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CHL Expertise: Coastal Structures
Types of Coastal Structures

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Structural Methods for Coastal Shore Protection Seawalls - Seawalls are usually massive, vertical structures used to protect backshore areas from heavy wave action, and in lower wave energy environments, to separate land from water.
Bulkheads - These are vertical retaining walls to hold or prevent the soil from sliding seaward.
Revetments - Revetments are a cover or facing of erosion resistant material placed directly on an existing slope, embankment or dike to protect the area from waves and strong currents.
Dikes and Levees - Dikes are typically earth structures (dams) that keep elevated water levels from flooding interior lowlands.
Breakwaters - Breakwaters are generally shore-parallel structures that reduce the amount of wave energy reaching the protected area.
Groins - Groins are the oldest and most common shore-connected, beach stabilization structure.
Sills / Perched Beaches - Construction of a low retaining sill to trap sand results in what is known as a "perched beach," one that is elevated above its original level.
Jetties and Piers - Jetties are shore-normal stone structures commonly used for training navigation channels and stabilizing inlets. Pier structures are sometimes referred to as jetties.
Non-Structural Methods for Coastal Shore Protection Vegetation Planting - Vegetation is an effective and inexpensive way to stabilize dunes and protect marshes.
Groundwater Drainage - Groundwater drainage, or bluff dewatering is a common practice used to rapidly drain ground and surface waters away from a bluff in order to eliminate or reduce bluff failures initiated by groundwater seepage.
Beach Nourishment - Beach nourishment is the introduction of material along a shoreline to supplement the natural littoral drift.
Sand Bypassing - Sand bypassing is the hydraulic or mechanical movement of sand, from an area of accretion to a downdrift area of erosion, across a barrier to natural sand transport.
Flood Proofing - One of the most common flood proofing measures is the elevation of homes.
Zoning - Zoning measures involve the implementation and enforcement of planning and zoning by-laws to control development in flood and erosion hazard zones.
Retreat - In some cases, it may be less expensive to relocate endangered structures than to invest in large scale shore protection.
Do Nothing - The no action, or do nothing approach is commonly used by engineers to help evaluate different courses of action.

Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory - Engineer Research and Development Center
Waterways Experiment Station - Vicksburg, Mississippi
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