Building Coastal Resilience in the State of Connecticut Via Strategic Sediment Management

Authors: James Tait*, Southern Connecticut State University
Topics: Coastal and Marine, Hazards and Vulnerability, Geomorphology
Keywords: Coastal Resilience, Beaches, Hurricanes
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Stones Throw 1 - Granite, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Research in the wake of hurricanes Sandy and Irene reveals that beach height and width play a critical role in controlling the extent of storm wave damage to coastal structures and infrastructure. Storm waves do work (expend energy) in the sense of physics when they break on the shoreline by driving turbulence, suspending and transporting sand, and dismantling structures. In the case of structures being protected by wide sandy beaches, this work is limited to the first two cases. Unfortunately, Connecticut’s beaches are chronically erosive due to energy asymmetry in the seasonal wave field and to human interference with the natural pathways of sediment supply. As a result, Connecticut’s beaches must be artificially maintained. However, access to suitable nourishment material has grown increasingly problematic because of a decreasing availability of sand and the corresponding increase the cost. In the town of West Haven, for example, the cost of replenishment has risen 8,944 percent since the 1950’s. The purpose of this paper is to suggest that sediment management using three-dimensional imaging and conservation of mass calculations can provide a sustainable alternative and allow for strategic management of coastal sediments.

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