Pros and Cons of Beach Jetties

Brigantine Jetty

BrigantineNOW Reader Feedback from ‘John’. Things that need to be considered when talking “beach jetties”.

Natural Flow.

Erosion is a natural part of the cycle of the beach. The natural flow of water deposits sand at times and then removes it at other times. During the cycle the beach may have a great deal of sand or very little, but over time it balances out. Humans desire to eliminate the part of the cycle with erosion control. Jetties interrupt the natural flow of water and sand in an attempt to control erosion with corresponding effects.


One effect from the erection of jetties for erosion control is the accumulation of sand and sediment behind the jetty. The jetty prevents the natural flow of water and the sand and sediment that are carried with the flow cannot get past the structure. This accumulation reverses erosion and provides extra sand for the beaches behind the jetty. This accumulation creates unintended consequences for other beaches.

Down Drift.

While jetties accumulate sand on the up drift side, the opposite effect occurs on the down drift side. The jetty causes erosion due to the lack of sand which is caught on the other side. The solution is to erect another jetty, but the process never ends. Eventually there will be a last jetty and the beach and land on its down drift side will suffer the consequences of erosion. Jetties built to control erosion end up causing it. This effect is the reason for jetties no longer being a preferred method of erosion control.

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4 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Beach Jetties”

  1. Thanks for your information John. I would say that the unintended consequences that were caused by the South jetties now need to be counteracted by North Jetties. ALSO, The damage that is done to back-bays during the replenishments needs to be considered. The sand that is pumped but not distributed onto the beaches ends up in the back-bay waterways creating un-navigatable streams with sandbars. So is the solution to- rip out the South jetties OR replenish the beaches and suffer the bays every 4 years. In any event, a solution and budgeting for this problem MUST be done now.

    1. Frank Brettschneider

      BS. Jetties retain sand but don’t steal down stream. It just looks like it because they erode and are not protected. Always amazed when experts show how brainwashed they are. I live on Lake Huron and have observed the benefits of jetties. The people without them experience erosion. It’s not caused by the other jetties. Erosion is natural.

  2. Important Ocean Guy

    I agree with you bonnie. The damage done by the south jettie is absolutely unnaceptable. But don’t worry! Mr. President Trump’s most important concern are these jetties. !!!

  3. Again,vIm no scientist but aren’t a lot of the beaches we’re trying to protect adjacent to man-made inlets that were created when the ICWW was built??
    When the ICWW was built all the “natural” errosion / deposits were altered greatly so how do we look at the science and presume any cycle being natural?

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