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Synergies between Adjacent Beach-Nourishing Communities in a Morpho-Economic Coupled Coastline Model

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Beach “nourishment” consists of placing sand on an eroding beach. The widened beach provides increased storm protection to adjacent structures and improved recreational benefits, but is most often transient, requiring on-going, repeated nourishment episodes. Numerical models of beach nourishment typically address such questions as how long a widened beach will last; economic models compare the benefits and costs of preserving a stretch of beach without regard to its geomorphic evolution. Neither have addressed the physical nor economic interactions between adjacent nourishing communities. Here, we couple a numerical model of coastline evolution and a cost-benefit model of beach nourishment, allowing adjacent communities to make dynamic nourishment decisions. Beach nourishment benefits adjacent communities both “updrift” and “downdrift.” The total amount of money spent on nourishment activities can decrease by as much as 25% when adjacent communities both conduct on-going nourishment projects, as opposed to the case where each community nourishes in isolation.

Keywords: beach nourishment; coastline models; cost-benefit models; sea-level rise

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Sun Microsystems Laboratories, Sun Microsystems Inc., Bington, Massachusetts, USA 2: Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA

Publication date: 2008-07-01

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