Neglected Effects of Eolian Dynamics on Artificial Beach Nourishment: The Case of Riells, Spain


  • Maria Angels Marqués
  • Norbert P. Psuty
  • R. Rodriguez


Beach fill, beach fill evaluation, eolian transport, coastal sedimentation, Mediterranean coast, Catalonia, coastal management.


Beach nourishment projects have been systematically analyzed from a number of perspectives. However, although studies have evaluated the suitability, performance, and impacts of beach nourishment, the analyses seldom include wind effects. The eolian transport triggered by beach nourishment is examined at Riells, Spain, where the beach was augmented to accommodate tourism. This case study focuses on the unprecedented geomorphological impacts associated with eolian processes and the large quantities of sediment (ca. 20 m3/m of beach) mobilized within the nourishment area to be transferred to the upper beach and some into the adjacent road and residential community. Geomorphological research from the area provides a perspective on past and present eolian dynamics. The analysis at Riells describes the environmental conditions for the geomorphological response to the beach surface area increase and hence sand availability. Thus, it provides information on an ancillary outcome of beach nourishment and identifies a need to incorporate eolian transfers in the evaluation of impacts and cost of beach nourishment.