Journal of Coastal Conservation

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 457–474 | Cite as

Evolution of a beach nourishment project using dredged sand from navigation channel, Dunkirk, northern France

  • Alexandra Spodar
  • Arnaud Héquette
  • Marie-Hélène Ruz
  • Adrien Cartier
  • Pascal Grégoire
  • Vincent Sipka
  • Nicolas Forain


The largest beach replenishment project ever in France was completed in February 2014 in Dunkirk on the coast of northern France. A volume of 1.5 × 106 m3 of sand extracted from a navigation channel was placed on the beach to build up a 150 to 300 m wide supratidal platform in front of a dike, called « Digue des Alliés », which protects several residential districts of Dunkirk from marine flooding. High resolution topographic surveys were carried out during 2½ years to monitor beach morphological changes, completed by a hydrodynamic field experiment conducted in February 2016. Approximately −138,200 m3 of sand, corresponding to 9.2% of the initial nourishment volume, were eroded over the nourishment area in about 2 years. An obvious decrease in erosion eastward with a shift from erosion to accumulation was observed, suggesting an eastward redistribution of sand. This longshore sand drift is beneficial for the eastward beach of Malo-les-Bains where most of the recreational activities are concentrated. Hydrodynamic measurements showed that waves and wave-induced currents play a major role on the longshore sand redistribution compared to tidal flows. Strong relationships were observed between cumulative offshore wave power and beach volume change during distinct beach survey periods (R2 = 0.79 to 0.87), with more significant correlations for northerly waves. A slight decrease in erosion during the second year compared to the first year after nourishment suggests that the loss of sand should decrease after an initial phase of rapid readjustment of the beach shape towards equilibrium.


Beach nourishment Beneficial use of dredged sand Flood defence Beach morphodynamics 



This study was funded by the Port of Dunkirk through a collaborative research agreement with the Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale and by the French Association Nationale de la Recherche et de la Technologie (ANRT) through a CIFRE Ph.D. scholarship to A. Spodar. Dunkirk wind data were obtained by courtesy of Météo-France. Offshore wave data recorded at the Westhinder buoy were kindly provided by the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ). Wind and wave data from the Sandettie Lightship buoy were obtained from UK Met Office. The authors gratefully acknowledge the constructive comments provided by E.J. Anthony and an anonymous reviewer. Thanks are also due to D. Marin for the preparation of the figures.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandra Spodar
    • 1
  • Arnaud Héquette
    • 1
  • Marie-Hélène Ruz
    • 1
  • Adrien Cartier
    • 2
  • Pascal Grégoire
    • 3
  • Vincent Sipka
    • 1
  • Nicolas Forain
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratoire d’Océanologie et de Géosciences, UMR CNRS 8187Université Littoral Côte d’OpaleWimereuxFrance
  2. 2.GEODUNESDunkirkFrance
  3. 3.Dunkirk PortDunkirkFrance

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