Approaches for Coastal Erosion Control

Session Notes

The evolution of coastal erosion control technology: Peter Hanrahan, E J Prescott, Inc.
Peter Hanrahan’s Presentation
How have technology and best management practices for coastal erosion control evolved up until the present time? In many coastal areas, conventional hard armor practices have either fallen out of favor or been outlawed. We have learned a great deal about the complexity of coastal zones and the impact of poorly thought-out solutions. In response to these challenges, innovative approaches have evolved rapidly over the past few decades, including approaches from a regulatory, environmental, legal and public perspective.

Maine’s largest beach scraping effort: Steve Dickson, Maine Geological Survey
Steve Dickson’s Presentation
In December 2011 Maine’s largest beach scraping effort was undertaken at Popham Beach State Park in Phippsburg. This effort was designed to work with natural processes and accelerate shoreward sand bar’s movement in front of a bath house threatened by erosion. The bath house, initially planned to be over 500 feet behind dunes, was on the brink of being undermined by erosion with one or two more winter storms. The beach scraping effort included preservation of piping plover habitat, and we now have outcomes and shoreline trends over the last two years.

Beach landscaping and dune restoration: Sue Schaller, Bar Mills Ecological
Sue Scahller’s Presentation (15 MB PDF)
Native landscaping is a form of habitat restoration; it provides resources to support wildlife, may improve protection from storm surge, is attractive to look at, can create privacy, improve property values, and is more sustainable over the long term. Habitat restoration in frontal dune systems is especially rewarding and can strengthen property values. Landscaping practices by individual property owners can significantly affect the quality of adjacent dune habitats for wildlife now and in the future, as well water quality of nearby swimming beaches. This program offers landowners a few easy guidelines to create a more natural (and native) habitat that reduces long term costs, maintenance, the need for using pesticides and fertilizers, and contamination of the water we swim. In the process, landowners can achieve a more resilient landscape that is attractive, that reflects our sense of place when we go to the coast, and that supports native birds, butterflies and wildlife. The 2007 Patriot’s Day Storm was a Class 1 hurricane that resulted in large losses of the frontal dune along Old Orchard Beach. FEMA funding helped make initial repairs and the Town has worked to maintain those repairs since. Private property owners are becoming more aware of the value of the dunes in protecting adjacent residences and business and have adopted similar practices on their own property. The result is a more continuous dune which helps intercept energy from storm waves and is gradually increasing in elevation, thus adding to the protection this resource provides.

Considering state and federal regulations: Marybeth Richardson, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and Jay Clement, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Marybeth Richardson’s Presentation (6 MB PDF)
A general overview of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s Coastal Sand Dune Rules includes information specifically focused on how dune construction and erosion management activities are regulated by the Rules. These activities also are regulated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Session Notes (PDF)