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Beach Morphology Monitoring Program
Beach Profiles

Cross-shore beach profiles are collected at approximately 50 locations in the littoral cell (beach profile sites).  Profile locations are typically coincident with the location of a control network monument.  Starting in summer 1997, profiles were collected bi-annually.  Since fall 1998, however, they have been collected quarterly.  Summer surveys are conducted in late August and September, fall surveys in December, winter surveys in February and March, and spring surveys are performed in June.  It typically takes 10 spring low tides (approximately five full days) to complete the profiles, however, there can be several weeks separating profile collection dates within any one survey campaign.

Beach profiles are measured by walking with a GPS receiver and antenna mounted to a backpack from the landward edge of the primary dune, over the dune crest, to wading depth during a spring low tide.  The survey-grade GPS equipment used in the beach monitoring program is accurate to approximately 2.0-cm (0.75-in) in both the horizontal and vertical position.  GPS is not as accurate as standard terrestrial surveying using a rod and level, however, its use is justified by both the reduction in survey time and the magnitude of change observed on the high-energy beaches of the CRLC.  The methodology used in the monitoring program to collect beach profiles can reliably detect beach elevation change greater than approximately 4.0- to 5.0- cm (1.5- to 2.0 in) due to the variability of a GPS operator walking on the beach.

Beach profile 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