Paul D. Komar, Thomas A. Terich


Bayocean Spit, separating Tillamook Bay from the Pacific Ocean on the north Oregon coast, underwent severe erosion following construction of a north jetty at the bay entrance in 1914-17. This erosion ultimately led to the complete breaching of the spit in 1952. Simultaneous to the spit erosion south of the entrance, the shoreline north of the north jetty advanced seaward by some 600 m (2000 ft). This pattern of erosion and deposition following jetty construction has generally been interpreted as the jetty blocking a large north to south net littoral drift in the area, estimated by a previous study at 620,000 m3/yr (800,000 yd3/yr). Our reexamination of the shoreline changes and patterns of erosion and deposition following jetty construction disagrees with this interpretation, and instead we conclude that all of the changes resulted from local rearrangements of the beach due to the disrupted equilibrium following jetty construction, but at the same time maintaining an overall condition of zero net littoral drift. This interpretation is supported by other evidence that indicates a near-zero net drift on this portion of the Oregon coast. Thus severe coastal erosion can result from jetty construction even in areas of zero net littoral drift. A new south jetty has been recently completed (1974). The result has been further realignments of the shoreline with accretion and shore-: line advance immediately south of the south jetty. This provides further confirmation that a zero net littoral drift exists in the area. This study also demonstrates the effects of building only a single jetty rather than a pair of jetties. Following construction of the north jetty, the outer bar or ebb-tide delta at the Tillamook Bay inlet grew appreciably in size.


jetty; Tillamook Bay; Oregon

Full Text: