Environmental Geology

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 201–211 | Cite as

Effects of erosion control structures along a portion of the northern Chesapeake Bay shoreline

  • Christopher F. Zabawa
  • Randall T. Kerhin
  • Suzanne Bayley


A 6.500-meter reach of western Chesapeake Bay shoreline (lower Mayo Peninsula) lost about 1.1×106 cubic meters of sediment (equivalent to 170 cubic meters lost per meter of shoreline) between 1846 and 1932, when the first aerial photographs show the shoreline already substantially protected by a system of groins and intermittent bulkheading. These structures have eliminated the fastland as a source of erodable material, and have starved the supply of sand for littoral drift, thus limiting the extent of the beaches to the remaining groin fields.

Volumes of sediment involved in these impacts are small in the overall sediment budget. Bulkheads produce no deficit in the budget since scouring of the beaches on their seaward sides makes up for the decreased erosion of protected fastland. Groins trap little of the potential littoral drift (computed to be about 104 cubic meters per meter of shoreline per year). The sand supply in the remaining beaches is nearly equivalent to the annual loss of sediment from the entire shoreline system due to the long-term rate of erosion of the shoreline and nearshore between 1846 and 1932.


Beach Sediment Budget Maryland Department Shoreline Erosion Littoral Drift 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher F. Zabawa
    • 1
  • Randall T. Kerhin
    • 2
  • Suzanne Bayley
    • 3
  1. 1.Maryland Department of Natural ResourcesCoastal Zone Management ProgramAnnapolis
  2. 2.Maryland Department of Natural Resources Geological SurveyThe Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore
  3. 3.Coastal Ecology Lab Center for Wetland ResourcesLouisiana State UniversityBaton Rouge

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