Assessing the efficacy of nourishment of a Mediterranean beach using bimodal fluvial sediments and a specific placement design

Abstract

Several studies have highlighted the difficulties inherent to the use of bimodal fluvial sediments in beach nourishment and the resulting unpredictable behaviour of the beach profile. In this paper, we monitored the temporal evolution of a nourishment project carried out on a northwestern Mediterranean beach and using fluvial mixed sand and gravel nourishment material. The main aim of the study was to examine the morpho-sedimentary evolution of the beach from the injection of the nourishment material to the attainment of a targeted equilibrium profile. The monitoring activity was conducted coupling multiple topo-bathymetric surveys and sediment sampling. The data show that the targeted equilibrium profile was attained less than 2 years after the nourishment, and, since that period, the shoreline has shown minimal mobility. Our results show that the positioning of the nourishment material is as important as the correct choice of grain size to attain rapid and successful nourishment of a beach. Further applications of this methodology in other coastal settings and/or with different nourishment sediments (e.g. medium or fine sands) are presently being considered. If confirmed at a broader scale, this nourishment design, employing bimodal fluvial sediments, should significantly contribute to the mitigation of beach erosion.

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Acknowledgements

This paper is dedicated to the memory of Professor Engineer Giorgio Berriolo, who passed away in March 2020. In his long and successful professional life, Professor Berriolo developed very innovative approaches to protect and preserve the coastal environment. He was among the fathers of coastal engineering in Italy. Thanks to Alberto Demergasso (University of Genova) for help in the grain-size analyses and Carlo Cavallo (Regione Liguria) for providing the aerial photos. We finally thank Shari Gallop (University of Waikato), the second anonymous reviewer and the Editor Andrew Green, whose suggestions significantly contributed to improvement of the earlier version of the manuscript.

MV is supported by the R. Levi Montalcini fellowship of the Italian Ministry of University and Research (MIUR). AR research on this topic was supported by the Institutional Strategy of the University of Bremen, funded by the German Excellence Initiative (ABPZuK-03/2014) and by ZMT, the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology.

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Correspondence to Matteo Vacchi.

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Giorgio Berriolo is deceased. This paper is dedicated to his memory.

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Vacchi, M., Berriolo, G., Schiaffino, C.F. et al. Assessing the efficacy of nourishment of a Mediterranean beach using bimodal fluvial sediments and a specific placement design. Geo-Mar Lett 40, 687–698 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00367-020-00664-6

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Keywords

  • Beach nourishment
  • Coastal dynamics
  • Bimodal fluvial sediment
  • Mixed sand-gravel beach
  • Mediterranean Sea