Water And Oceanography

Impacts Humans have on Coastal Zones



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Humans impact coastal zones more than they ever think. Building on the sand, or putting up walls to try to prevent flooding puts considerable strain on the coastal areas.  Uses the beach and walking on the grasses thins them but also disperses the seeds so the grasses eventually disappear.

Putting up a wall around coastal zones damages the beaches by making them smaller. When builders do this, they do not take into account that the shoreline will lessen. Research has proven that walls, though made to prevent flooding in the area, cause the sand and soon the beach itself to disappear. The retaining wall prevents the natural shifting of the sand so most of the sand returns to the bottom of the ocean, and the shoreline is no more.

Research also has proven that humans going to the beach have changed the whole grassland ecosystem that existed there. Many coastal areas in Oregon and Washington had meadows of grasses. Today, because of humans riding their ATVs and mountain bikes and hiking on the grasses, they have dispersed the grass, so much that, near the shore, no grass lives. Dunes, that once had grass covering them, are gone.

Most people do not understand the problem. Grass holds the sand in so that it does not fly away to some other area. Without it, soon beaches will no longer exist. To thrive, coastal areas need plants. Winds blow at the beaches more so than any other ecosystem. So that, not only does sand return to the ocean, but lands on people's property, and in places where it is not required.

Garbage impacts the coastal zone. Fishing lines and bottle tabs can kill birds. It may not seem important to people that they leave the broken lines at the beach, but animals suffocate from those lines. The tabs from cans cut and maim the animals that just look for food. Any garbage is something that animals will think is food. Plastic bags pose a big problem but animals. They catch their necks in the handles and die because they do not know how to get out.

Things that seem common to humans pose a risk and danger to animals whose home human visit. Next time you visit the coastal area, remember that soil and grass are food and homes to the creatures that live there, and walls and litter brings harm to the area.     


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