R.G. Dean


An attempt is made to conduct a rational assessment of the potential adverse effects of coastal armoring on adjacent shorelines and to propose methodology for mitigation, where appropriate. Specific attention is directed toward claims that armoring causes: profile steepening, increased longshore sediment transport, intensified local scour, transport of sand to substantial offshore distances, etc. The assessment presented here is based on a combination of sound principles and the availability or lack, of laboratory and field data to either support or refute the claims. Although it is found that data relating to coastal armoring effects are sparse, conclusions can be drawn. There seems to be no factual data to support the contentions that armoring causes profile steepening, increased longshore transport, transport of sand to a substantial distance offshore, or significantly delayed profile recovery following a severe erosion event. Armoring does have the potential to cause intensified local scour both in front of and at the ends of an armored segment. Reasons for these effects, based on knowledge of response of a natural profile, are presented. Additionally, armoring which projects into the active surf zone can act as a partial barrier to the net longshore sediment transport, thereby causing downdrift erosion. Methodology is presented for quantifying the appropriate mitigation for a particular armoring situation. The proposed mitigation is the annual placement of sand in the vicinity of the armoring to offset its potential adverse effects. The two potential adverse effects addressed in the methodology include the reduction of sediment supplied to the system as a result of the armoring and the blockage of longshore sediment transport by a protruding armoring installation.


coastal armoring; armor effects; armor principles; armor mitigation

Full Text: