Four international experts have written to the Clare Champion newspaper publicly calling on Clare County Council to be ‘diligent’ as the beach at Donald Trump’s Doonbeg golf course is ‘still under threat’ from revised proposals.
 
The authors of ‘The World’s Beaches, A Global Guide to the Science of the Shoreline’, point out that ‘Dune erosion is part of the beach sand supply, and walls interfere with such supply. The short of it is’, they advise, that ‘seawalls destroy beaches and if that ‘solution’ is followed ‘bigger and better’ walls will be needed as the wave size increases and sea-level rises.’
 
The authors conclude ‘We believe that the public may not be aware that, in effect, the proposed work at Doonbeg Golf course project hasn’t really changed and still involves beach-destroying seawalls.’
 
Instead of walls to protect the golf course, the authors recommend that ‘the currently affected holes can be located further from the shoreline if the need arises (most likely at less cost than constructing/maintaining walls). This approach will preserve the beach for future generations, maintain the recreational course, and set a good example for future Irish coastal management in this time of rapidly rising sea levels.’
 
The local and international groups opposing Trump's Doonbeg Wall are being assisted by Save the Waves, an American coalition that works pro-actively with local communities to ensure long term coastal conservation around the world. The #NatureTrumpsWalls coalition will be writing to the Council to object to Trump's latest plan.
 
The groups have written to the more than 100,000 people worldwide who signed a petition against the initial proposal for a 2.8 kilometre wall asking them to support their objection to the Council.
 
The deadline for comment on the new proposal is 3 February, 2017. The website set up for this mass action is at http://www.savethewaves.org/objection/.

 

ENDS
 
Spokespersons:


Save the Waves: Nick Mucha, (US) 00-1-831-345-4837
West Coast Surf Club: Dave Flynn 087-6292335
Friends of the Irish Environment: Tony Lowes 087-2176316

Friends of the Earth: Oisin Coghlan, 087-8529528

 

Notes to the Editor:

 

#NatureTrumpsWalls is a coalition of organizations including Save The Waves, Friends of the Irish Environment, Save Doughmore Beach Group, Friends of the Earth Ireland, West Coast Surf Club, Irish Surfing Association, and Surfrider Foundation Europe.
 
Letter to Clare Champion
 
Dear Editor,
           

Donald Trump’s campaign, and now as U.S. president-elect, has brought publicity to his business dealings, including the TIGL Doonbeg Golf Resort in Ireland and the proposed seawall to combat erosion.  The justification for the wall was the claim the seawall is needed because of climate change and continuing sea level rise. But president-elect Trump has characterized climate change as a hoax, so this rationale for the seawall is hypocritical.  Recently, considerable publicity was given to the fact that the application for the seawall was withdrawn; some claiming a sort of victory.   However, we believe the Council should be diligent as the beach/dune system is still under threat from a revised seawalls plan.
 
Our understanding is that a revised application has been submitted to build two shorter walls (i.e., one 650 meters and one 250 meters long), instead of the original proposed 2.8 km wall. This smaller scale proposal is far from benign.
 
Much international experience has proven that seawalls beget seawalls, and once these smaller walls are constructed, accelerated erosion will occur at the ends of the walls as well as beach steepening and probable narrowing in front of the walls.  Dune erosion is part of the beach sand supply, and walls interfere with such supply.  You will then be faced with applications to extend the “short” walls or to take other actions that will destroy the natural system of this beautiful shore. The short of it is: seawalls destroy beaches and if that ‘solution’ is followed ‘bigger and better’ walls will be needed as the wave size increases and sea-level rises.
 
Given the golf-course developers new seawall proposal, this is not the time for coastal managers to drop their diligence. We believe that the public may not be aware that, in effect, the proposed work at Doonbeg Golf course project hasn’t really changed and still involves emplacement of beach-destroying seawalls.
 
As coastal geologists (all co-authors of ‘The Worlds’ Beaches,’ UC Press), we urge Clare County Council to turn down any request for any seawall or other shore-hardening structures, short or long, to ‘protect’ any part of the golf course. Rather, the currently affected holes can be located further from the shoreline if the need arises (most likely at less cost than constructing/maintaining walls). This approach will preserve the beach for future generations, maintain the recreational course, and set a good example for future Irish coastal management in this time of rapidly rising sea levels.

 

Respectfully yours,

 

William J, Neal, Emeritus Professor of Geology, Grand Valley State University: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Orrin Pilkey, James B. Duke Emeritus Professor of Earth Science, Duke University:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Andrew Cooper, Professor of Coastal Studies, University of Ulster: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Joseph Kelley, Professor of Geology, University of Maine: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

 

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