspector's office and inquire if a Region IV Office permit is needed for your project. You also may need a permit 1375 Peachtree Street, N.E. from the state docks department. The offices listed above will be Atlanta, GA 30309 able to inform you of such requirements. Phone: (404) 881-2391 Federal law requires that any person who wishes to dredge, fill, American National Red Cross or place any structure in navigable water (almost any body of Disaster Services coastal water including bays, sounds, and estuaries) must apply Washington, DC 2ooo6 for a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Information Phone: (202) 857-3722 is available from: Appendix B. Guide to agencies 177 U.S. Army Engineer District, Mobile completed by a duly licensed surveyor of the State of Alabama, P.O. BOX 2288 showing the primary dune "crestline" and the location of the pro- Mobile, AL 36628 posed construction. This survey must be submitted to ADEM no Phone: (205) 6go-2529 more than go days before the permit application is filed. ADEM U.S. Army Engineer District, Vicksburg can grant variances to the setback requirement under special cir- P.O. Box 6o cumstances, however, "it shall be in violation of the Coastal Area Vicksburg, NIS 3918o Management Program to alter the primary dune system through Phone: (6oi) 634-5000 the removal of dune or beach sands and grasses, through the opera- tion of vehicles on the dune system, or any activity that could Both state and federal permit application reviews require lead result in the destruction of the dune" (reference 88, appendix C). time. You should expect action on such applications to take at Before engaging in any activity which may affect coastal sand least 45 days, and as long as 12o days. dunes contact: Dune alteration Alabama Department of Environmental Management Sand dunes are recognized as important natural protection State Capitol against storm waves and storm-surge flooding, as well as sand Montgomery, AL 36130 reservoirs for natural beach maintenance. Both Alabama and Phone: (205) 271-7700 Mississippi have regulations against dune alteration and removal, In Mississippi's coastal management program a criterion for although the wording of their coastal zone regulatory guidelines delineating Areas of Particular Concern (APCs) is the identifica- are different. tion of areas needed to protect, maintain, or replenish coastal lands Alabama generally requires preservation and restoration of or resources. Sand dunes and beaches are regarded as such areas dunes as part of the erosion control program. Any construction on and therefore fall under the state's permitting authority. Dune areas dunes requires a permit from the Alabama Department of Envi- are less common along the urbanized Mississippi coast, but before ronmental Management (ADEM). Construction is not permitted engaging in any construction on or alteration of dunes, contact: seaward of a "construction setback" line that is 40 feet intand of Mississippi Coastal Program the crestline of the primary dune. When applying to build in a Bureau of Marine Resources dunes area, the applicant must provide a survey of his property, P.O. Box 959 178 Living with the Alabama- M i ssi ssippi shore Long Beach, MS 3956o Flood insurance. See Insurance Phone: (6oi) 864-4602 Local communities also may have sand dune ordinances in addi- Geologic information tion to the state law. Contact your local municipal and county Branch of Distribution planning offices. U.S. Geological Survey 1200 South Eads Street Environmental affairs Arlington, VA 22202 Administrator (Request "Geologic and water-supply reports and maps, I Environmental Protection Agency Alabama ,' or the same title for Mississippi; free index) 401 M Street, S.W. U.S. Geological Survey Washington, DC 2o46o Southeastern Region Phone: (202) 755-2673 Richard B. Russell Federal Building, Suite 772 EPA Region 4 Office 75 Spring Street, S.W. 1421 Peachtree Street, N.E. Atlanta, GA 30309 Atlanta, GA 30309 Gulf Coast Hydroscience Center Phone: (404) 526-5727 National Space Technology Laboratories Environmental Health Administration Bay St. Louis, MS 39529 Department of Public Health Geological Survey of Alabama State Office Building P.O. Drawer 0 5oi Dexter Avenue University, AL 35486 Montgomery, AL 36130 Phone: (205) 349-2852 Phone: (205) 261-5004 Geological, Economic, and Topographic Survey Air and Water Pollution Control Commission 2525 North West Street Robert E. Lee Building P.O. Box 4915 Jackson, MS 39201 Jackson, MS 39216 Phone: (6oi) 354-6783 Phone: (6oi) 354-6228 Appendix B. Guide to agencies 179 Gulf Coast Research Laboratory Natural Hazards Research and Ocean Springs, MS 39564 Applications Information Center Phone: (6oi) 875-9341 Institute of Behavioral Science #6 Department of Geology Campus Box 482 University of Alabama University of Colorado University, AL 35486 Boulder, CO 80309 Phone: (205),348-5095 Health. See also Sanitation and septic system permits Department of Geology and Geography The local health department in your city and/or county will University of South Alabama provide information on home waste treatment systems, require- Mobile, AL 36688 ments for hookups to municipal systems, water supply systems, Phone: (205) 46o-638i and similar health matters. Questions relating to water quality Department of Geology and Geological Engineering may be addressed to these offices, or: University of Mississippi Environmental Health Administration University, MS 38677 Department of Public Health Phone: (6oi) 232-7498 State Office Building Department of Geology and Geography 5oi Dexter Avenue Mississippi State University Montgomery, AL 36130 Mississippi State, MS 39762 Phone: (205) 261-5004 Phone: (6oi) 325-5926 Air and Water Pollution Control Commission Robert E. Lee Building Hazards. See Beach erosion and Insurance Jackson, MS 39201 Office of Ocean and Coastal Resources Management Phone: (6oi) 354-6783 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration History. See Archives and records 3300 Whitehaven Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20235 Housing. See Subdivisions 180 Living with the Alabarna- Mississippi shore Hurricane information. See Civil preparedness Environmental Data Service The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is the National Climatic Center best agency from which to request information on hurricanes. Federal Building NOAA Storm-Evacuation Maps are prepared for vulnerable areas Asheville, NC 288oi and Cost $2.oo each. Alabama-Mississippi maps are as follows: The weather departments of your local television and radio sta- T1500I Slidell (Louisiana to southwest Mississippi coast) tions and U.S. Coast Guard offices will provide forecast informa- T15002 Gulfport (Lakeshore-Waveland to Mississippi City) tion, and sometimes provide informational literature. We recom- T15003 Biloxi (Edgewater Park to Pascagoula) mend the free brochure "Hurricane Survival Checklist" available T15004 Bayou La Batre (Point aux Chenes to Fort Morgan from the Insurance Information Institute (see reference 13, ap- including Dauphin Island and southwest Mobile Bay) pendix C; see also appendix A). T15005 Mobile (upper Mobile Bay, north of Fairhope) County Civil Defense offices are the local coordinating agencies Maps for the southeastern part of Mobile Bay and the adjacent for defining evacuation routes. Check with your county's office for Fort Morgan Peninsula-Gulf Shores-Perdido Key are not yet information (addresses listed under Civil preparedness in this available. To obtain the map(s) for your area of interest, call or appendix). write: Insurance Distribution Division (C-44) Information on windstorm insurance can be obtained through National Ocean Survey your insurance agent. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Flood insurance is available in communities that participate in Riverdale, MD 2o840 the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). These commu- Phone: (301) 436-699o nities have adopted special building requirements for construction Other federal sources include: in flood-prone areas. By complying with these local regulations, National Hurricane Center property owners also will ensure that flood insurance premiums 1320 South Dixie Highway are affordable. Miami, FL 33146 For information on obtaining flood insurance, contact your insurance agent. Further information is available by calling, toll free, i -8oo-638-6620, or by writing: Appendix B. Guide to agencies 181 National Flood Insurance Program Your insurance agent and community building inspector should Federal Emergency Management Agency be able to provide you with information on the location of your Federal Insurance Administration building site on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or Flood Washington, DC 20472 Hazard Boundary Map (FHBM), as well as the required elevation For flood insurance maps, elevation certificates, and other forms, for the first floor of your structure. write: Note that a flood insurance policy under the National Flood Insurance Program is separate from your regular homeowner's National Flood Insurance insurance policy. P.O. Box 34604 Bethesda, MD 2o817 Land acquisition For information on community participation, building require- When acquiring property or a condominium -whether in a sub- ments, and floodplain mapping, contact your local building or division or not-consider the following: (i) Owners of property zoning department or: next to dredged canals should make sure that the canals are de- FEMA Region IV signed for adequate flushing to keep the waters from becoming 1375 Peachtree Street, N.E. stagnant. (2) Descriptions and surveys of land in coastal areas are Atlanta, GA 30309 often complicated. Old titles to lands along the waterline may be Phone: (404) 881-2391 upheld in court; titles should be carefully reviewed by a competent attorney before they are transferred. A boundary described as the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs high-water mark may be impossible to determine. (3) Ask about 3465 Norman Bridge Road the provision of services such as sewage disposal, garbage pickup, Montgomery, AL 36130 fire protection, and utilities including water supply, electricity, gas, Phone: (205) 284-8700 and telephone. (4) Be sure that any promises of future improve- Mississippi Research and Development Center ments, access, utilities, additions, common property rights, main- P.O. Drawer 2470 tenance, and similar services, are in writing. (5) Find out who will Jackson, MS 39205 bear the costs of future erosion control, post-storm cleanup and Phone: (6oi) 982-6376 reconstruction, and restoration of roads, bridges, and all services. (6) Be sure to visit the property and inspect it carefully before 182 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore buying it (see the following sections on Planning and land use and Flood-zone maps: see Insurance. Subdivisions). Planning maps: call or write your local county commission. Maps Soil maps and septic suitability: see Soils. Nautical charts in several scales contain navigation information A wide variety of maps are useful to planners and managers on Gulf coastal waters. A nautical chart index map is available and may be of interest to individual property owners. Topographic, from: geologic, coastal zone (topobathy), land-use maps, and orthophoto National Ocean Survey quadrangles are available from: Distribution Division (C-44) Distribution Section National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration U.S. Geological Survey 65oi Lafayette Avenue 1200 South Eads Street Riverdale, MD 2o840 Arlington, VA 22202 Phone: (301) 436-699o A free index to the type of map desired (for example, the "Index There also is the Geological Highway Map of the Southeastern to Topographic Maps of Alabama") should be requested and then Region, compiled by A. P. Bennison and others, and published by used for ordering specific maps. Similar maps are available from: the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. Although this Geological Survey of Alabama map is not aimed specifically at the coast, it provides the layman P.O. Drawer 0 with a sernitechnical treatment of the regional geology of the Gulf University, AL 35486 Coast. In addition to the map, there is a discussion of the geo- Phone: (205) 349-2852 logical development of the region and its rock and mineral re- Geological, Economic, and Topographic Survey sources, a photographic map, subsurface cross sections, descrip- 2525 North West Street tions of gemstones and fossils, and a list of points of geologic P.O. Box 4915 interest. Available from: Jackson, MS 39216 American Association of Petroleum Geologists Phone: (6oi) 349-2852 P.O. Box 979 Evacuation maps: Call your County Department of Emergency Tulsa, OK 74101 Preparedness (also see Hurricane information). Appendix B. Guide to agencies 183 Contact the Alabama or Mississippi state highway departments Marine Environmental Sciences Consortium for county road maps: Dauphin Island Sea Lab Alabama Highway Department P.O. Box 369-370 State Highway Building Dauphin Island, AL 36528 i i South Union Street