Alternative Shoreline Armoring

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'We have begun to observe effects of shoreline armoring at both local and beach system scales (Dethier et al 2016). A wide range of technologies are being employed that attempt to provide some ecosystem services while still preventing coastal shoreline erosion. These methods are as diverse as the shorelines they are designed to protect. Different language is used in different settings to describe different combinations of techniques, but methods generally involve some combination of one or more of the following:

  • Placement of rocks to deflect wave energy
  • Placement of log structures to deflect wave energy
  • Configuration of armoring to create protected beaches
  • Setback of armoring to higher elevations
  • Beach nourishment to change the slope or texture of a beach
  • Embedding armoring in the beach for grade control
  • Regrading the backshore to reduce slope and increase wave energy dissipation
  • Integration of vegetation into shoreline developements
  • Construction of terraces to increase intertidal surfaces

While coastal armoring alternatives may increase local ecosystem functions, as they are designed to prevent erosion of coastal sedimentparticles of clay, silt, sand, gravel, or cobble, transported by water, are called sediment. deposits, they do not affect beach sediment dynamics at the drift cell scale, except to the extent that beach nourish replaces natural recruitment of sediments.

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