Editors: Joseph T. Kelley, Orrin H. Pilkey, and J. Andrew G. Cooper
Sea level is rising, and yet Americans continue to develop beaches with little regard. In this volume, a group of coastal geologists discusses the startling saga of ten U.S. East and Gulf Coast shoreline communities (plus Puerto Rico and some western Europe strands) and the problems created by their inevitable interaction with natural processes in this highly dynamic geologic environment. The authors discuss the geologic context of the hazards of each site as the history of societal responses and their environmental impacts. Response to the natural coastal processes that threaten lives and buildings is carried out in a context of local, state and national politics with fixed short-term engineering solutions (beach replenishment, seawalls) generally favored over longer-term approaches (moving back, prohibition of seawalls). This essential GSA Special Paper foreshadows the impending rise of sea level and the myriad of shoreline responses and political controversies it will provoke.