One of the biggest threats facing humanity and the natural world today is rising sea levels. However, there are solutions to prevent lasting damage from this effect of climate change. Explore how sea level rise can negatively impact properties and coastal habitats—and what we can do about it.

What to Know About Rising Sea Levels

There has been plenty of mention on the news and in scientific communities about the effects of rising sea levels. But, what should property managers and officials in coastal communities know about this phenomenon?

Reasons Why the Sea Level Is Rising

Climate change is the main reason why sea levels are rising. As temperatures continue to reach extreme highs and lows, more ice sheets and glaciers at the polar ice caps are melting every year. Furthermore, according to NASA, seawater expands as it gets warm, causing it to take up more space.

Negative Effects of Rising Sea Levels

Many problems come with sea level rise. Here are just a few of the most harmful effects for both humans and the environment at large:

  • Shoreline erosion: As the sea level rises, shorelines are receding and beaches are shrinking, leading to the erosion of cliffs and beaches.
  • Coastal habitat loss: Plants and wildlife such as seabirds, turtles, sea lions, and crustaceans rely on shorelines to survive, meaning more animals and the plants they need will die out with repeated instances of coastal flooding.
  • Groundwater contamination: Saltwater can taint the groundwater that people, livestock, and wild animals need to drink, making it harder for them to survive along coastlines.
  • Economic ramifications: Humans have built cities, fisheries, and numerous other structures along the shorelines, all of which can be damaged or destroyed beyond restoration—costing billions of dollars every year.

Flood Protection Barriers for Rising Sea Levels

Details about the different types of flood barrier systems that can be used to protect the environment including sea walls, flood protection barriers, spill containment berms, etc. Explain how flood barrier systems in particular can be an effective option for preventing sea level rising.

While sea level rise should first and foremost be addressed with changes in human activity, there are ways to protect the environment with flood protection barriers. 

How Sea Barriers Help to Alleviate Damage from Rising Sea Levels

Flood protection barriers like TrapBag can also act as seawalls, spillways, and berns. In turn, thanks to their watertight properties that keep seawater away from the soil, these can protect areas near inlets, beaches, and coastal highways from scouring damage and other results of pounding wave action.

Benefits Flood Control Barriers Have on the Environment

Permanent and semi-permanent flood control barriers can protect shorelines by reinforcing the existing geography that’s in place. However, there are other ways that flood control barriers like TrapBag® can benefit the environment.

Preventing Chemical Spill Damage

Flood bags and watertight flood control barriers can mitigate the damage from chemical and oil spills during environmental disasters.

Protecting from Storm Surge

As tropical storms and hurricanes grow more and more intense, storm surges will continue to get worse with every storm. Using TrapBag and other flood barriers can protect shorelines, coastal marshlands, and other areas from the worst of the storm surge damage that comes when a hurricane makes landfall.

Supplementing Beach Restoration

Underwater cofferdams and offshore dikes can help with beach restoration and nourishment. This is because these submarine barriers help keep sand near shore, preventing it from washing away during periods of high tides.

How TrapBag® Has Helped the Environment

Over the years, TrapBag has worked with agencies and organizations across the world to help protect coastal environments from the impacts of rising sea levels. From the shores of Lake Michigan to the beaches of Kenya, we’ve been able to protect coastlines and rivers from causing irreversible damage to the environment, without causing as much collateral damage with concrete or riprap structures alone.

Barrow, Alaska Used TrapBag for Shoreline Protection

Even more, climate change and rising sea levels have also exacerbated shoreline erosion in Barrow, Alaska. In turn, this has caused Stevenson Street—a main road in the city that hugs the shoreline—to become damaged after rough seas and storms.

The TrapBag team came to Barrow to install TrapBag Barriers on Stevenson Street to mitigate the erosion that was damaging this essential road. Without this road operating, the community’s residents have limited access to the essentials they need from the village. While the US Army Corps of Engineers is working on a more permanent solution, the borough needs temporary protection to mitigate the erosion in the meantime.

That’s why Barrow ordered and installed 6,000 feet of TrapBags to create a 16-foot tall and 20-foot wide TrapBag system along Stevenson Street. By installing a TrapBag® barrier system inside the beach, shoreline erosion will slow down drastically to reduce the frequency, volume, and cost of beach nourishment.

Northwestern University Used TrapBag to Fortify Its Lakefill

Even though they’re inland from the ocean, the Great Lakes are just as vulnerable to sea level rise as any coastal area due to the expanding properties of warm water. Located along the shores of Lake Michigan in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Northwestern University was experiencing shoreline erosion that threatened the parklike lakeshore seawall on its campus, known as the Lakefill.

The Lakefill’s construction primarily consists of limestone quarried from around Illinois and Indiana. Because of this brittle material, it took no more than a few decades for the Lakefill to begin eroding. That’s where TrapBag came in to help.

Using a layer of TrapBag barriers, Northwestern built a rock revetment to protect the Lakefill, preventing further erosion and habitat loss that would displace hundreds of species of waterfowl and freshwater turtles.

Watamu Beach Resort Used TrapBag for Beach Recovery

On the central coast of Kenya is a premier vacation destination with white, sandy beaches called Watamu. Due to the consistent scouring and other wave actions of the Medina Palms resort’s beachfront property and rising seas, the erosion process was severely exacerbated.

Thanks in part to TrapBag adding a 2-meter retaining wall on the beach and the planting of native coastal vegetation, the Medina Palms was able to restore the white, sandy beach for which Watamu has become internationally renowned.

Prevent Rising Sea Levels in Coastal Communities

The effects of sea level rise on properties and habitats are devastating, but TrapBag can help prevent the worst of the damage. To see for yourself how a TrapBag barrier can protect shorelines, order today or call us at (239) 674-6611 to protect our coasts for tomorrow.



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