Barrier Breaching along the North Shore of Lake Erie

Authors: Jenny Gharib*, University of Windsor, Jamie Lilly, University of Windsor, Chris Houser, University of Windsor
Topics: Coastal and Marine, Geomorphology, Earth Science
Keywords: Coastal geomorphology, Barrier beach breaching, Great Lakes
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM
Room: Virtual 45
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Water levels of the Great Lakes have risen dramatically in recent years due; Lake Erie alone has seen an annual average rainfall increase of 29 inches. Increasing water levels combined with a reduction in lake ice coverage and an increase in storm wave has left barrier-beaches vulnerable to breaching. These breaches could lead to significant changes in backbarrier wetland ecosystems. While there have been several studies to examine the development of breaches and inlets in marine tidal environments, there is little information on breach development and evolution from lacustrine environments. Using monthly aerial photography and bathymetric surveys, the goal of this study is to quantify the extent of recent breaching at Point Pelee National Park and Hillman Marsh Conservation Area along the north shore of Lake Erie and assess how those breaches may evolve with changes in water levels, storm activity and lake ice.

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