What causes erosion?
The main causes for shoreline erosion are natural terrestrial, natural aquatin, and human influences.
Natural Shoreline Erosion Causes
Natural causes of shoreline erosion include splash, waves, ice, storm water, wind, frost action, soil creep, and slumping.
Human Shoreline Erosion Causes
Human causes of shoreline erosion include elevation change, vegetation removal, and driveway/structure installation.
The Michigan Shoreline Partnership states, the “two most destructive actions” that lead to shoreline erosion are removing natural vegetation and building seawalls or “hardening of the shoreline” in any way (Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership, 2019).
Shoreline hardening causes more issues than it solves in the long term.
“Seawalls also prevent the absorption of wave energy. When a wave hits a wall — rather than vegetation or soil — the energy is not absorbed, and therefore, is directed elsewhere. Usually, it goes downward toward the lake bottom, where it “scoops” out the soil there. This event is called “scour.” Scouring leads to more habitat loss AND makes the lake deeper until the seawall is no longer viable and the water undercuts it. Scouring also makes the water cloudy, algae-filled, and all together much less pleasant for lake life and people.
Not only do seawalls mess with the lake, but they also mess with neighbors. A phenomena called “wave flanking” happens when a wave hits a seawall and is directed sideways instead of downwards. The wave redirects toward neighboring property which causes erosion damage to those beaches. You can see how this causes somewhat of a domino effect. When one seawall is installed, neighboring seawalls are required to handle the wave flanking, and a vicious and unnatural cycle continues to wreak havoc on the lakes (Shoreline Erosion: A Complete Guide, SuperiorGroundcover.com).”
TrapBags® conversely offer a less disruptive solution.
Other coastal erosion prevention applications, such as stone breakwaters and seawalls, are more disruptive to the existing shoreline and the organisms that inhabit it. TrapBags® give mother nature a chance to regrow vegetation and regenerate a living shoreline complex. Installing TrapBags® are also much less expensive than installing a seawall or sheet piling.