Beach no longer a washout

February 27, 2004

Ulster University researchers have been vindicated in their "don't panic" approach to a disappearing beach in Donegal.

Over the past few years, the beach at Five-Finger Strand lost all its sand, much to the dismay of the public. Pressure grew on Donegal County Council to do something about the gravelly surface.

UU's coastal research group conducted a study that predicted that the beach would return as waves moved sand back onshore.

Andrew Cooper, the group's head, said the sand had been stored offshore in a delta.

"Over the past month, significant amounts of sand have moved onshore and much more is still on its way as the delta disintegrates," he said.

"All too often, we rush to put defences on the coastline, and in many cases these can be a waste of money at best and detrimental at worst. Beaches are an ideal natural defence against the power of the sea and as far as possible we should allow them to fluctuate freely," Dr Cooper said.

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