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Monitoring and modeling shoreline response due to shoreface nourishment on a high-energy coast

June 2, 2015

Shoreface nourishment can be an efficient technique to feed sediment into the littoral zone without the order of magnitude cost increase incurred by directly nourishing the beach. An erosion hot spot at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, California, USA, threatens valuable public infrastructure as well as safe recreational use of the beach. In an effort to reduce the erosion at this location, a new beneficial reuse plan was implemented in May 2005 for the sediment dredged annually from the main shipping channel at the mouth of San Francisco Bay. From 2005 to 2007, approximately 230,000 m of sand was placed annually at depths between 9 and 14 m, in a location where strong tidal currents and open-ocean waves could potentially feed sediment onto the section of beach experiencing critical erosion. The evolution of the disposal mound and adjacent beach were monitored with 12 multibeam bathymetric surveys, and over 40 high-resolution beach topographic surveys. In addition, sediment transport processes were investigated using sediment grab samples, acoustic Doppler profilers, and two separate models: a cross-shore profile model (UNIBEST-TC) and a coastal area model (Delft3D). The results of the monitoring and modeling demonstrate that the disposal mound may be effective in dissipating wave energy striking this vulnerable stretch of coast with negligible shadowing effects, but a positive shoreline response can only be achieved by placing the sediment in water depths less than 5 m.