Phone: (205) 861 -2141 Montgomery, AL 36130 J. L. Scott Marine Education Center Phone: (205) 832-5440 165o East Beach Boulevard Mississippi Highway Department Biloxi, MS 39530 1004 Woolfolk State Office Building Phone: (6oi) 374-5552 5oi North West Street Information Jackson, MS 39201 Gulf Coast Research Laboratory Phone: (6oi) 354-6034 Ocean Springs, NIS 39564 Marine and coastal zone information Phone: (6oi) 875-2244 In addition to the government agencies listed by topic in this Mississippi Sand Hill Crane Refuge appendix, many private agencies, laboratories, and educational P.O. Box 699 institutions are valuable sources for reports, descriptive pamphlets, Gauthier, MS 39553 contacts for having questions answered, and sponsors of coastal Gulf Islands National Seashore programs including lectures, seminars, and film series. The follow- 4ooo Hanley Road ing list is not meant to be complete but suggests the range of Ocean Springs, MS 39564 possibilities: Phone: (6oi) 875-9057 Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Program Marine Resources Division Caylor Building Alabama Department of Conservation Gulf Coast Research Laboratory and Natural Resources Ocean Springs, MS 39564 P.O. Box 189 Phone: (6oi) 875-9341 Dauphin Island, AL 36528 Phone: (205) 861-2882 184 Living with the Alabarna- Mississippi shore Mariculture Center the Massachusetts coast, the theme of the film is pertinent to the P.O. Drawer 458 Gulf Coast. Available from Circle Oak Productions, 73 Girdle Gulf Shores, AL 36542 Ridge Drive, Katonah, NY 10536 (phone: (94) 232-9451; rental, Phone: (205) 968-7575 $48.oo). ADEM Field Office Coastal Follies is a 20-minute slide-tape presentation that exam- 4358 Midmost Drive ines the problems of coastal development and offers some guide- Mobile, AL 366og lines to developers and planners as well as current and prospective Phone: (205) 343-7841 property owners. Available from the National Audubon Society, Bureau of Marine Resources Southeast Regional Office, P.O. Box 1268, Charleston, SC 29402 P.O. Box 959 (rental, $30-00). Long Beach, MS 3956o Information on audiovisual materials also is available from: Phone: (6oi) 864-4602 Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium Caylor Building Movies and audiovisual materials Gulf Coast Research Laboratory [email protected] Your Coast is a 28-minute film produced by the National Ocean Springs, MS 39564 Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on coastal Phone: (6oi) 875-9341 zone management problems. The film is available through NOAA Educational programs including film schedules are available at: and state film libraries or from the Marine Advisory Program, J. L. Scott Marine Education Center University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611. Other NOAA films 165o East Beach Boulevard of interest include Tornadoes, Hurricane Before the Storm (a film Biloxi, MS 39530 centered on Hurricane Eloise), and The Greatest Storm on Earth Phone: (6oz) 374-5552 (the problem of the next big hurricane). Portrait of a Coast is an excellent, 29-minute film that addresses Barrier Islands and Beaches is a slide-tape program that de- the interrelated problems of rising sea level, coastal erosion, and scribes many aspects of barrier islands from Massachusetts to shoreline stabilization. Although the examples are from the At- Texas. The program can be purchased for $250 from Dinesh lantic Coast, including dramatic footage of a major storm striking Sharma, 275o Rhode Island Avenue, Fort Myers, FL 33901. Appendix B. Guide to agencies 185 Parks and recreation Fort Morgan is located 22 miles west of Gulf Shores on Mobile Gulf Islands National Seashore, Mississippi-Florida, includes Point at the entrance to Mobile Bay. The fort was completed in all of the Mississippi barrier islands, except Cat Island, and a 1834 and was an important fortification during the War Between small mainland area on Davis Bayou, Mississippi (park headquar- the States. For information, contact: ters). West Ship Island and historic Fort Massachusetts are acces- Alabama Historical Commission sible on scheduled concession boats that run out of Gulfport and 725 Monroe Street Biloxi (no camping on West Ship Island; nice public beach with Montgomery, AL 36130 lifeguards). East Ship Island, Horn Island, and Petit Bois Island Fort Morgan can be reached only by private or charter boat. Primitive camping Star Route 278o is permitted on these islands. For information on recreational use Gulf Shores, AL 36542 of the islands, contact or visit: Phone: (205) 540-7125 Gulf Islands National Seashore 4ooo Hanley Road Planning and land use. See also Coastal zone management Ocean Springs, MS 39564 For specific information on your area, check with your local Phone: (6oi) 875-9057 town or county commission. Most local governments have plan- Information on state parks is available from: ning boards that answer to the state coastal agencies and have available copies of existing or proposed land-use plans. For more Division of State Parks general information, contact: Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Department of Economic and Community Affairs Administration Building 64 North Union Street 3465 Norman Bridge Road Montgomery, AL 36130 Montgomery, AL 36130 Phone: (205) 832-6323 Phone: (205) 284-8700 Park Commission Federal-State Programs 717 Robert E. Lee Building Office of the Governor Jackson, MS 39201 400 Watkins Building Phone: (6oi) 354-6324 5io George Street 186 Living with the Alabarna- Mississippi shore Jackson, MS 39201 you will need a well. Check with your county health department Phone: (6oi) 354-7570 to determine the quality of the local groundwater. Make sure that Roads and property access the design and location of your septic system will safeguard your water supply. Before buying property determine if roads and access rights will Activity resulting in effluent discharge or runoff into surface be provided. If connecting a driveway to county or state main- waters requires certification from the state water pollution control tained right-of-way, you should contact the appropriate county or agency that the proposed activity will not violate water quality state office before construction. standards. For information contact: Alabama Highway Department Alabama Department of Environmental Management State Highway Building State Capitol ii South Union Street Montgomery, AL 36130 Montgomery, AL 36130 Phone: (205) 271-7700 Phone: (2o5) 832-5440 Mississippi Coastal Program Mississippi Highway Department Bureau of Marine Resources 1004 Woolfolk State Office Building P.0 Box 959 501 North West Street Long Beach, MS 3956o Jackson, MS 39201 Phone: (6oi) 864-4602 Phone: (6oi) 354-6034 A permit for the construction of a sewage disposal system or Sanitation and septic system permits any other structure in navigable waters must be obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as well as the state. More informa- Usually before construction permits will be issued, the permit tion is available from: for a septic system (where there is not access to a sewer system must be obtained from your local health department. Such a per- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers mit is issued only if the soil is suitable for the septic system. Old Mobile District marsh muds and peaty soils are usually unsuitable. Likewise, if Mobile, AL 36628 your property does not have access to a municipal water system, Phone: (205) 6go-2529 Appendix B. Guide to agencies 187 A permit for any discharge into navigable waters must be ob- U.S. Department of Agriculture tained from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Recent Soil Conservation Service judicial interpretation of the Federal Water Pollution Control Milner Building, Room 590 Amendments Of 1972 extends federal jurisdiction above the mean P.O. Box 61o high-water mark for protection of wetland. Federal permits may Jackson, MS 39205 now be required for the development of land that occasionally is State Extension Office flooded by water draining indirectly into a navigable waterway. (see white pages of your telephone directory) Information may be obtained from: Soil and Water Conservation District Office Enforcement Division (see white pages of your telephone directory) Environmental Protection Agency Your community or county health department usually can pro- Region IV vide information on soils relative to construction and septic per- 1421 Peachtree Street, N.E. mits or refer you to another agency for specific soil information. Atlanta, GA 30309 Soils. See also Sanitation and septic system permits and Vegetation Subdivisions Soil type is important in terms of (i) the type of vegetation it Subdivisions containing more than 50 lots and offered in inter- can support, (2) the type of construction technique it can with- state commerce must be registered with the Office of Interstate stand (for example, loading, support of piling), (3) its drainage Land Sales Registration (as specified by the Interstate Land Sales characteristics, and (4) its ability to accommodate septic systems. Full Disclosure Act). Prospective buyers must be provided with a The following agencies cooperate to produce a variety of maps property report. This office also produces a booklet entitled "Get and reports useful to property owners: the Facts ... Before Buying Land" for people who wish to invest U.S. Department of Agriculture in land. Information on subdivision property and land investment Soil Conservation Service is available from: 138 South Gay Street, Wright Building Office of Interstate Land Sales Registration P.O. Box 311 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Auburn, AL 36830 Washington, DC 20410 188 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore Office of Interstate Land Sales Registration Game and Fish Commission Atlanta Regional Office 308 Robert E. Lee Building U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Jackson, MS 39201 230 Peachtree Street, N.W. Phone: (6oi) 354-7333 Atlanta, GA 30303 The following research laboratory works on sanitation of oyster Phone: (404) 526-4364 reefs, shellfish, and finfish. They will provide information on oyster Vegetation reefs and sanitary conditions in coastal areas. Information on vegetation may be obtained from your local soil Gulf Coast Technical Services Unit and water conservation district office. For information on the use Food and Drug Administration of grass and other plantings for stabilization and aesthetics, con- P.O. Box 158 sult the publications listed in appendix C under Vegetation. Dauphin Island, AL 36528 Phone: (205) 861-2961 Water resources. See Coastal zone management, Dredging, filling, Zoning. See Building codes and construction in coastal waterways, Health, and Sanitation Wildlife Mississippi Sand Hill Crane Refuge P.O. Box 699 Gauthier, MS 39553 Division of Fish and Game Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Administrative Building 64 North Union Street Montgomery, AL 36130 Phone: (2o5) 832-6300 Appendix C. Useful references 4. Concise Natural History of East and West Florida, by Ber- nard Romans, 1775. This very early history includes accounts of hurricanes. Reprinted in 1961 by Pelican Publishing Com- The following publications are listed by subject, arranged in the pany, New Orleans. approximate order that they appear in the preceding chapters. A 5. Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, Celebrating too Years of Incor- brief description of each reference is provided, and sources are poration, sponsored by the Bay St. Louis Centennial Cor- included for those readers who would like more information on a poration, 1958. This community publication includes some particular subject. Many of the references listed are either low in interesting accounts of early coastal history in Mississippi and cost or free. We encourage the reader to take advantage of these photographs of the destruction caused by hurricanes in igog, informative publications. 1915, and 1947. Out of print, but copies should be available History from Bay St. Louis and Hancock County Library. i .Alabama: A Documentary History to igoo, by Lucille Grif- Hurricanes fith, 1972. This volume provides a good introduction to the exploration of the Gulf Coast. Published by the University of 6. Early American Hurricanes, 1492-1870, by D. M. Ludlum, Alabama Press, University, AL 35486 1963. An excellent summary of the stormy history of the At- 2. Dauphin Island-French Possession, 1699-1763, 2nd edi- lantic and Gulf coasts that provides a lesson on the frequency, tion, by J. M. Kennedy, ig8o. This short history presents an intensity, and destructive potential of hurricanes. Published by the American Meteorological Society, Boston. Available interesting account of the French occupation of Dauphin Is- in public and university libraries. land as well as the entire Alabama-Mississippi coastal zone, including incursions up the rivers. Published by Strode Pub- 7. Hurricane Frederic Post-Disaster Report, by the U.S. Army lishers, Inc., Huntsville, AL 35801. Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, 1981. This publication 3- History of Louisiana, by C. E. A. Gayarre, 1905. This early contains a great deal of information concerning the physical, history text is a good source for map review in looking social, and economic effects of Hurricane Frederic on the at coastal changes and includes accounts of hurricanes. Re- Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida coasts. A series of maps printed in 1965 by Pelican Publishing Company, New Orleans. shows the areas flooded by storm tides. Anyone contemplat- ing buying property in the coastal zone should review this 190 Living with the Alabama-Mississippi shore publication. Copies are available through the U.S. Army 11. The Hurricane and Its Impact, by R. H. Simpson and H. Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, P.O. BOX 2288, Mobile, Riehl, 198 1. An up-to-date treatment of the greatest of coastal AL 36628. Local planning offices also may have copies for hazards. Chapters include discussions of origin, impact of inspection. winds, waves, and tides, assessment and risk reduction, 8. Natural Disaster Survey Report- Hurricane Frederic: Au- awareness and preparedness, prediction and warning, plus gust 29-September 13, 1979, produced by the National informative appendixes. The volume should be in libraries of Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This NOAA re- coastal communities. Published by Louisiana State University port summarizes the findings of a survey team that came into Press, Baton Rouge, LA 7o8O3. the area affected by Hurricane Frederic immediately after it 12. Hurricane Frederic, edited by Hal Barron, 1979. A magazine crossed the coast. Their objective was to determine how the format photographic essay on the destruction caused by Fred- warning system worked. A brief history of the hurricane's eric in Mobile, Ocean Springs, Pascagoula, Pensacola, and formation and movement is included. The report probably along the Dauphin Island Parkway. Although severe damage had limited distribution, but local planning and emergency is depicted, there are no photographs of the terrible destruc- services offices may have inspection copies. tion that occurred in Alabama7s shoreline communities, such 9. Hurricane Information and Atlantic Tracking Chart, by the as on Dauphin Island and Gulf Shores. The magazine in- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 1974. A cludes a good description of hurricanes, including an account brochure that describes hurricanes, defines terms, and lists of the Galveston Hurricane of i goo that killed at least 6,ooo hurricane safety rules. Outlines method of tracing hurricanes people. Available from C. F. Boone, Publisher, P.O. Box and provides a tracking map. Available from the Superinten- 10411, Lubbock, TX 794o8 (price: $3.95 postpaid). dent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Wash- 13. Hurricane Survival Checklist is a free publication available ington, DC 20402. from the Insurance Information Institute. Call 1-800-221- io. Bibliography on Hurricanes and Severe Storms ofthe Coast- 4954 or send a self-addressed, stamped business-sized en- al Plains Region and Supplement, by the Coastal Plains velope to Publications Service Center, Insurance Information Center for Marine Development Services, 197o and 1972. A Institute, i i o William Street, New York, NY 10038. list of references that provides a good starting point for peo- 14. Some Climatological Characteristics of Hurricanes and ple seeking detailed information on hurricanes and hurricane Tropical Storms, Gulf and East Coasts of the U.S., by the research. Available through college and university libraries. Appendix C. Useful references 191 National Weather Service, 1975. Technical Report NWS 15 guidebook was prepared for the New Orleans Geological from NWS, NOAA, Washington, D.C. Society and in part is an update of a similar 1973 guidebook, 15. Report on Hurricane Survey of Mississippi Coast, by the Geology of the Mississippi-Alabama CoastalArea and Near- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, 1965. The shore Zone. These guides may be used as an introduction to report provides a good summary of hurricanes that have had the geology of the region, but there also are sections on human an impact on the Mississippi coast, including damage sum- geography, early history of the region, and historical coastal maries. Appendix A is a chronological history of Mississippi changes. The 66-page guidebook is available from the Gulf hurricanes from 1711 through 1964's Hurricane Hilda. In the Coast Research Laboratory Bookstore, East Beach Drive, 254-year period covered, there were 54 hurricanes, for an Ocean Springs, MS 39564 (price: $5.00). average of i hurricane every 4.7 years. The report is available 18. Bibliographyof CoastalAlabama with Selected Annotations, for inspection in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile by R. L. Lipp and R. L. Chermock, 1975. A good biblio- District Office, Mobile, AL 366oi. graphical starting point for references on the Alabama coastal 16. The following are a sampling of additional hurricane-related zone. Available as Alabama Geological Survey Bulletin io8 reports produced by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, from the Geological Survey of Alabama, P.O. Drawer 0, Mobile District, and available through that office: After University, AL 35486. Action Report on Hurricane Camille, 1970; Hurricane Ca- 19. Mississippi Sound: Salinity Distribution and Indicated Flow mille, 1970; Report on Hurricane Survey of Alabama Coast, Patterns and Hydrodynamics of Mobile Bay and Mississippi 1972; Report on Hurricane Survey of Mississippi Coast, Sound are just 2 of many titles dealing with the oceanography 1972; Post-Disaster Report, Hurricane Eloise, 16-23 Sep- of coastal waters that are available from the Mississippi- tember, 1975,1976; and Feasibility Reportfor Beach Erosion Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, Caylor Building, Gulf Coast Control and Hurricane Protection- Mobile County, AL, Research Laboratory, Ocean Springs, MS 39564. Write for 1978 (includes Dauphin Island). their free list of publications, or call (6oi) 875-9341. Geology and oceanography 2o. Guide to the Marine Resources of Mississippi, edited by Bobby Irby and Della McCaughan, 1975. This 356-page 17. Coastal Geology of Mississippi, Alabama, and Adjacent volume brings together a wide range of information on the Louisiana Areas, by Ervin Otvos, Jr., 1982. This technical Mississippi Gulf Coast. Topics range from history through the 192 Living with the Alabarna- Mississippi shore sciences of geology, oceanography, biology, and ecology. Re- Barrier islands and shoreline evolution sources are reviewed, followed by a description of many relevant institutions and their programs, including regulatory 22. Barrier Island Formation through Nearshore Aggradation- agencies with addresses and phone numbers. This book is Stratigraphic and Field Evidence, by Ervin Otvos, 198 1. This entertaining as well as informative; we recommend it to all technical paper outlining the origin and history of the eastern Mississippi citizens, especially coastal residents, and visitors. Gulf Coast barrier islands is recommended to serious students The guide is available from Schools Textbook Supply, P.O. of coastal evolution. Published in Marine Geology, Vol. 43, Box 771, Jackson, MS 39202, or check with your local book- PP. 145-243. Thisjournal is likely to be found only in college, store (price: $16.oo). university, and research libraries. 21. Symposium on the Natural Resources of the Mobile Estuary, 23. Geologic Evolution of the Mississippi Sound Area, Missis- Alabama, edited by Harold Loyacano, Jr., and J. Paul Smith, sippi-Alabama; A Brief Account, by Ervin Otvos, 1982. 1979. Sponsored by the Alabama Coastal Area Board, Mis- Together with the previous reference, this paper provides an sissippi-Alabarna Sea Grant Consortium, and the U.S. Fish outline of the geologic evolution of the coast, bays, sounds, and Wildlife Service, this collection of technical papers treats and islands. Published in the "Mississippi Sound Symposium a wide range of topics from bay sediments and their chemistry, Proceedings," Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, to hydrography and circulation in the bay, to pollution. Dis- Caylor Building, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Ocean cussion of the living resources includes marshes, grasses, Springs, MS 39564. zooplankton, benthos, fish, oyster, crab, and shrimp fishenies, 24. The Offshore Barrier Islands of Mississippi and Alabama, as well as waterfowl and mammals, and recommendations for published by the Marine Education Center, Biloxi, MS. This management. Available through the sponsoring agencies. concise outline gives the origin and some history of these Numerous reports on the geology of the states and the barrier islands, including a map that shows how the islands are oceanography of the adjacent bays, sounds, and Gulf are migrating to the west. Free as Marine Educational Leaflet No. available from the Alabama and Mississippi Geological Sur- 9 at the center, or request a copy from the Public Information veys and various marine laboratories. See appendix B for Office, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Ocean Springs, MS addresses. 39564. Appendix C. Useful references 193 25. Barrier Island Handbook, by Steve Leatherman, 1982. A perts. Topics include island ecosystems, ecology, geology, nontechnical, easy-to-read paperback about barrier island politics, and planning. Good bibliographical source for those dynamics and coastal hazards. Many of the examples are studying barrier islands. Available from the Publications from the Maryland and New England coasts but are appli- Department, Conservation Foundation, 1717 Massachusetts cable to the Gulf Coast as well. Available from various Na- Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20036 (price: $4-oo). Re- tional Seashores or by mail from Coastal Publications, 5201 quest the foundation' s free list of publications. Burke Drive, Charlotte, NC 282o8 (price: $5.75 postpaid). Beaches 26. Barrier Islandsftom the Gut(of St. Lawrence to the Gulf of 29. Waves and Beaches, by Willard Bascom, 1964. A discussion Mexico, edited by Steve Leatherman, 1979. This collection of of beaches and coastal processes. Published by Anchor Books, technical papers presents some of the current geological re- Doubleday and Co., Garden City, NY 1153o. Available in search on barrier islands. Of particular interest to students of paperback from local bookstores. Gulf Coast barrier islands is the paper by Ervin Otvos en- titled, "Barrier Island Evolution and History of Migration, 3o. Beaches and Coasts, 2nd edition, by C. A. M. King, 1972. North Central Gulf Coast .' Published by Academic Press and Classic treatment of beach and coastal processes. Published available through most college and university libraries. by St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 27. Barrier Island Genesis: Evidencefrom the Central Atlantic 100io. Shelf, by Don Swift, 1975. Technical discussion of the origin 31. Beach Processes and Sedimentation by Paul Komar, 1976. of Atlantic Coast barrier islands and their migration due to a The most up-to-date technical explanations of beaches and rising sea level. Published in Sedimentary Geology, vOl. 14, beach processes. Recommended only to serious students of PP. 1 -43, a journal likely to be found only in major college the beach. Published by Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ and university libraries. 07632. 28. Barrier Islands and Beaches, 1976. Proceedings of the May 32. LandAgainst the Sea, bythe U.S. Army Corps ofEngineers, 1976 barrier islands workshop, this is a collection of technical 1964. Readable introduction to coastal geology and shoreline papers prepared by scientists studying islands. Provides an processes. However, the authoes belief in the value of certain up-to-date, readable overview of barrier islands. Comprehen- engineering methods is either outdated or unsubstantiated. sive coverage from aesthetics to flood insurance by the ex- Available as Miscellaneous Paper No. 4-64 from the U.S. 194 Living with the Alabama- M i ssi ssippi shore Army Corps of Engineers, Coastal Engineering Research lined in a nontechnical presentation. Available through your Center, Kingman Building, Fort Belvoir, VA 22o6o. local bookstore or from Time-Life Books, 541 North Fair- 33. Barrier Beach Development: A Perspective on the Problem, banks Court, Chicago, IL 6o6ii (price: $12-95). by S. P. Leatherman, 198 1. This article in Shore and Beach 37. First Aidfor Damaged Beaches and Dunes, by Judy Stout, magazine (VOI. 49, no. 2, pp. 2-9) is an excellent statement of ig8o. A short guide to actions that may be taken to combat the problems of building in the coastal zone. The brief, non- short-term erosion. Available from the Alabama Cooperative technical discussion includes an outline of the federal gov- Extension Service, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36830 ernmenf s role and offers recommendations. (request MASGP-80-003-02). 