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Coastal erosion Bulgaria

The Bulgarian coastline

The Bulgarian coastline is 412 km long, and consists of rock cliffs (some 60%), sand beaches (some 30%) and low-lying parts of firths, lagoons and bays (10%). The area of dunes has strongly diminished due to increased human impact; dunes now run along only 39 km of the coastline. Hard stabilization structures and harbour development cover some 10% of the coast (1).

Astronomical tidal range of the Black Sea is only 10-15 cm. Average significant wave height varies between 0.12 m in summer to 1.7 m in winter (2). Sea level rise has been increasing particularly over the last few decades (3). Average sea level rise for the western Black Sea is now 1.5-3 mm/year (4). Over the past few decades there has been an increased frequency in occurrence and intensity of extreme meteorological events, such as a sudden sea level rise (5).


70.8% of the Bulgarian coastline is eroding (6); about 48% of the sand beaches have been eroding over the last decades. Erosion is particularly severe downdrift from groins and harbours. Erosion rates have increased in Bulgaria since the 1960s, mainly as a result of uncontrolled urbanization and various human activities in the coastal zone, including reservoir building, river sand mining, port/coastal protection structures, and dredging works. Hard engineering structures that have been applied to stabilize the coast include groins, dikes and seawalls. Beach nourishments have only be used occasionally, more associated with recreational rather than protection purposes; one of the main problems is the shortage of appropriate sizes and amounts of sand.

The average rate of cliff retreat at the coast is 0.08 m/year; highest rates (0.30 m/year) occur on those areas of the north coast made up of loess (1).


The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Bulgaria.

  1. Stancheva (2013)
  2. Grozdev (2006), in: Stancheva (2013)
  3. Peychev (2004), in: Stancheva (2013)
  4. Pashova and Jovev (2007), in: Stancheva (2013)
  5. Stanchev et al. (2009), in: Stancheva (2013)
  6. Keremedchiev and Stancheva (2006), in: Stancheva (2013)