Comparison of the Performance of Three Adjacent and Differently Constructed Beach Nourishment Projects on the Gulf Peninsula of Florida


  • Richard A. Davis, Jr.
  • Ping Wang
  • Brad R. Silverman


Beach nourishment, beach erosion, nearshore sediment transport, shoreline change beach profile, hurricane impact, Florida Gulf coast


Detailed beach-profile monitoring was conducted at the three phases of Sand Key beach nourishment on the Gulf Coast of Florida. The nourishment at Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, and Redington Beach was monitored during six years, four years, and eight years respectively after nourishment. Quarterly or more frequent beach and nearshore profile surveys were conducted in order to determine short-term (1 year) and long-term (4 to 8 years) rates of shoreline and beach-nearshore volume changes. The overall performance of the Sand Key beach nourishment is excellent. Redington Beach project has already exceeded the design lifetime of 7 years, and Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shore projects are likely to exceed the design lifetime. The measured beach-nearshore volume loss is small: 31% at Indian Rocks Beach over six years, 30% at Indian Shores over four years, and only 10% at Redington Beach during eight years.

Performance of beach nourishment is influenced by many factors. Those that are directly related to the three nourishment projects include: (1) relative location in the regional longshore sediment transport regime, (2) magnitude of wave energy, (3) sediment characteristics of the borrow material, (4) local reversal and/or gradient in longshore transport, (5) presence of hard structures, (6) adjacent beach nourishment, (7) variation of shoreline orientation, and (8) sand transfer and beach-fill construction technique. The shoreline and beach-nearshore volume change patterns at the three nourishment projects were different due to the different degrees of influence from the above factors, however, construction style is deemed to be an important contributor. The much less costly dragline and conveyor belt transfer technique used in the construction of Indian Shores project does not prove to be most cost effective for long-term performance.