34. Beaches and Dunes vs. Off Road Vehicles, by R. D. Donohoe Coastal environments and J. P. Hess, 198 1. This pamphlet briefly relates the impor- tance of dunes, vegetation, and beaches to the stability of 38. Alabama Coastal Region Ecological Characterization, by P. coastal sites. Alabama's legislation concerning the use of O'Neil, M. F. Mettee, J. H. Friend, and others, 1982. A 3- vehicles on the dunes and beaches is outlined. Available from volume set that contains detailed summary information on the the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, Auburn Uni- coastal ecosystem. Volume i is a Coastal Bibliography, while versity, Auburn, AL 36830 (request MASGP-8o-oo6-4). volume 2, A Synthesis of Environmental Data, contains 35. The Encyclopedia of Beaches and Coastal Environments, detailed descriptions of geology, geography, hydrology, cli- mate, biology, and conceptual models of coastal ecosystems. edited by M. L. Schwartz, 1982. This is a good source book The geology section identifies areas of coastal erosion and for information and answers to coastal questions, but it is an accretion. Volume 3, A Socioeconomic Study, concentrates expensive text and is aimed at the more serious student of the on social, demographic, and economic factors at work in the coast. Published by Hutchinson Ross, Stroudsburg, PA 1836o, Alabama coastal region, These 3 lengthy reports are available and available through most college and university libraries. as Information Series Nos. 6o, 61, and 62 from Publication 36. Edge of the Sea, by Russell Sackett, 1983. This volume in the Sales, Geological Survey of Alabama, P.O. Drawer 0, Uni- Time-Life Planet Earth Series outlines the importance and versity, AL 35486. fragility of beaches and barrier systems. Coastal processes, 39. Delineation of Ecological Critical Areas in the Alabama the buffer-zone effect, the significance of coastal breeding Coastal Zone, by Barry Vittor and Judy Stout, 1975. This grounds, and human impact on these environments are out- report provides a good summary of coastal environments Appendix C. Useful references 195 (habitats) in terms of descriptions and distribution. Appendix sortium. Inspection copies are available in the consortium7s B of the report is the "Atlas of the Ecological Habitats of offices in Ocean Springs, Mississippi (phone: [6oi] 875-934 0, Coastal Alabama.' The study was published as Report No. and on Dauphin Island, Alabama (phone: [205] 861-2141), 75-oo2 by the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Dauphin Island, AL or these offices can inform you where a copy of the report is 36528. available in your area. 40. Inventory of Alabama's Coastal Resources and Uses, by the 42. Cooperative Gu#of Mexico Estuarine Inventory and Study, (former) Alabama Coastal Area Board, ig8o. This 16g-page Mississippi, edited by J. Y. Christmas, 1973. A good introduc- report covers a wide range of topics, including descriptive tion to the Mississippi coastal zone and Mississippi Sound, topography, geology, soils, and climate of the coast, as well as this volume, although a technical publication, provides a start- socioeconomic setting, coastal resource uses, and natural re- ing point for obtaining descriptions of coastal environments sources. Of particular interest are sections on beaches and and processes. The 434-page text is published by and available dunes, shoreline use, and natural hazard management. Maps from the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, East Beach Drive, showing flood zones and shoreline retreat are included. Copies Ocean Springs, MS 39564 (price: around $8.oo). may still be available through local planning offices or the 43. Tidal Marshes- Yhe Boundary Between Land and Ocean, Alabama Department of Environmental Management. by James Gosselink, ig8o. A 13-page brochure that defines 41. Mississippi Sound: A Hydrographic and Climatic Atlas, by tidal marshes, their origin, and importance to man. This C. K. Eleuterius and S. Beaugez, ig8o. This oversized book is nontechnical publication is well illustrated, including organ- a storehouse of information on Mississippi Sound and its isms commonly found in marshes. For a free copy, contact the adjacent shores. The volume includes such information as Information Transfer Specialist, National Coastal Ecosystems storm history, including a list of all hurricanes and tropical Team, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NASA-Slidell Com- storms that passed within ioo nautical miles of Mississippi puter Complex, ioio Gause Boulevard, Slidell, LA 70458. Sound between 1871 and 1979; an account of Hurricane 44. ne Status of the Barrier Islands of the Southeastern Coast, Camille and its storm-surge levels; maps of water properties by Langdon Warner, 1976. General information on island such as salinities, circulation patterns, and bathymetry; and environments, development pressures, government stimulants information on the ecosystem. A limited number of copies to private development, and property assessments. Tables were published by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Con- summarize the status of development on barrier islands in 196 Living with the Alabarna- Mississippi shore each southeastern coastal state. A readable, useful reference. related problems. The symposium was cosponsored by the Persons seeking more detailed information on the develop- Office of Coastal Zone Management. Available from that ment status, property assessments, and local land-use regula- office, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, tions on individual islands may wish to obtain Barrier Island 3300 Whitehaven Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20235. Inventory (price: $I 5.oo). Both references are available from 48. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Sea- the Open Space Institute, 36 West 44th Street, Room io18, shells, by Harold A. Rehder, 198 1. This well-illustrated refer- New York, NY 10036. ence is an excellent handbook for the serious shell collector. 45. Know Your Mud, Sand, and Water: A Practical Guide to Published by Alfred A. Knopf and available in most book- Coastal Development, by K. M. Jurgensen, 1976. Clearly and stores. simply written, this pamphlet describes the various island en- 49. Mississippi Beaches- Fun in the Sun, Enjoyyour Leisure- vironments relative to development. Recommended to coastal Go Fishing!, and Outdoor Seafood Cookery are 3 sample dwellers. Available from UNC Sea Grant, Box 8605, North titles from the wide range of publications on recreation, fishing Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695. guides, recipes, charter boat directories, tide tables, first aid, 46. Coastal Ecosystems, Ecological Considerations for Man- and similar subjects available from the Sea Grant Marine agement of the Coastal Zone, by John Clark, 1974. A clearly Advisory Services. For a free publication list or answers to written, well-illustrated book on the applications of the prin- your coastal questions, write the Mississippi-Alabama Sea ciples of ecology to the major coastal zone environments. Grant Consortium, Caylor Building, Gulf Coast Research Available from the Publications Department, The Conserva- Laboratory, Ocean Springs, MS 39564, or call (6oi) 875- tion Foundation, 1717 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Wash- 9341. The Marine Education and Training Section at the ington, DC 20036. same address has plant and animal identification guides available. Recreation 47. Recreation in the Coastal Zone, 1975. A collection of papers Shoreline engineering presented at a symposium sponsored by the U.S. Department 5o. Beach Nourishment Along the Southeast Atlantic and Gu6r of the Interior, Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, Southeast Coasts, by Todd Walton and James Purpura, 1977. Appear- Region. Outlines different views of recreation in the coastal ing in the July 1977 issue of Shore and Beach magazine (pp. zone and the approaches taken by some states to recreation- i o - 18) this article examines successes and failures of several Appendix G. Useful references 197 beach nourishment projects, including the postnourishment 53. Shore Protection Guidelines, by the U.S. Army Corps of losses of beach fill along the Harrison County, Mississippi, Engineers, 1971. Summary of the effects of waves, tides, and shore. winds on beaches and engineering structures used for beach 51. Beach Behavior in the Vicinity of Groins, by C. H. Everts, stabilization. Available free from the Department of the 1979. An interesting description of the effects Of 2 groin fields Army, Corps of Engineers, Washington, DC 20318. in New Jersey, which concludes that groins deflect the move- 54. Shore Protection Manual, by the U.S. Army Corps of Engi- ment of sand seaward, causing erosion in the downdrift shad- neers, 1973. The "bible" of shoreline engineering. Published ow area. This negative downdrift effect occurs even if groin in 3 volumes. Request publication o8-0-22-00077 from the compartments are filled with sand. Published in the Proceed- Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing ings of the Specialty Conference on Coastal Structures 79 (131). Office, Washington, DC 20402 (price: $4.25). 853- 67) and available from U.S. Army Coastal Engineering 55. Help Yourself, by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Bro- Research Center, Kingman Building, Fort Belvoir, VA 22o6o, chure addressing the erosion problems in the Great Lakes as reprint 79-3. region. May be of interest to bayshore residents as it outlines 52. Low-Cost Shore Protection, by the U.S. Army Corps of shoreline processes and illustrates a variety of shoreline engi- Engineers, 1982. A set Of 4 reports written for the layman, neering devices used to combat erosion. Free from the U.S. this title includes the introductory report, a property owner's Army Corps of Engineers, North Central Division, 2 19 South guide, a guide for local government officials, and a guide for Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 6o604- engineers and contractors. The reports are a summary of the 56. Publication List, Coastal Engineering Research Center Shoreline Erosion Control Demonstration Program and sug- (CER C) and Beach Erosion Board (BEB), by the U.S. Army gest a wide range of engineering devices and techniques to Corps of Engineers. A list of published research by the Corps. stabilize shorelines, including beach nourishment and vegeta- Free from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Coastal Engi- tion. In adopting these approaches, one should keep in mind neering Research Center, Kingman Building, Fort Belvoir, that they are short-term measures and may have unwanted VA 22o6o. side effects. The reports are available from John G. Housley, Section 54 Program, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, USACE 57. Perdido Pass Channel, Alabama, by the U.S. Army Corps of (DAEN-CWP-F), Washington, DC 20314. Engineers, 1964. Published as Senate Document 94, 88th Congress, 2nd Session. 198 Living with the Alabarna- Mississippi shore Hazard evaluation areas with critical erosion problems. Growth in development since the late 1960s has magnified the problem. The report 58. Shoreline and Bathymetric Changes in the Coastal Area of may be found in some libraries and regional planning offices. Alabama: A Remote-Sensing Approach, by J. D. Hardin, 61. Hurricane Camille Tidal Floods of August 1969 along the C. D. Sapp, J. L. Emplaincourt, and K. E. Richter, 1976. This Gulf Coast, by K. V. Wilson and J. W. Hudson, 1969. This report documents shoreline changes that have taken place series Of 14 U.S. Geological Survey Hydrologic Investigations since the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, both Atlas maps (HA-395 through HA-4o8) cover all of the Missis- along the oceanfront and in the bays. Plate i summarizes the sippi coast and into Alabama as far as Bayou La Batre. The trends and identifies regional stretches of shoreline with ero- maps show the area flooded by Hurricane Camille and give sion rates under 5 feet per year, 5 to i o feet per year, and more spot elevations of peak water heights. Each map includes a than i o feet per year. The dynamic changes of Dauphin Island printed text describing the hurricane and its associated haz- as well as its rapid development by man between 195o and ards of flooding and wave effects. Past hurricane tide levels are 1975 are well documented. Residents along the shores of shown in table form, and positions of emergency water supply Mobile Bay will find a particularly interesting treatment of the wells are shown. The maps are available from the Branch of bay's physical character and processes. The report is available Distribution, U.S. Geological Survey, 1200 South Eads Street, as Information Series 5o from Publication Sales, Geological Arlington, VA 22202. Survey of Alabama, P.O. Drawer 0, University, AL 35486. 