COASTAL EROSION MANAGEMENT AT YUCATAN, MEXICO: ENGINEERING EFFORTS AND EXPERIENCES

Mariana Berenice Gonzalez Leija, Enrique Alvarez del Rio

Abstract


The coast of Yucatan, located in the Gulf of Mexico, is a fragile island barrier system where beach erosion has turned into a problem since the last 25 years. This, in combination with hurricane strikes (Gilbert (1988), Isidore (2002)), led to environmental damages along about 300 km, in 60 km of which, the coastal infra-structure is at risk; fact that decreased the coastal development. Mitigate the erosion required emergency protection works mainly made by beach property owners. The lack of planning and engineering design resulted in areas with high ero-sion rates and the destruction of neighboring beaches and properties.
Among the most important causes that enhanced erosion phenomena along Yucatan are: construction of Progreso pier affecting littoral drift causing ero-sion at the west side beaches, shore normal rock-timber and sand-bags groins constructed empirically by property owners accelerating erosion and stimu-lating even more groin construction, during 90´s groin construction shifted to the east (up-drift) of Progreso Port, and in the last 25 years urban, touristic and fisher industries growth in the region, force the construction of jetties for small harbours along the coast. Axis Ingeniería, and academic research institutions, in conjunction with federal and state authorities the promotion of programs for beach rehabilitation consisting on groins removal and the use of soft solutions (i.e. structures based on geosynthetics for shore protection). The Progreso Beach 7 km nourishment has been one of the most successful efforts resulting in the the development of a stable beach for about 10 years, even without maintenance works. Based on local knowledge obtained with the use of measures that have disregarded the equilibrium of sediment transport processes; Axis Ingenieria used these experiences in combination with technical, environmental legal requirements, capabilities of the local community and socioeconomic tools to implement soft and easily removal structures using geotextile tubes along the coast, that had resulted on positive experiences for beach/dune protection and recovery (i.e. Progreso to Chicxulub , Telchac and Las Coloradas beaches , Yucatan). This poster resumes the experiences from projects dealing with coastal erosion issues that AXIS Ingenieria has conducted being the goal the development and implementation of a Yucatan beach manage-ment program.

Keywords


Yucatan coast; beach erosion, coastal management

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