Don’t Let Coastal Communities Disappear Into the Sea

Target: Scott Spellmon, Chief of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Goal: Support dynamic revetment as anti-erosion initiative nationwide.

A few short years ago, a Washington bay town was on a slow and seemingly inevitable march toward death. By all estimates, North Cove and its coastal lands would live up to their nickname of Washaway Beach and literally be swept away into the Pacific Northwest’s unforgiving waters. A changing climate and land and water mismanagement were to doom homes and communities already succumbing to the sea. After a failed cascade of initiatives intended to stop the erosion, the only apparent hope rested in costly construction buffers…until an ancient and simple approach literally turned the tide.

A diverse collection of interested parties united to try the cost-effective technique of dynamic revetment. This process utilizes cobble—which consists of rocks and wood, among other materials—to prevent erosion. Aside from its low cost, the best thing about this method is that it’s entirely natural. All of the materials are natural materials, and the plan itself mirrors nature’s process of creating dunes. After a several-year trial period, the technique appears to be working. The area once deemed the fastest-eroding region on the west coast is no longer in crisis status, and retreat is cautiously giving way to expansion.

Engineers have taken notice, and they believe this time-tested approach could be incredibly beneficial to other coastal areas beset by unprecedented challenges. Sign the petition below to encourage robust investment in this affordable and environmentally friendly solution.


Dear Lieutenant-General Spellmon,

Coastal areas are bearing a tremendous burden in the climate crisis, as entire communities stand at risk. Washington’s Washaway Beach was once a harbinger and a warning example. Now, thanks to commitment and diligence, it could be an example of a positive path forward.

Dynamic cobble bern revetment has not yet entirely saved North Cove, but it has given the town what once seemed impossible: a fighting chance. When officials seemingly gave up, tribes, scientists, engineers, and so many more stepped up and revived this old but effective technique. And they achieved this feat at a low cost to the economy and to the environment.

Please utilize this success story as a template. Invest in the promise and potential of dynamic revetment so that all coastal regions can truly experience a dynamic rebirth.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Sam Beeber

One Comment

  1. First lesson – DON’T build on near coastal areas and floodplains! But if you’re already there and the water is rising, then this shore buildup with cobble may help.

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