59. Shoreline Erosion and Mitigation, by the Mississippi Bureau 62. Hurricane Frederic Tidal Floods of September 12-13, 1979 of Marine Resources, ig8o. Appearingas section 2, chapter7, along the Gul(Coast, by L. R. Bohman and J. C. Scott, i 98o. in Mississippi Coastal Program, this paper identifies general This series Of 21 U.S. Geological Survey Hydrologic Investi- areas of erosion and buildup along the Mississippi shoreline, gations Atlas maps (HA-621 through HA-640 cover the area as well as briefly discussing beach erosion forces, existing from eastern Mississippi into the western Florida Panhandle, erosion control projects, and outlining management tech- including all of the ocean and bay coasts of Alabama. The niques. See reference 89. maps include Hurricane Frederic's flood zone, spot elevations of storm-surge height, a printed discussion of the hurricane 6o. National Shoreline Study Regional Inventory Report, South and its associated hazards, photographs of the resulting de- Atlantic- Gul(Region, by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, struction, past flood history, and related information. The 1971. This report was part of a national study/summary of maps are available from the Branch of Distribution, U.S. Appendix C. Useful references 199 Geological Survey, 1200 South Eads Street, Arlington, VA 67. Shoreline Waves, Another Energy Crisis, by Victor Gold- 22202. smith, 1975. Shelf bathymetry is shown to be a controlling 63. Effects of Hurricane Frederic on Dauphin Island, Alabama, factor in wave refraction, which in turn controls wave-height by W. E. Schramm and others, ig8o. This paper provides a distribution along the beach. Suggests that wave-energy dis- good summary of the physical impact of Hurricane Frederic. tribution may be controlled by modifying bathymetry. Free Published in Shore and Beach magazine (vOl. 48, no. 3, PP. from Sea Grant College Program, Virginia Institute of Ma- 20-25). rine Science, Gloucester Point, VA 23o62. Request VIMS 64. Surge Effectsfrom Hurricane Eloise, by W. W. Burdin, 1977. Contribution No. 734. Published in Shore and Beach magazine (vOl. 45, no. 2, pp. 68. Natural Hazard Management in Coastal Areas, by G. F. 2-8), this article provides an example of storm surge as a White and others, 1976. The most recent summary of coastal coastal hazard. hazards along the entire U.S. coast. Discusses adjustments to such hazards and hazard-related federal policy and pro- 65. Detection of Shoreline Changes from ERTS-i Data, by grams. Summarizes hazard management and coastal land J. L. G. Emplaincourt and C. C. Wielchowsky, 1974. Pub- planning programs in each state. Appendixes include a direc- lished in Southeastern Geographer (vol. i, no. 1, PP. 38-45), tory of agencies, an annotated bibliography, and information and also available from the Geological Survey of Alabama, on hurricanes. An invaluable reference, recommended to P.O. Drawer 0, University, AL 35486, as Reprint Series 29, developers, planners, and managers. Available from the Of- this article documents shoreline erosion. fice of Coastal Zone Management, National Oceanic and 66. Coastal Mapping Handbook, edited by M. Y. Ellis, 1978. A Atmospheric Administration, 3300 Whitehaven Street, N.W., primer on coastal mapping outlining the various types of Washington, DC 20235. maps, charts, and photography available, sources for such 69. Guidelinesfor Identifying Coastal High Hazard Zones, by products, data and uses, state coastal mapping programs, in- the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1975. Report outlining formation appendixes, and examples. A valuable starting such zones with emphasis on "coastal special flood-hazard reference for anyone interested in maps or mapping. For areas" (coastal floodplains subject to inundation by hurricane sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government surge with a i percent chance of occurring in any given year). Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402 (stock no. 024-001- Provides technical guidelines for conducting uniform flood 03046-2). 200 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore insurance studies and outlines methods of obtaining i oo-year 73. Dune Restoration and Revegetation Manual, by Jack Sal- storm-surge elevations. Recommended to island planners. mon, Don Hermingsen, and Tom McAlpin, 1982. This is the Available from the Galveston District, U.S. Army Corps of most recent Florida Sea Grant Program advisory publication Engineers, Galveston, TX 77553. on dune restoration and maintenance. Available as SGR-48 7o. Report of Investigation of the Environmental Effects of Pri- from the Marine Advisory Program, G022 McCarty Hall, vate Waterfront Lands, by W. Barada and W. M. Partington, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611 (price: $2.00). 1972. An enlightening reference that treats the effects of finger 74. Stabilizing Beaches and Dunes with Vegetation in Florida. canals on water quality. Available from the Environmental A 2-page Marine Advisory Program information sheet for Information Center, Florida Conservation Foundation, Inc., property owners and developers, the information is extracted 935 Orange Avenue, Winter Park, Fl, 32789. from the more detailed Sea Grant Report Number 7 listed below (reference 75). Topics include the role of plants, vege- Vegetation tation zones, preservation and restoration, and suggestions for 71. First Aidfor Damaged Beaches and Dunes, by Judy Stout, plantings. Free from the Marine Advisory Program, G022 198 o. A booklet to aid homeowners in establishing protective McCarty Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611. dunes between their cottages and the beach. Available from 75. Stabilization of Beaches and Dunes by Vegetation in Florida, the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, Auburn Uni- by J. H. Davis, Jr., 1975. A more detailed treatment of the role versity, Auburn, AL 36830. of plants in building and holding dunes, plant types, how 72. Dune Building and Stabilization with Vegetation, by W. W. vegetation indicates the setback line, and how to use plantings Woodhouse, Jr., 1978. This report includes a section on the to preserve or restore dunes. Different regions and the asso- plants and planting methods needed to build and stabilize ciated plants are noted, and suggestions for the use of sand dunes in the Gulf Coast region. Available from the Superin- fencing in conjunction with plantings are outlined. Other tendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, references and sources of information are listed. Available as Washington, DC 20402 (request stock no. oo8-022-00124-7; Report Number 7 from the Marine Advisory Program, G022 price: $3.00). McCarty Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611. The following vegetation studies and reports are for other 76. Salt Tolerant Plantsfor Florida Landscapes, by W. E. Bar- states but are applicable to the Alabama-Mississippi coast. rick, 1979. A good companion reference to the report listed Appendix C. Useful references 201 above (reference 75). Sixty-one different trees, palms, shrubs, 79. Shore Stabilization with Salt Marsh Vegetation, by P. L. ground cover, and vines are illustrated and briefly described, Knutson and W. W. Woodhouse, Jr., 1983. Summarizes the including their growth rates and hardiness with respect to use of coastal marsh vegetation as an erosion control measure. Florida's 3 climatic zones. Salinity tolerance of plants is dis- Artificial plantings are often a good alternative to building cussed, and soil-conditioning suggestions are given to help protective structures against erosion of low-energy or shel- minimize soil salinity problems. Plant information is indexed tered shorelines, such as in bays, sounds, lagoons, and estu- and tabled for convenient summary, and additional references aries. The publication outlines criteria for determining site are provided. Ask for Report Number 2 8 and the accompany- suitability for planting, selection of plant types, planting pro- ing list of commercial sources of salt-tolerant vegetation from cedures, and estimating costs. The Special Report No. 9 is the Marine Advisory Program, G022 McCarty Hall, Univer- available from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is an sity of Florida, Gainesville, FL 326 11, or contact your county update of earlier work by Woodhouse and others (for exam- marine agent through the cooperative extension service for a ple, "Propagation and Use of Spartina alterniflora for Shore- copy or additional advice on plantings. line Erosion Abatement ,' 1976, CERC Technical Report 76- 77. Building and Stabilizing Coastal Dunes with Vegetation 2). Both reports and additional information on coastal stabili- (UNC-SG-82-o5) and Planting Marsh Grassesfor Erosion zation are available from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Control (UNC-SG-81-og), by S. W. Broome, W. W. Wood- Coastal Engineering Research Center, Kingman Building, house, Jr., and E. D. Seneca, 1982. These recent publications Fort Belvoir, VA 22060, or write to NTIS, Attn: Operations on using vegetation as stabilizers are available from UNC Sea Division, 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, VA 22161, and Grant, Box 8605, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, request publication by title, author, and year. There is a charge NC 27695. State publication number with your request. for these publications. 78. 7he Dune Book: How to Plant Grassesfor Dune Stabiliza- 8o. Vegetation Establishment and Shoreline Stabilization: Gal- tion, by Johanna Seltz, 1976. Brochure outlining the impor- veston Bay, Texas, by J. W. Webb and J. D. Dodd, 1976. This tance of sand dunes and means of stabilizing them through study evaluates plants as shoreline stabilizers in a low-energy grass plantings. Available from UNC Sea Grant, Box 8605, estuarine environment in Texas. The results may be pertinent North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695. to similar environments along the Alabama-Mississippi shore. Available as CERC Technical Paper 76-13 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Coastal Engineering Research 202 Living with the Alabarna- Mississippi shore Center, Kingman Building, Fort Belvoir, VA 22o6o, or write Gainesville, FL 32611, or the Florida Department of Natural to NTIS, Attn: Operations Division, 5285 Port Royal Road, Resources, Bureau of Beaches and Shores, 2o2 Blount Street, Springfield, VA 22161. Tallahassee, FL 32304. Site analysis 84. Handbook: Building in the Coastal Environment, by R. T. Segrest and associates, 1975. A well-illustrated, clearly and 81. Inventory of Basic Environmental Data-Alabama, pre- simply written book on Georgia coastal zone planning, con- pared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, struction, and selling problems. Topics include vegetation, and the Alabama Office of State Planning and Federal Pro- soil, drainage, setback requirements, access, climate, and grams, State Planning Division, January ig8i. Shows areas building orientation. Includes a list of addresses for agencies of erosion and deposition along the coast as well as flood- and other sources of information. Much of the information prone areas. Copies should be available through those offices. applies to the Gulf Coast. Available from the Graphics De- 82. 7he Mississippi Gu6r Coast Comprehensive Development partment, Coastal Area Planning and Development Com- after Camille, by the State of Mississippi, 197o. The plan mission, P.O. Box 1316, Brunswick, GA 31520. outlines a post-Camille reconstruction in 3 parts: strategy for Conservation, planning and regulation redevelopment, the Gulf Coast Development and Services Corporation, and program areas. Of particular interest are the 85. Questions and Answers on the National Flood Insurance Camille damage data, the "inundation areas" map that can be Program, by the Federal Emergency Management Agency used for future site evaluation, and comparison of the recom- (FEMA), 1983. This pamphlet explains basics of flood insur- mendations of the study with what has been done. Copies may ance and provides addresses of FEMA offices. Free from still be available for inspection in planning offices. FEMA, Washington, DC 20472. 