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COASTAL SYSTEM VARIABILITY OF THE BEACH-NEARSHORE ENVIRONMENT FROM NATURAL AND ANTHROPOGENIC INFLUENCES

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Date Issued:
2022
Abstract/Description:
The coastal system provides habitat, storm protection, and economic value. In particular, Florida’s beaches are subject to chronic coastal erosion resulting from natural and anthropogenic influences. The most common mitigation response is the nature-based solution of beach nourishment. While this method is widely considered effective, quantifying changes from the dredge and placement on the physical environment is critical to ensure best management practices. The first step in addressing the need to identify gaps in knowledge relating to natural and human-induced changes to the continental shelf, a comprehensive literature review of the US East and Gulf coast continental shelves was conducted identifying needs for more expansive sand searches, a greater understanding of storm impacts on shelf morphodynamics, planning for long-term use of offshore sediment sources, and the impact of dredging on habitats. This study then evaluated the northern Palm Beach County beaches adjacent to the Jupiter Inlet over multiple years to understand the effects of natural and human influence on the morphology and sedimentology of the beach-nearshore environment. Beach sediment was coarser near the Inlet and finer downdrift (south). Seasonal changes in the nearshore from storms decreased the grain size and eroded beaches, whereas nourishment increased grain size and expanded beach width. Influences of physical characteristics of the beach-nearshore environment on the ecosystem were examined based on two important marine species: loggerhead sea turtles and blacktip sharks. No adverse impacts from restoration activities were found on loggerhead reproductive success. However, the active 2020 hurricane season resulted in lower reproductive success metrics. The blacktip shark migration coincides with the typical nourishment construction window. High turbidity in the nearshore was documented in association with multiple nourishment events during the two-year study. The blacktip sharks were quantified in the nearshore south of the nourishment; however, whether the turbidity was influencing the shark aggregates or habitat preference remains unknown. These results support numerous benefits of beach nourishment but suggest further research is needed to evaluate how project construction may impact nearshore fauna. The findings of this study are important for coastal managers who may consider reviewing best management practices of the beach-nearshore system.
Title: COASTAL SYSTEM VARIABILITY OF THE BEACH-NEARSHORE ENVIRONMENT FROM NATURAL AND ANTHROPOGENIC INFLUENCES.
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Name(s): Brown, Nicholas , author
Briggs, Tiffany Roberts , Thesis advisor
Florida Atlantic University, Degree grantor
Department of Geosciences
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Date Created: 2022
Date Issued: 2022
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, Fla.
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 185 p.
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: The coastal system provides habitat, storm protection, and economic value. In particular, Florida’s beaches are subject to chronic coastal erosion resulting from natural and anthropogenic influences. The most common mitigation response is the nature-based solution of beach nourishment. While this method is widely considered effective, quantifying changes from the dredge and placement on the physical environment is critical to ensure best management practices. The first step in addressing the need to identify gaps in knowledge relating to natural and human-induced changes to the continental shelf, a comprehensive literature review of the US East and Gulf coast continental shelves was conducted identifying needs for more expansive sand searches, a greater understanding of storm impacts on shelf morphodynamics, planning for long-term use of offshore sediment sources, and the impact of dredging on habitats. This study then evaluated the northern Palm Beach County beaches adjacent to the Jupiter Inlet over multiple years to understand the effects of natural and human influence on the morphology and sedimentology of the beach-nearshore environment. Beach sediment was coarser near the Inlet and finer downdrift (south). Seasonal changes in the nearshore from storms decreased the grain size and eroded beaches, whereas nourishment increased grain size and expanded beach width. Influences of physical characteristics of the beach-nearshore environment on the ecosystem were examined based on two important marine species: loggerhead sea turtles and blacktip sharks. No adverse impacts from restoration activities were found on loggerhead reproductive success. However, the active 2020 hurricane season resulted in lower reproductive success metrics. The blacktip shark migration coincides with the typical nourishment construction window. High turbidity in the nearshore was documented in association with multiple nourishment events during the two-year study. The blacktip sharks were quantified in the nearshore south of the nourishment; however, whether the turbidity was influencing the shark aggregates or habitat preference remains unknown. These results support numerous benefits of beach nourishment but suggest further research is needed to evaluate how project construction may impact nearshore fauna. The findings of this study are important for coastal managers who may consider reviewing best management practices of the beach-nearshore system.
Identifier: FA00013982 (IID)
Degree granted: Dissertation (Ph.D.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2022.
Collection: FAU Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection
Note(s): Includes bibliography.
Subject(s): Coastal zone management
Beach nourishment
Coastal zone management--Florida
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00013982
Use and Reproduction: Copyright © is held by the author with permission granted to Florida Atlantic University to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Use and Reproduction: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
Host Institution: FAU
Is Part of Series: Florida Atlantic University Digital Library Collections.