Beach Nourishment & Dune Restoration

  • Mined Sand
      Sand mined from offshore shoals is pumped onto the beach at Sandbridge, Virginia. This type of large-scale beach nourishment project requires multiple stakeholder coordination and allowance for public access.  
  • Trucked-in Sand
      A beach nourishment area using sand trucked in from an upland source was planted with Saltmeadow hay ({em}Spartina patens{/em}) at Yorktown, Virginia  
  • Sandy Dredged Material
      Sandy dredged material from a federal channel was placed on a natural beach and planted with American beach grass ({em}Ammophila brevigulata{/em}) on the Potomac River.  
  • Nourishment and Groins
      Beach nourishment to widen the beach between groins is preferable to the piecemeal construction of bulkheads or revetments on individual parcels.  
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Beach nourishment is placing clean sand on an existing beach to raise its elevation and increase beach width.  A wider beach improves storm protection by increasing the distance between the upland bank and waves.  Beaches are dynamic shoreline features that are constantly shifting in response to predominant wind and wave direction.  Tolerance of these natural changes is required for the practice to be acceptable.

Suitable Sites
  • Gently sloping beaches with minor upland erosion
  • Public or private beaches in close proximity to channel dredging
  • Established groin fields with sand beach present
  • Where sand migration will not interfere with navigation or upland land uses
Guidelines for Beach Nourishment
  • Clean sand must be free of trash, toxics, land clearing debris, invasive species
  • Potential sand sources include upland sand pits with truck transport, bank grading material, dredged material from nearby channel
  • Regardless of sand source, perform grain size analysis for existing and proposed sand source
  • Stabilize beach area above regular high tides with dune vegetation
  • Consult with local Coastal Primary Sand Dune and Beaches Act authority