At the beginning of this year we were somewhat amazed by the works taking place at Praia do Barril. We couldn’t quite work out what they were doing, although we knew the aim was to protect the beach from the sands. In March we discovered that whatever they were doing had been swept away by the winter storms, and we were curious as to whether they would continue. And last week we discovered they had.
It seems they had been ‘raising’ the beach in the stretch immediately in front of the anchors and old tuna station. We presume that the pipes they had located in the san ds have also somehow ‘strengthened’ the sand, perhaps by lowering the water level, so it won’t be washed away. As whilst a 5ft raise seems enormous to me at 5ft2 it is nothing to the Atlantic. One of our friends thinks it might be a deliberate temporary barrier. A quick fix to protect the anchors this winter, with a longer term solution to follow next year.
I wonder if they’ve considered how the raising will impact elsewhere. We noticed that the beach to the east of the works was looking and behaving quite different to previous visits, which suggests perhaps not.
There is evidence that defences are not necessarily the best way forward, instead communities and authorities should perhaps “think about rollback, adaptation and realignment, and allow the undeveloped parts of the coast to function more naturally”. And research in Portugal has also suggested that rollback is probably the answer here, these beaches after all are nothing more than moving sandbars. I wonder though what the gulls and sanderlings think?!