Project Performance: Ocean City, Maryland Beach Nourishment

by Donald K. Stauble, Coastal Engineering Research Cent, Vicksburg, United States,
Nicholas C. Kraus, Coastal Engineering Research Cent, Vicksburg, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Beach Nourishment Engineering and Management Considerations


Detailed monitoring of the performance of a two-phase beach nourishment project has provided valuable information on beach fill behavior and long-term response of a beach fill to prevailing coastal processes. The Atlantic Coast of Maryland (Ocean City) Shoreline Protection Project began with placement of a recreational beach by the State of Maryland during the summer of 1988. Within three months of placement, four storms impacted the area. Recovery was monitored for an additional two years. In the summers of 1990 and 1991, additional fill material including a storm protection dune was placed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a second phase for the purpose of storm protection. Within a year of the first placement, two large storms impacted the project. Initial recovery was also documented. Project monitoring included 12 profile survey lines, sediment collection, and placement of two dedicated wave gages. The beach nourishment project performed well in protecting the beachfront infrastructure of Ocean City from storm damage. The fill material was eroded from the foreshore after the major storms of 1989 and 1991/92, but could be accounted for in the nearshore between the shoreline and closure. Two representative profile survey locations show the differential behavior of the fill controlled by nearshore bathymetric variability along the project length. The 37th Street location represents the flatter, bar/trough type profile typical of the southern portion of the fill. Localized `hot spots' of erosion occurred in areas where a shoal system attaches to the shoreface, as shown at 81st Street. The erosion pattern associated with these shoals was probably produced by wave convergence and divergence over these features. Analysis of sediment characteristics of samples collected during the State fill project showed the influence of the fill material on the native beach and the change in sorting after the passage of four storms. Composites were constructed of the foreshore and nearshore samples to account for cross-shore variability in grain size distribution. The coarsest foreshore and finest nearshore composite fill material was found in the northern end of the project, with the opposite found to the south. Storm impact placed coarse foreshore lag material at the erosional 81st Street location and finer material at the more stable 37th Street location. After 9 months, the fill material was taking on the characteristics of the pre-fill native beach.

Subject Headings: Beach protection and nourishment | Project management | Fills | Ocean engineering | Storms | Coastal management | Composite materials | Material properties | Maryland | United States

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