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Beach Morphology Monitoring

In order to quantify coastal change, enhance predictive capabilities, and enable informed decision making, the Southwest Washington Coastal Erosion Study initiated a beach morphology monitoring program for the Columbia River littoral cell in summer 1997.  The primary goals of the monitoring program are to:

  1. Quantify the short- to medium-term (event—seasonal—interannual) morphologic variability of the CRLC.
  2. Develop the input data to enhance conceptual understanding and predictions of coastal change.
  3. Compare and contrast the scales of environmental forcing and beach change with other coastlines of the world.
  4. Provide relevant beach change data in an appropriate format to coastal managers.

The beach monitoring program collects the following data sets: cross-shore beach profiles, three dimensional topographic surface maps, sediment samples, and nearshore bathymetry. Cross-shore beach profiles have been collected at approximately 50 sites throughout the CRLC to establish a regional inventory of physical beach parameters, including sediment size distribution, beach slope and 2.0- and 3.0-m contour change.  Beach topographic surfaces have been mapped at sixteen 4-km (2.5-mile) sites along the CRLC to quantify the alongshore variability of beach change.  Nearshore bathymetry has also been collected along much of the littoral cell coast to document changes and variability of the beach profile out to water depths of nominally 10 m (32.8 ft).  The 1997-2001 beach profile surveys and subsequent analysis reveal substantial quantitative and qualitative information about the morphologic behaviour of CRLC beaches.

Beach monitoring links

Ecology - SEA Program | USGS - Coastal & Marine Geology

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Maintained by CMAP, Washington Department of Ecology
Address questions and comments to George Kaminsky
Modified 22 Mar 2012