Lake Erie Shore Erosion: The Effect of Beach Width and Shore Protection Structures


  • Charles H. Carter
  • Charles B. Monroe
  • Donald E. Guy, Jr.


Beach widths, Lake Erie, lake processes, shore erosion, shore protection structures


Erosion rates along the 286-km Ohio shore show an overall decrease from the early period (1876-1938) to the late (1938-1973) in spite of record-breaking high lake levels in the late period. Bivariate analyses show a consistent decrease in erosion rates as beach widths increase or as the number of shore protection structures increase for glaciolacustrine clay and till (the most common shore deposit). On the other hand, there is a less consistent decrease in rates for sand and shale. Multivariate analyses of the same variables show a more consistent overall decrease in erosion rates as both beach widths and shore protection structures increase. The decrease in erosion leads to an interesting scientific and social dilemma as the shore is the source of most of the beach sand.