2019 Beaches Conference Concurrent 2 Long Descriptions – Dynamic Coasts

Dynamic Coasts: Using Science to Inform Forecasts, Management, and Policy

Two significant forces shape the coastline: nature and human society. Where these two forces intersect is often the site of conflict. This session will explore the nature of coastal processes at several locations along the Northeast Atlantic Coast where this conflict results in management challenges. Joe Kelley will chronicle the history of coastal change at Camp Ellis, in Saco, Maine and discuss alternative courses of action for the future. Emily Mitchell’s focus will be on sediment transport and littoral dynamics, as well as the value of integrating these processes to inform coastal management and policy. Tom Shyka and John Cannon will explain the process of wave run up and how a new model can help predict the possibility of dune erosion, overwash, and flooding at specific beach locations.

Robert Furman

History of Coastal Changes at Camp Ellis

News accounts, government statements and public anecdotes provide a confusing history of coastal changes at Camp Ellis. This talk will help to structure our understanding of this area by using geological observations, historic maps and photos and published accounts of observed changes, and to suggest what options exist for the future. The story breaks down into: 1) a pre-development period; 2) an industrial period, 3) a residential period and 4) the future. The first period involved the purely geological processes the built the modern Saco Bay shoreline. The other three times are centered on a critical decision that profoundly brought people into conflict with historic processes: a) whether to build the jetties; b) whether to deauthorize the jetties and c) how to contain the erosion problem. There were and remain several opinions on the best course of action. Scientific work will be invoked only to illustrate answers to early assumptions. For example, recent multibeam bathymetry demonstrates that “holes” in the Saco Estuary bottom are dynamic pass-through areas for sand and not “sinks” that prevent sand from reaching the beach.

Joseph Kelley

Littoral Dynamics and Public Policy

The northeast coast of the United States is characterized as a megalopolis stretching from Boston, Massachusetts to Washington, DC. With over 45 million people living in this coastal region, two significant forces shape the shoreline: human society and nature. Much is known about the socio-economic growth and development of the region including its built environment, less so about the natural process of sediment transport and littoral dynamics that shape the shoreline. Yet around the world, scientists are investigating how alongshore natural processes work with an eye toward better informing coastal management. Emily will explore how northeastern US states do/might integrate littoral dynamics science into coastal management and governance principles, and the degree to which coastal management laws and policies in the coastal states of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey have integrated sediment transport and/or littoral dynamic principles. By comparing the efforts in these states to areas that have already embarked on this type of work, prospects for more relevant and sophisticated science informed coastal management will be highlighted.

Emily Mitchell

Powerful Storms, Battering Waves

Powerful East Coast storms and their associated storm tides and large, battering waves can lead to severe coastal change through erosion and re-deposition of beach sediment. The Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS) and the National Weather Service (NWS) offices in Gray and Caribou, Maine have collaborated on the development of a wave run up forecast tool. This web based tool utilizes a wave run up model developed by the US Geological Survey, which predicts the possibility of dune erosion, overwash, and inundation/flooding at specific beach locations. Tom and John will provide an overview of wave run up and its potential impacts on a beach system, a demonstration of the web based wave run up tool, and a set of coastal storm case studies that illustrate the use of the tool and the impacts of coastal storms. We hope that the audience will gain a better understanding of wave run up, its impacts and learn how they can access wave run up forecasts for specific beach locations.

Tom Shyka
John Cannon