An Initial Comparison of Armored and Unarmored Beaches from Boat-Based LiDAR
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- Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology
In order to address a multitude of coastal planning and resource management needs, the Washington State Department of Ecology Coastal Monitoring & Analysis Program (CMAP) recently outfitted a new research vessel, the R/V George Davidson, and began conducting high-resolution topographic and bathymetric surveys along selected Puget Sound beaches. Data is being collected for both baseline mapping and monitoring purposes. Studies are underway to quantify terrestrial sediment delivery from coastal bluffs, nearshore sediment transport, and morphology change as well as the relationship to nearshore ecological functions. This paper will present initial boat-based LiDAR survey results and data analysis to document and compare the physical characteristics (i.e., beach morphology and properties such as slope, elevation, width, and sediment texture) of armored and unarmored beaches. The intent of this comparison is to evaluate the relationships between shoreline armoring and beach structure and how well they agree with common conceptual models of the physical effects of shoreline armoring on beaches. Where possible, other quantitative metrics are being extracted as indicators of beach quality and function such as beach wrack, overhanging vegetation, and large woody debris.