83. Building Construction on Shoreline Property, by C. A. Col- 86. Development of the Coast: Facing the Tough Issues, a lier. Homeowners and prospective buyers of coastal property Coastal States Organization conference held in Charleston, will find this pamphlet to be a handy checklist in evaluating 1979. These published final proceedings give an abbreviated location, elevation, building design and construction, utilities, overview of the wide range of problems generated by coastal and inspection. Available free from either the Marine Advi- development. Available from CSO, Conference Management sory Program, G022 McCarty Hall, University of Florida, Associates, Ltd., 1044 National Press Building, Washington, DC 20045. Appendix C. Useful references 203 87. The Alabama Coastal Area Management Program and Final 89. Mississippi Coastal Program, by the Bureau of Marine Re- Impact Statement, by the U.S. Department of Commerce, sources, Mississippi Department of Wildlife Conservation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of ig8o. This is the governing document for Mississippi's Coastal Coastal Zone Management, and the Alabama Coastal Area Zone Management Program, including wetlands and fish- Board, 1979. This governing document for the Alabama eries. Rules, regulations, guidelines, and permitting proce- Coastal Zone Management Program defines permitting and dures are listed. People involved in planning and development enforcement procedures within the area of management. within the coastal zone should be familiar with this publica- Although it may not be of interest to the general reader, any- tion. Copies should be available through local planning offices one involved in planning and development should be familiar as well as the Bureau of Marine Resources, Mississippi De- with this publication. Copies should be available through local partment of Wildlife Conservation, P.O. Box 959, Long planning offices as well as the Alabama Department of Envi- Beach, MS 3956o (phone: [6oi] 864-46o2). ronmental Management, State Capital, Montgomery, AL go. Mississippi Coastal Area: Its Future, 1975, and Mississippi 36130. Coastal Resources: A Survey to Determine Attitudes and 88. Building in the Coastal Counties: A Guide to the Permitting Opinions of Local Citizens, 1976. These short, descriptive Process with Special Emphasis on the Coastal Area, 1984. brochures dealing with coastal planning are available from the This edition is recommended reading for anyone in the coastal Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, Caylor Build- zone of Alabama who is considering building a house, in- ing, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Ocean Springs, MS stalling or modifying a septic system, drilling a well, or en- 39564. gaging in any construction or water discharge activity in gi. A Survey of Wetlands Law, Effects of Hurricane Camille on wetlands or waterways. The booklet provides an outline of the Economy of Harrison County, and Economic-Ecologic required permits, steps in obtaining permits, and addresses of Modelfor Mississippi-Alabama Coastal Counties are 3 rep- all federal, state, and local agencies that must be contacted. resentative titles of the many legal and socioeconomic studies A few minutes spent in reading this guide may save you hours available from the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant.Consor- of work, and it may help avoid penalties for not following tium, Caylor Building, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, the law. Available from the Permit Coordination Center, Ocean Springs, MS 39564. Write for their free list of titles, or Alabama Department of Environmental Management, State call (6oi) 875-9341. Capital, Montgomery, AL 36130 (phone: [205] 277-3630). 204 Living with the Alabarna- Mississippi shore 92. Mississippi Guide to Saltwater Fishing Regulations, 1983. A Mobile Magazine, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce. Also digest of regulations for sport and commercial fishing in the available from Coastal Zone Studies, University of West marine waters of Mississippi, including shellfish. The pamph- Florida, Pensacola, FL 32504. let includes a list of endangered and protected species and 94. Relieffrom Disaster Relief. Reportfrom Dauphin Island, by where to call if you find such animals stranded. Available from Tom Horton, ig8i. This short article captures the socioeco- the Department of Wildlife Conservation, Bureau of Marine nomic dilemma of the danger of barrier beach development Resources, P.O. Drawer 959, Long Beach, MS 3956o; phone and who should pay for the inevitable post-storm reconstruc- (6oi) 864-4602. tion. Expenditures of federal tax dollars in post-Frederic 93. Dauphin Island: At the Crossroads of Decision, by Cy reconstruction averaged more than $50,000 for each of the Rhode, ig8o and ig8i. This study was published in Mobile 650 permanent structures on Dauphin Island, according to Magazine in 4 parts, beginning with the November-December the article. Such costs plus other hidden subsidies realized ig8o issue. The author traces the storm history of the island, in the aftermath of Hurricane Frederic are resulting in a the impact of Hurricane Frederic in terms of physical damage tightening of federal programs. This article appeared in the (144 homes with total loss or major damage; 856 homes with Amicus Journal (summer ig8i, pp. 22-25). severe damage) and dollar loss; he compares Frederic to a 95. Barrier Islands, by H. C. Miller, ig8i. Published in Envi- similar i qo6 storm to illustrate that development set the stage ronment (Vol. 23, no. 9, pp. 6-11, 36-42), this is an excellent for this staggering loss. The loss of the causeway to the island review of how the federal government has stimulated barrier is examined as an opportunity to assess options other than island development and the resulting losses in tax dollars. bridge replacement; and the replacement cost in terms of federal subsidies is documented. Part III reviews the island I s 96. The Law of the Coast in a Clamshell, by Peter H. F. Graber. general problems associated with population growth, includ- These articles in Shore and Beach magazine on the contem- ing marshland filling, poor sanitation, saltwater intrusion, Porary law of the coast were written for nonattorneys. The and similar problems. The conclusion outlines a study pro- initial article presents an overview (vOl. 48, no. 4, PP. 4-20), gram for planning. However, only time will tell if this good followed by "The Federal Government's Expanding Role" advice is heeded. This article is recommended reading to all (vOl. 49, no. i, pp. 16-2o) and articles for each coastal state. coastal property owners, and taxpayers in general. Contact Shore and Beach should be available through your library on interlibrary loan. Appendix C. Useful references 205 97. The [email protected] Edge: Critical Problems of the Coastal Zone, systems, man's impact on barrier islands, and tools and tech- edited by B. H. Ketchum, 1972. Scientific summary of coastal niques for coastal area management. Also contains a good zone problems. Published by M.I.T. Press, Cambridge, MA barrier island bibliography. Available from the Center for 02139. Urban and Regional Studies, University of North Carolina, 98. Design with Nature, by Ian McHarg, 1969. A now-classic text io8 Battle Lane, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. on the environment. Stresses that when man interacts with ioi. The Fiscal Impact of Residential and Commercial Develop- nature, he must recognize its processes and governing laws ment: A Case Study, by I Muller and G. Dawson, 1972. while realizing that such interaction both presents opportu- A classic study which demonstrates that development may nities for and requires limitations on human use. Published by ultimately increase, rather than decrease, community taxes. Doubleday and Co., Garden City, NY 11530. Available from The Publications Office, the Urban Institute, 99. Who's Minding the Shore, by the Natural Resources Defense 2100 M Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20037 (price: $3.00). Council, Inc., 1976. A guide to public participation in the Refer to URI-22000 when ordering. coastal zone management process. Defines coastal ecosystems i o2. Report ofthe Conference on Marine Resources ofthe Coastal and outlines the Coastal Zone Management Act, coastal de- Plains States, 1974. Collection of papers presented at a meet- velopment issues, and means of citizen participation in the ing in Wilmington, North Carolina. Topics include seabed coastal zone management process. Lists sources of additional mineral resources, sport fishing, recreation and tourism, and information. Available from the Office of Coastal Zone Man- coastal zone planning. Of special interest is a paper entitled agement, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "Reasonable Development and Reasonable Conservation" 3300 Whitehaven Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20235. by David Stick. Sponsored and published by the Coastal i oo. Ecological Determinants of Coastal Area Management, by Plains Center for Marine Development Services. Francis Parker, David Brower, and others, 1976. Volume 1 103. Coastal Ecosystem Management, by John Clark, 1977. This defines the barrier island and related lagoon-estuary systems 928-page text covers most aspects of the coastal zone from and the natural processes that operate within them. Outlines descriptions of processes and environments to legal controls marfs disturbing influences on island environments and sug- and outlines for management programs. Essential reading for gests management tools and techniques. Volume 2 is a set of planners and beach community managers. Published by John appendixes that includes information on coastal ecological Wiley and Sons, New York. (The 1983 reprint with correc- 206 Living with the Alabarna- Mississippi shore tions is available from Krieger Publishing Co., P.O. Box 9542, Building or improving a home Melbourne, FL 32902 for $59-50 postpaid). Both current and prospective owners and builders of homes io4. Coastal Environmental Management, prepared by the Con- in hurricane-prone areas should supplement the information and servation Foundation, ig8o. Guidelines for conservation of advice provided in this book with that offered in references deal- resources and protection against storm hazards, including ing specifically with safe construction. These excellent references ecological description and management suggestions for coast- contain sound, useful information that should help the residents al uplands, floodplains, wetlands, banks and bluffs, dune- of such areas minimize losses caused by extreme wind or rising lands, and beaches. Part 11 presents a complete list of federal water. Many of these publications are free. The government pub- agencies and their authority under the law to regulate coastal lications are paid for by your taxes, so why not use them? The fol- zone activities. A good reference for planners and persons lowing references are recommended to those readers who wish to interested in good land management. Available from the investigate further the subject of hurricane-resistant construction. Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402. 107. Coastal Design: A Guide for Planners, Developers, and Homeowners, by Orrin H. Pilkey, Jr., Orrin H. Pilkey, Sr., 105. Coastal Affair, edited by Jennifer Miller, 1982. A special Walter D. Pilkey, and William J. Neal, 1983. A detailed subject issue of Southern Exposure magazine (vol. X, no. 3), companion volume and construction guide expanding on the that explores a wide range of coastal issues from the physical information outlined in this text. Chapters include discussions to the social and economic. Available from Southern Ex- of shoreline types, individual residence construction, making posure, P.O. Box 531, Durham, NC 27702 (price: $4.00). older structures storm-worthy, high-rise buildings, mobile i o6. Patterns and Trends of Land Use and Land Cover on A tlan- homes, coastal regulations, and the future of the coastal zone. tic and Gulf Coast Barrier Islands, by H. F. Lins, Jr., i 98o. Published by Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York (price: U.S. Geological Survey, Professional Paper 1156, available $25-00). from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government 108. Design and Construction Manualfor Residential Buildings Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, or through your in Coastal High Hazard Areas, prepared by Dames and local college or university library. Moore for HUD, on behalf of the Federal Emergency Man- agement Agency, ig8i. A guide to the coastal environment Appendix C. Useful references 207 with recommendations on site and structure design relative to iii. Wind-Resistant Design Conceptsfor Residences, by Delbart the National Flood Insurance Program. The report includes B. Ward. Displays with vivid sketches and illustrations con- design considerations, examples, construction costs, and ap- struction problems and methods of tying structures to the pendixes on design tables, bracing, design worksheets, wood ground. Considerable text and excellent illustrations devoted preservatives, and a listing of useful references. The manual is to methods of strengthening residences. Offers recommenda- available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Gov- tions for relatively inexpensive modifications that will increase ernment Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402 (publication the safety of residences subject to severe winds. Chapter 8, number 722-967/545), or contact a FEMA office. "How to Calculate Wind Forces and Design Wind-Resistant i og. Elevated Residential Structures, Reducing Flood Damage Structures," should be of particular interest to the designer. Through Building Design: A Guide Manual, prepared by the Available as TR83 from the Civil Defense Preparedness Federal Insurance Administration, 1984. An excellent outline Agency, Department of Defense, The Pentagon, Washing- of the flood threat and necessity for proper planning and ton, DC 20301, or from the Civil Defense Preparedness construction. Illustrates construction techniques and includes Agency, 28oo Eastern Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21220. glossary, references, and worksheets for estimating building 112. Interim Guidelinesfor Building Occupant Protectionfrom costs. Order publication 0-438-116 from the Superintendent Tornadoes and Extreme Winds JR83A) and Tornado Pro- of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washing- tection- Selecting and Designing Safe Areas in Buildings ton, DC 20402, or contact an office of the Federal Emergency (TR83B). These are supplement publications to the above Management Agency. reference (i i i) and are available from the same address. iio. Flood Emergency and Residential Repair Handbook, pre- 113. Southern Standard Building Code. Available from Southern pared by the National Association of Homebuilders Research Building Code Congress, 1116 Brown Marx Building, Bir- Advisory Board of the National Academy of Science, ig8o. mingham, AL 35203, or Southern Building Code Publishing Guide to floodproofing as well as step-by-step cleanup pro- Company, 3617 8th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35222. cedures and repairs, including household goods and appli- 114. The Uniform Building Code. Available from International ances. Available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Conference of Building Officials, 536o South Workman Mill Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402. Order Road, Whittier, CA go6oi. stock no. 023-000-00552-2 (price: $3.50). 