Title

Establishing a long-term record of coastal erosion along Sonoma Coast State Beaches, California

Poster Number

21

Format

Poster Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Laura K. Rademacher

Additional Faculty Mentor Name

Tessa Hill (UC Davis)

Abstract/Artist Statement

Coastal erosion is exacerbated by natural and human-driven perturbations of the climate system. Natural climatic cycles such as El Nino and rising sea levels increase the erosive energy of waves. fu northern California, erosion rates are also affected by uplift of emergent portions of the tectonically active coastline. Our project establishes a record of intra- and inter-annual erosion processes at three Sonoma Coast State Beaches: Salmon Creek, Horseshoe Cove, and Goat Rock. Salmon Creek is a rivercut, estuarine spit-bar complex. Horseshoe Cove and Goat Rock are both wave-cut, erosional shore zone landforms controlled by mass wasting and gravity processes, but differ in terms of breaking wave energy. We initiated our study by collecting baseline beach profile information at the study sites in Fall2005. Subsequent beach profile data were collected from these locations at least once a year. Beach profiles include the location of berms, dunes, and other prominent beach features. Profiles were created with traditional surveying tools and the total station. Results of these surveys indicate significant intra- and inter-annual variations in the shape of the beach, the location of dunes, and the presence of vegetation. However, the shape and location of the sea cliff remains relatively constant year to year, suggesting that the majority of coastal erosion may occur during significant episodic events rather than during yearly changes. Studies such as these will provide a basis for understanding the response of beaches in this area to different stresses, allowing prediction of types of events with drastic effects upon the structure of the beaches in the area.

Location

Wendell Phillips Center, 1st floor hallways

Start Date

3-5-2008 1:00 PM

End Date

3-5-2008 3:00 PM

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May 3rd, 1:00 PM May 3rd, 3:00 PM

Establishing a long-term record of coastal erosion along Sonoma Coast State Beaches, California

Wendell Phillips Center, 1st floor hallways

Coastal erosion is exacerbated by natural and human-driven perturbations of the climate system. Natural climatic cycles such as El Nino and rising sea levels increase the erosive energy of waves. fu northern California, erosion rates are also affected by uplift of emergent portions of the tectonically active coastline. Our project establishes a record of intra- and inter-annual erosion processes at three Sonoma Coast State Beaches: Salmon Creek, Horseshoe Cove, and Goat Rock. Salmon Creek is a rivercut, estuarine spit-bar complex. Horseshoe Cove and Goat Rock are both wave-cut, erosional shore zone landforms controlled by mass wasting and gravity processes, but differ in terms of breaking wave energy. We initiated our study by collecting baseline beach profile information at the study sites in Fall2005. Subsequent beach profile data were collected from these locations at least once a year. Beach profiles include the location of berms, dunes, and other prominent beach features. Profiles were created with traditional surveying tools and the total station. Results of these surveys indicate significant intra- and inter-annual variations in the shape of the beach, the location of dunes, and the presence of vegetation. However, the shape and location of the sea cliff remains relatively constant year to year, suggesting that the majority of coastal erosion may occur during significant episodic events rather than during yearly changes. Studies such as these will provide a basis for understanding the response of beaches in this area to different stresses, allowing prediction of types of events with drastic effects upon the structure of the beaches in the area.