Morphological, bathymetric and sedimentological surveys used to assess the coastline defensive measures


This paper outlines the results of a study recently carried out on the western coast of the Sestri Levante peninsula (Eastern Liguria - Italy), aiming to assess the effects of newly accomplished defensive measures against coastal erosion: the accretion of the beach with natural sand and its protection with artificial structures orthogonal and parallel to the shoreline. Through conventional and more innovative methodologies (respectively single beam echo sounders and global positioning system) the research work has resulted in a new evaluation of the morphological, bathymetric and sedimentological features that make up this shoreline and its volumetrical change over the century. The survey and the research carried out on the studied area have enabled us to give a more detailed picture of the evolution of the littoral, to assess the possible use of “non-traditional” techniques of beach development monitoring, to evaluate the volumetric variations of the emerged and submerged beaches, to establish the sedimentological activity of the beach after the latest nourishment measures, and finally, to verify the effectiveness of the protection measures implemented on this coastline. The acquired data have been stored in the database and a geographic information system has been used to process, analyze, and evaluate the results. The main findings show that the latest intervention has brought about a new phase in the evolution of the coastline, giving rise to a new pseudo-balanced condition. The re-distribution of materials used for the beach nourishment, leads us to believe that the defence underwater barrier has only partially worked. The main conclusion for a correct coastal zone management underline the necessity to plan local and more wide monitoring during at least 8-10 consecutive years.

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