208 Living with the Alabama- Mississippi shore 115. Protecting Mobile Homesfrom High Winds, prepared by the 118. Guidelinesfor Beachfiront Construction with Special Refer- Civil Defense Preparedness Agency, 1974. An excellent book- ence to the Coastal Construction Setback Line, by C. A. let that outlines methods of tying down mobile homes and Collier and others, 1977. Report no. 2o, available from Florida means of protection such as positioning and windbreaks. Sea Grant Publications, Florida Cooperative Extension Ser- Publication 1974-0-537-785, available free from the Superin- vice, Marine Advisory Program, Coastal Engineering Labora- tendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, tory, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611. Washington, DC 20402, or from the U.S. Army, AG Publi- 119. Houses Can Resist Hurricanes, by the U.S. Forest Service, cations Center, Civil Defense Branch, 28oo Eastern Boule- 1965. An excellent paper with numerous details on construc- vard (Middle River), Baltimore, MD 21220. tion in general. Pole-house construction is treated in particu- 116. Structural Failures: Modes, Causes, Responsibilities, 1973. lar detail (pp. 28-45). Available as Research Paper FPL 33 See especially the chapter entitled "Failure of Structures Due from Forest Products Laboratory, Forest Service, U.S. De- to Extreme Winds" (PP. 49-77). Available from the Research partment of Agriculture, P.O. Box 5130, Madison, WI 53705. Council on Performance of Structures, American Society of 120. Pole House Construction and Pole Building Design. Avail- Civil Engineers, 345 East 47th Street, New York, NY 10017 able from the American Wood Preservers Institute, 1651 Old (price: $4.00). Meadows Road, McLean, VA 22101. 117. Hurricane- Resistant Constructionfor Homes, by T. L. Wal- 121. Standard Detailsfor One-Story Concrete Block Residences, ton, Jr., 1976. An excellent booklet produced for residents by the Masonry Institute of America. Contains 9 foldout of Florida but equally as useful to those on the Gulf coast. drawings that illustrate the details of constructing a concrete A good summary of hurricanes, storm surge, damage assess- block house. Principles of reinforcement and good connec- ment, and guidelines for hurricane-resistant construction. tions presented are aimed at design for seismic zones but Technical concepts are presented on probability and its impli- apply to design in hurricane zones as well. Written for both cations on home design in hazard areas. A brief summary of layman and designer. Available as Publication 701 from Ma- federal and local guidelines is given. Available from Florida sonry Institute of America, 255o Beverly Boulevard, Los Sea Grant Publications, Florida Cooperative Extension Ser- Angeles, CA 90057 (price: $3.00). vice, Marine Advisory Program, Coastal Engineering Labora- 122. Masonry Design Manual, by the Masonry Institute of Ameri- tory, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 326 11. ca. An oversized 384-page manual that covers all types of Appendix C. Useful references 209 masonry, including brick, concrete block, glazed structural 8o-i, Bureau of Beaches and Shores, Florida Department of units, stone, and veneer. Very comprehensive and well pre- Natural Resources, 3900 Commonwealth Boulevard, Talla- sented. Probably of more interest to the designer than to the hassee, FL 32303. layman. Available as Publication 6oi from the Masonry Insti- tute of America, 255o Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90057 (price: $14.00). 123. Model Minimum Hurricane- Resistant Building Standards for the Texas Gulf Coast. Although written specifically for the Texas coast, the conditions are similar enough that this publication is appropriate for the Alabama-Mississippi coast. Available from the Texas Coastal and Marine Council, P.O. Box 13407, Austin, TX 78711. 124. Construction Materials for Coastal Structures, by Moffatt and Nichol, Engineers, 1983. A lengthy (427-page) summary of the properties and uses of a wide range of materials em- ployed in coastal structures, beach protection devices, and erosion control. This technical reference should be of par- ticular interest to coastal engineers and construction con- tractors who build such structures. Request Special Report No. io, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Coastal Engineering Research Center, Kingman Building, Fort Belvoir, VA 22o6o. 125. Coastal Construction Building Code Guidelines, edited by R. R. Clark, ig8o. Although developed for Florida, these guide- lines are applicable to the rest of the Gulf Coast and make specific recommendations to strengthen the Standard Build- ing Code in coastal areas. Available as Technical Report No. Index access roads, 8, 34-35, 72, 186 environments, 34-35 Bellefontaine, 95 accretion, shoreline, 65, 69 evolution, 32-34 Bellefontaine Point, 104, io6, 107, io8, 109, 126 aerial photography, 47, 5o, 65, 171-72 migration, 24, 26, 28, 30, 44 Bienville Beach, 54, 99 Alabama Coastal Area Act, 131 origin, 21-24 Bienville Boulevard, 99 Alabama Coastal Area Board, 8, 131-33 storm response, io, 58 Big Ship Island, i i i Alabama Coastal Management Program, 131, 132, widening, 28-29 Biloxi, 12, 15, 22, 36, 38, 45, 52, 59, 107, 112, 113, 114, 133,203 Barron Point, 96 ii5-ili Alabama Highway 59, 73 Bay Front Drive (Mobile), 95 lighthouse, 112 Highway 161, 182 Bay La Launch, 70 Biloxi Bay, 5, 9, 21, 53, 6o, 107, 109 Highway 163, 96, 103 Bay St. Louis, 5, 9, 11, 12, 15, 21, 36, 45, 52, 62, 107, Bon Secour Bay, 69, 78, 84, 86 Highway 18o, 81, 82, 86 118, 120, 121-23 Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, 83, 90, 103 Highway 182, 69, 72, 73, 76 seawall, 36, 37 Bon Secour River, 69, 84, 90 Highway 188, 96 Bay Side, 82 Bridgehead, 88, go Alabama Point, 133 Bayou Caddy,121 bridges, 68, 96, 129, 174 Alabama Port, 95 Bayou Casotte, 104, io5, io6 Brookley, 92, 94 anchoring, house. See construction, anchoring Bayou Casotte Industrial Area, 105 Buccaneer State Park, 37 Arnica Bay, 70 Bayou Como, 96 building codes, 8, 51, 53, 59, 62, 72, 123, 125, 135-36, Aswan Dam, 33 Bayou La Batre, 96, 98, 104, 198 140, 149, 150, 154, 161, 163, 164, 166, 174, 203, Audubon Street (Dauphin Island), 102 Bayou Portage, 118, iig 209 Auguste Bayou, 115 Bayou St. John area, 52, 69, 70 buildings, 138-66. See also flood insurance and A-zones, 126, 143, 148 bays, 19, 54, 56, 58, 6o, 205 building codes Azaka City News, 133 beach access. See access roads high-rise, 21, 37, 56, 61, 69, 70, 72, 76, 82, 114, 132, beaches, 5, 7, 77, 123, 184, 193-94, 195 134, 16o-64, 168, 2o6 Back Bay of Biloxi, i og, 113, 115, 118 artificial, 9, 16, 31, 38, 40, 41, 45, 105, 121 homes, permanent, 139 Back Bayou, 105 dynamic equilibrium, 26-35 improving existing, 138, 150-59, 2o6 Bailey Creek, 84 erosion, 27, 29, 30-31, 32, 36, 173, 179 mobile homes, 18, 136-37, 139, i5g-6o, 164, 168, Baldwin County, 9, 69-91, 92, 124 replenishment, 31, 35, 36-39, 44, 58, 59, 61, 64, 124, 2o6,2o8 commission, 133 176 modular, 164-66 barometric pressure, 20, 142-43 shape, 26, 27, 41, 48 pole, 143, 145, 147-49 barrier islands, 1, 5, 9, 21-24, 184, 191, 192, 195, 204, stabilization. See shoreline engineering bulkheads, 6, 41, 56, 6o, 83, 86, 94, 96 205,2o6 Bear Point, 69, 70 Bureau of Marine Resources (Mississippi), 8, 115, 130, dynamics, 21-35 Beauvoir, i 18 137 Index 211 Bureau of Pollution Control and Land and Water Coney Island, N.Y., 48 Deer Island, 58, io8, iog, I 11, 112-15 Resources (Mississippi), 130 Connecticut coast, 37 Deer River, 95 construction, 138-66, 2o6-9 Deer River Point, 95 Caldwell Swamp, go anchoring, 145, 147-49, 150-52, 157-58, 16o, 163 Delaware Bay, 21 California coast, 33 brick, 154-55, 2o8-9 deltas, 6, 11, 23, 24, 32, 50, 158 Camp Lamotte, 107 concrete-block, 154, 2o8-9 Department of Economic and Community Affairs canals. See finger canals design, 138, 139, 140-42, 154 (Alabama), 131-35 Cape Hatteras, N.C., 34 masonry, 143, 153, 154-55, 2o8-9 Department of Environmental Management Cape May, N.J., 7, 43, 45 -47 modular units, 164, 166 (Alabama), 8, 131-35, 175 seawall, 46 piles, 145, i5o, 163 Destin beaches, Fla., 52 Capes Island, S.C., 33 pole or stilt, 147-49, 150, 2o8 development. See coastal development Caswell, 69, 70 roof, 140, 152, 154 D'Iberville, i 18 Cat Island, 57, 96, iog, 120-21, 126, 185 slabs, i5o, 03-64 disaster preparedness, 129, 174-75, 176 Catlin Bayou, go strengthening, 150-59 Disaster Relief Act of 1974, 129 Cedar Grove, 82 walls, 150, 152 Division Street (Biloxi), 115 Cedar Point, 96, 121 windows, 155, 157, 163 Dog Island (Isle of Caprice), i i i Central High School (Biloxi), 115 wood-frame, 153 Dog Keys Pass, i i i channels, 36, 58, 61. See also overwash continental shelf, 25, 29, 30, 32, 33, 37, 44, 47 Dog River, 95 Chesapeake Bay, 21 Corps of Engineers. See U.S. Army Corps of Dog River Point, 95 Chicasaw Creek, 92 Engineers dredging and filling. See beaches, replenishment Choctaw Point, 92 Corpus Christi, Tex., 162 dune buggies, 34, 194 Civil Defense. See disaster preparedness Cortereal, Gaspar, 8 dunes, 5, 7, 33, 47, 65, 123, 131, 194, 195 Clean Water Act, 132 Cotton Bayou, 71, 72 artificial, 34, 36, 56, 73, 177 Clermont Harbor, 121-23 currents. See longshore currents primary, 41, 55, 72, 76, 132 Coastal Barrier Resources Act of 1982, 104, 120, 124, Cyclone Tracy, 154,155 protection, 8, 19, 34, 54, 57, 589 59, 73, 200 134 removal, 53, 69, 81, 133 coastal development, 5-6, 7, 10, 21, 34, 36-49, 50-123 dams, 32, 33 Stability, 22, 26, 27, 32, 36, 7,oi pasSiM, 202 Darwin, Australia, 154, 155 dynamic equilibrium. See beaches future, 8, 50, 129-35 Dauphin Island, 5, 9, 11, 18, 21, 23, 24, 52, 54, 57, 58, history, 5, 9, 124 59, 61, 62, 64, 92, 96, 98-io4, 124, 126, 18g, igo, East Fowl River, 95 Coastal Environmental Alliance, Inc., 133 198, igg East Ship Island, 185 coastal zone, 1, 5, 47, 51, 6o, 175, 183-84, 205 groin field, 36, 40 Eastern Shore Boulevard, go Coastal Zone Management Act Of 1972, 129, 205 Dauphin Island Causeway, 92, 96 Edgewater Park, 113, 118 Coden, 96 Dauphin Island Parkway Bridge, 103, 190 Edith Hammock, 82, 83 condominiums. See buildings, high-rise Davis Bayou, xo4, 107, 109, 195 elevations, 33, 52, 54, 56, 57, 61, 65, 69, 70, 72, 129, 212 Index 198, 202 Fort Morgan, 9, 52, 82, 93, 132, 133, 185 Gum Swamp, 90 Endangered Species Act Of 1973, 137 Fort Morgan Peninsula, 1, 21, 22, 24, 26, 28, 44, 53, erosion, 8, 51, 173, 179 57, 59, 69, 78, 8o, 81, 82, 99, 132 Hancock County, 121-23 due to shoreline engineering, 31, 33, 36-50, 53, 134 Fort Morgan State Park, 82, 83 Harrison County, 15, 38, 45, 109, 111-20, 197, 203 due to sea-level rise, 21, 24, 65, 69, 123 Fort Pickens, 9 seawall, 48 indicators, 33 foundation, house. See construction, anchoring Head-of-the-Bay, 90, 91 rates, 30-32, 47, 64 Fowl River Bay, 5 Henderson Point, 112, 118 escape routes. See evacuation preparations French, as explorers and settlers, 9, 110, 189 Hernando Street (Dauphin Island), 102 Escatawpa Delta, 104 Heron Bay, 95, 96 Escatawpa River, 105 Galveston, 19, 190 Heron Bay Cutoff, 95, 96 Evacuation preparations, 10, 17, 18, 19, 20, 53, 57, 65, Gasque, 82, 84, 86 Hollingers Island, 95 69, 70, 71, 8o, 81, 82, 95, 96, 102, 109, 118, 129, Gautier, 104, 107 Horn Island, 5, 57, 107, 109, 110, 111, 185 169 Georgia coast, 202 Horn Island Pass, 110 glaciers, 21, 27, 30 houses. See construction Fairhope, 84, 86, go Godfrey, Paul, 34 Hurricane Faustinas, 95 Government Cut, 103 Baker (1950), 16 Federal Emergency Management Agency, 126, 128, Grand Batture Island,98, 