Headland Breakwaters in the Chesapeake Bay

by C. S. Hardaway, Jr., Virginia Inst of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, United States,
J. R. Gunn, Virginia Inst of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91


The purpose of this paper is to document and evaluate the use of headland breakwaters in the Chesapeake Bay. Headland breakwater systems have been installed in the Chesapeake Bay since 1983. The systems occur as a series of headlands and pocket beaches. The purpose of these breakwater systems is to maintain stable beach fill for recreation on public lands or for shoreline erosion control on private properties. This paper evaluates 12 breakwater-sites in terms of pertinent parameters that include breakwater length, gap, distance offshore, and bay indentation. The linear relationship between bay indentation and breakwater gap where the ratio is 1:1.65 was the best relationship found in the correlation analysis. Shoreline management using headland breakwaters, beach fill, and marsh plantings is meant to address water quality in the Chesapeake Bay estuarine system. Marsh grass fringes planted along the backshore and/or intertidal zone create a 'absorptive' buffer to nutrient laden sediments, upland runoff and ground water from farm lands and residental lawns.

Subject Headings: Breakwaters | Bays | Beaches | Fills | Linear analysis | Water quality | Coastal management | Estuaries

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