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Mapping Regional Sediment Management Practices: New York District Corps of Engineers

The South Shore of Long Island has a long history of inlet and beach management activities within its bays and estuaries, and along its barrier beaches. Engineered structures have been combined with extensive dredging, beach nourishment, and restoration projects in the region since the late 1920s. Additionally, hurricanes and extra-tropical storms have periodically impacted the area, causing massive changes in beach composition and width. With the construction of two large land reclamation projects at Jones and Rockaway Beaches in the late 1920s, the cycle of beach nourishment and structural placement began a trend that continues today. The purpose of this analysis was to provide an overview of selected engineering activities influencing sediment management along the South Shore of Long Island and to illustrate how desktop and web-based GIS systems can offer visualization capabilities to better understand and analyze related information on engineered sediment movement. While many environmental factors influence regional sediment dynamics, one of the most important factors to evaluate when quantifying a sediment budget is engineering activities that influence sediment management. Sediment management practices may include channel dredging and placement, beach nourishment, and structure development (such as jetty or seawall construction). It is important to track these events effectively to document sediment movement associated with engineering activities. For the South Shore of Long Island, records have been maintained relatively well on dredging and beach nourishment quantities, dates, and locations; however, standardized information for specific areas within certain time periods is often difficult to access and evaluate relative to the regional sediment budget. As such, it can take engineers and planners that rely on this information a significant amount of time to develop realistic sediment budgets that accurately account for engineering activities in their area of interest. To optimize various management strategies, the interaction between natural sediment movement and engineering events must be considered when quantifying a sediment budget. This type of data visualization and analysis is well-suited for database management and GIS analyses. Related events can be organized, viewed, and queried such that users may effectively evaluate the data of interest in an attempt to understand the interaction between natural processes and management practices. Dredging and nourishment quantities may be combined with littoral drift rates, shoreline change estimates, and bathymetric change information in a GIS to automate the calculation of a sediment budget. Data collected by the USACE for Coney Island, Rockaway Inlet, East Rockaway Inlet, Jones Inlet, Fire Island Inlet, Moriches Inlet, and Shinnecock Inlet were displayed to identify areas along the south shore where various sediment dredging and placement projects have been completed.

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