104 Betsy (1965), 12-13, 16, 19, 37, 105, 115, 118, 121 133 Grand Bay, 5, 52 Bob (1979), 12-13 Federal Highway Administration, 103 Grand Bay Swamp, 98 Camille (1969), 10, 11, 12-13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 39, Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of Grand Hotel, 90 52, 53, 54, 58, 76, 94, 95, 105, 107, 109, 111, 112, 1972,137,187 Grand Isle, La., 12 114, 115, 118, 121, 159, 161, 191, 195, 198, 203 finger canals, 59, 6o, 61, 62-64, 73, 103, 107, 137 grasslands, 58 Carmen (1970), 68 fisheries, 5, 7, 59, 62, 71, 96, 98, 203, 204 Graveline Bayou, 107 Eloise (1975), 12-13, 161, 163, 191, 199 Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, 125 Great Point Clear, 40, 84, 90 Ethel (1960), 12-13, 16, 20, 111 Flood Hazard Boundary Map, 126 "greenhouse effect," 24, 43-44 Flossy (1956), 12-13 flood insurance, 52, 103, 125-29, 133, 18o-81, 199- groins, 6, 8, 10, 30, 35, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 44, 45, 53, Frederic (1979), 10, 12-13, 16, 18, 20, 32, 52, 53, 54, 200, 202. See also National Flood Insurance 56,65,84,94,197 55, 56, 57, 59, 62, 64, 68, 69, 70-73, 76, 77, 80, Program groundwater. See water, ground 81, 83, 90, 94, 95, 96, 98, 99, 101, 102, 103, 105, flood zones, 52, 53, 65, 82, 195, 198, 202, 207 Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, 22, 110 115, 124, 127, 129, 131, 132, 134, 142, 154, 159, Florida coast, 54, 64, 189, 200-201 Gulf Highlands, 69, 81, 82 189,190,198,199 Florida Department of Natural Resources, 136 Gulf Islands National Seashore, 109-11, 112, 121, 185 Hilda (1964), 12-13, 16, 20, 191 Florida east coast, 6, 7, 20 Gulf Shores, 6, 9, 52, 53, 55, 57, 59, 69, 70, 73, 74, 76, Of 1740 (Twin Mobile Hurricanes), 11 Florida Panhandle, 6, 26, 163, 198 77,81,99,185,190 Of 1819,11 Florida west coast, 8, 20 Gulf State Park, 5, 72 of 1852 (Great Mobile Hurricane), 11 Fort Gaines, 9, 102, 103 Gulfport, 22, 36, 116, 118 of 1855,12-13 Fort Massachusetts, 9, 111, 185 Gulfport Harbor, 118 of 186o,12-13 Index 213 of 1900, 19,190 Jackson County Airport, 105 maps, 65, 182-83, 195, 199, 202 Of 1901, 12-13 Jackson Marsh, 123 Marine Environmental Science Consortium facility of 1906, 12-13 jetties, 6, 35, 39, 40, 43, 50 (Dauphin Island), 103 Of 1909, 12-13, 189 Joe's Bayou, 121 Marine Resources Council (Mississippi), 8, 130 Of 1915, 12-13, 16, 112, 14,121, 189 Johnston Drive (Dauphin Island), 102 Marsh Island, 96 of 1916, 12-13,14,123 Jones Memorial Park (Gulfport), 118 Marsh Point, 109 Of 1917, 12-13 Jourdan River, 121 marshes, 5, 7, 24, 34, 55, 58, 59, 60, 76, 96, 123, 195 Of 1919, 12-13 Meridian, 68 of 1920, 12-13 Keegan Bayou,115 Miami Beach, 7, 38, 40, 41, 43 Of 1923, 12-13 Keesler Air Force Base, 115 migration. See barrier islands Of 1926 (2 hurricanes), 12-13 Key West, Fla., 1 Miller Cemetery, 86 Of 932,12-13 Kreole, 105 Mississippi City, 116, 118 Of 1940, 12-13 Mississippi Coastal Program, 8, 130, 198, 203 Of 1947,5, 12-13, 16,20, 123, 189 L & N Railroad tracks (Gulfport),118, 121, 123 Mississippi Delta, 11 Of 1948,101 lagoons. See bays Mississippi Sound, 5, 22, 23, 26, 54, 92, 96, 97, 98, 99, hurricanes, 3 1, 48, 51, 54, 68, 71 Lakeshore, 121-23 101, 104, 105, 109, 111, 114, 191, 195 defined, 17-18 Land Sales Full Disclosure Act, 187 Mobile, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 22, 36, 59, 92, 94, 190 destruction, 7, 10-17, 19, 45, 55-56, 69-70, 109, 121 land-use regulations, 8, 124, 185-86, 196,206 Mobile Bay, 8, 9, 11, 14, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 39, 40, 52, forces, 7, 18- 19, 57, 59, 68, 69, 110, 123, 140, 142, La Salle, Robert Cavelier de, 9 53, 54, 6o, 69, 78, 83, 84, 86, 88, 92, 94, 96, 185, 190,199 Lei Lani Towers (Perdido Key), 133-35 191,198 frequency, 45. See also hurricane listing above Little Bay, 98 lighthouse, 1, 104 history, 8, 10-17, 189 Little Dauphin Island, 103 revaments, 36 origin, 17-18 Little Lagoon, 5, 57, 70, 74, 77, 78, 80 Mobile County, 10, 54, 92-104, 128 precautions, 8, 59, 167-70 Little Point Clear, 83 Mobile County Health Department, 62 waves, 5, 10, 19 Little Ship Island, 111 mobile homes. See buildings littoral drift. See longshore currents Mobile Point, 69, 78, 81, 126, 185 lberville, Pierre LeMoyne d, 9, 112 Long Beach, 116, 119 Mon Louis Island, 95, 96 lberville Drive (Dauphin Island), 102 longshore currents, 22, 28, 29, 37, 39, 41, 64 Monmouth Beach, N.J., 7, 41, 43 inlets. See passes Louisiana, 6, 12, 30, 33, 68 mortgage loans, 103 insurance. See flood insurance and National Flood Lubbock, Tex., 162 Moss Point, 105, 107 Insurance Program Mullet Point, 86 islands. See barrier islands McDuffie Island, 92, 94 Isle of Caprice (Dog Island), 5, 111 Magnolia Beach, go National Academy of Science, 24, 43 Main Street (Biloxi), 115 National Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary (Dauphin Jackson,127 Mallini Bayou, 120 Island), 102 Jackson County, 54, 6o, 104-9 Mallini Point, 118 National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, 125 214 index National Flood Insurance Program, 52, 125-28,207 potential, 51, 80 revetments. 10, 36, 40, 41, 53, 60,94 National Hurricane Center, 19 Pearl River, 52, 123 Richelieu Apartments, 16 National Park Service, 34 delta, 23 ridge and runnel system, 27 National Weather Service, 2o Pelican Bay, 4 Rio Grande, 1 New Jersey coast, 6, 30, 32, 34, 197 Pelican Island, 4, 104, 126 Robertsdale Independent, 134 New Jerseyization, 6-7, 8, 9, 44, 45, 49 Pelican Point, 40 Romar Beach, 72, 73 Now Orleans, 6, 9, 10, 22 Pensacola, 8, 190 Romar House, 133 Nile Delta, 33 Pensatola, Bay, 9, 10 Round Island, 107, 326 1948 River and Harbhor Act, 112 Perdido Bay,5, 21, 52, 62, 69, 70 North Carolina coast, 99 Perdido Dunes, 133 Saffir, Herbert S., 163 Perdido Hotel, 133 Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, 19-20 Ocean Springs, 104, (108, 109, 190 Perdido Key, 1, 6,9, 21, 58, 66, 70, 71, 133 St. Andrews Bay, 83 Office of State Planning (Alabama), 8 Perdido Pass, 39, 69, 70 St. Stanislaus College, 121 Old Fort Bayou, 109 Perdido Pass Channel, 197 salt marshes. See marshes Old River 69, 70 Perdido Quay, 133 sand, 22, 53, 54, 56, 57, 69 Ono Island, 69, 70, 71 petit Bois Island, 23, 57, 98,99,107, 109, 110, 111, 185 excavation 36, 37, 38- 39, 65 Orange Reach, 69, 70 Petit Bois Pass, 98, 110 loss, 7-7, 31, 34, 45 Orange Lake, 105 Piers See construction, anchoring removal, 57 Oro Point, 99, 101 piles. See construction, anchoring Supply, 31, 32, 34, 35, 37, 45, 47, 48, 51, 55,60, Otvos, Ervin, Jr., 22, 110 Pilkey, Orrin, Sr., 16-17 76 Outer Banks, N.C., 34 Pirreda, 8 transport, 22, 24, 26, 27, 30, 56, 58 overwash, 33, 34, 35, 37, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 64,65, 72, Pinto Island, 92 sand bars, See spits 73, 76, 80, 82, 123 Pitcher Point, 119 Sand Island, 4, 104 Point Aux Chenes, 104 lighthouse 4, 5 Pedro Island, Tex., 32 Point Aux Chenes Bay, 5 Sanibel Island, Fla., 136 Palmetto Beach, 82 Point Aux Chenes Road, 109 Sam Souci Beach, 96 Panama City Beach, Fla., 161, 163 Point Aux Pines, 98 Santa Rosa City, Fla., 127 Pascagoula, 9, 11, 12, 36, 45, 52, 59, 104, 105, 106, Point Clear Island, 123 Santa Rosa Island, Fla., 52 107, 110,115,190 Point Judith, 95, 96 Seacliffe, 107 seawall, 36 poles. See construction sea-level changes, 1, 5, 21-26, 29-30, 31, 33, 36, 38, Pascagoula BaY, 21, 104,105, 107 Pollution, 7, 61, 62, 96, 137 43-44,45, 47, 50, 123,134 Pascagoula River, 60, 105 Portersville Day, 96, 97, 98 seashells, 30, 32, 54, 55, 56, 196 Pass Christian, 6, 16, 17, 45, 112, 115, 118-20 seawalls, 6,7, 8, 9, 12, 15, 17, 18, 31, 35, 36, 37, 38,40 Passes, 24, 32,55, 58-59, 73, 77 rrecreation, 5 -6, 21, 184, 196, 204, 205 41-42, 43-45, 46,48, 53, 56, 86,94,96,105, 112 artificial, 35, 39 Red Bluff, 60, 88, 90 120,114 migration, 50, 64 renourishment. See shoreline engineering septic tank system-, 55, 59, 62,68, 136,179, 186-87 203 Index 215 sewage, 53, 59, 62, 76, 94, 103, 186-87 Swift, Donald, 22 76,94,123,142,197,199 Seymour Bluff, 84 Weeks Bay, 84, 90 Shabica, Steve, im Terry Cove, 70, 71 West Beach, 5, 53, 58, 74, 77, 82, 99, 132 Shelby Lake (west), 73 Texas coast, 32, 34, 99, 201, 209 West Ship Island, 185 Shelby Lakes, 59, 66, 72, 73, 74 Theodore Industrial Complex, 133 West Surfside Shores, 81 Ship Island, 5, 9, 57, 5 8, 1 og, i i i Threemile Creek, 94 Wetlands Protection Law Of 1973, 130 Ship Island Channel, i i i Titi Swamp, go Wild Dunes Beach and Racquet Club (Isle of Palms, shoreline dynamics, 21-35 Tonti, Henri de, 9 S.C.), 134 shoreline engineering, 7, 8, 9, 19, 28, 36-50, 58, 59, wildlife habitat, 83, 90, 103, 110, 137, 188 112,196-97 Uniform Building Code, 207 Williams, Mike, 134 shoreline retreat. See erosion U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 15, 31, 39, 103, 112, Winddrift Condominiums, 133 Sibley Holmes Trail, 73 132,137,197 winds. See hurricanes Silver Cay, 99 U.S. Capitol Corporation, 132 Wolf Bay, 5, 52, 69, 70 Simmons Bayou, tog U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 24, 43 site safety, 6, 7, 8, 17, 50-123 passim, 138-66 passim U.S. Geodetic Survey, 50 snow fencing, 56, 59, 73 U.S. Highway go, 12, 17, 105, 112, 118, 123 Soto, Hernando de, 8 South Carolina coast, 99, 134 vegetation, 5, 7, 32, 51, 53, 54, 55, 62, 69, 123, 188 South Fork Deer River, 95 patterns, 58 Southern Memorial Park, 118 stabilizing, ig, 34, 56, 58, 59, 65, 73, 76, 188, zoo, Southern Standard Building Code, 15, 112, 135-36, 201 163,207 V-zones (velocity zones), 126, 127, 128, 133, 134, 136, Spangler, Byron, 163 143,148 Spanish, as explorers, 8, to Spanish Fort, go washover channels. See overwash Spits, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29 waste disposal, 7, 61. See also septic tank systems and stabilization. See shoreline engineering sewage Standard Building Code, 135, 136, 158, t64 water storm surge, to, 18, 19, 20, 53, 54, 56, 58, 64, 65, 69, ground, 53, 59, 6o, 69 70, 72, 76, 81, 82, 83, 84, 98, io5, 115, 118, 123, problems, 6o-62, 70, 71 142,199 resources, 6o-62, 68, 82, 188, 198 Sun Belt, 1, 124 Water Street (Mobile), 94 Sunny Cove, 95 Watts Bayou, 121 Surf Club and Marina (Perdido Key), 133 Waveland, 16, 37, 45, 49, 115, 121-23 surf zones, 26, 29 waves (wave energy), 1, 26, 27, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 41, Surfside Shores, 8o, 81, 82 42, 47, 51, 54, 55, 56, 58, 59, 6o, 65, 69, 70, 72, I I 'K-jd.0jl?- DATE DUE i i I I GAYLORD No. 2333 1PRINTED IN USA Ecology /environment Living with the shore Living with the Alabama -Mississippi shore 0 Easy-to-follow discussion of the dynamics of shoreline change; The Alabama-Mississippi shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico eWays to guard yourself from the hazards of hurricanes; boasts some of the world's most beautiful beaches and balmiest climes. Ever-increasing numbers of retirees, recreation lovers, and 9Photographs, drawings, maps, and checklists for further read- industries with their work forces are being attracted to the "Sun Ang; Belt- " On a soft April day the Gulf's waters look as peaceful as a pond. 9And guides to federal, state, and local agencies involved in Yet this same serene shoreline has been ravaged by seven major coastal development that will be of value to the homeowner, hurricanes during this century. Several years more than one fear- planner, or developer. ful storm has come hurtling in during a single "season." Loss of life and property damage have been devastating. And newcomers This volume is the eighth book in the Living with the shore seem almost unaware of the potential dangers. series, which will include more than twenty books on coastal living The authors of this book offer a vivid, historical overview for and management, to be published under the general editorship Pf understanding the environment of the Alabama-Mississippi shore. Orrin H. Pilkey, Jr., Duke University, and William J. Neal, Grand They describe the risks faced by new residents, and they point the Valley State College of Michigan. Ultimately the series will cover way toward safe and sane coastal development. the entire Atlantic and Pacific shorelines as well as the Great Written for the layman, this richly illustrated volume includes: Lakes. In addition, Duke University Press has reissued in a new edition The Beaches are Moving: 7he Drowning of America's Shoreline, by Wallace Kaufman and Orrin H. Pilkey, Jr., which � Specific guidelines for building and buying at the shore with serves as an introduction and background to the series, covering maximum protection for your investment and yourself; the basic issues that are applied to specific coastlines in the vol- umes of the series. � Site-safety maps and descriptions for every stretch along the The series editors also have 'written Coastal Design: A Guide coastline from Perdido Key to Bay St. Louis in enough detail for Builders, Planners, and Home Owners, which concentrates to help you find your specific homesite; on safe construction principles for builders (available from Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., Inc.). � Up-to-date advice on land use and the law; Duke University Press Durham, North Carolina ISBN 0-8223-0511-9 3 6668 00000 0119