Beach Nourishment and Coastal Habitats: Research Needs to Improve Compatibility


Address correspondence to K. F. Nordstrom, email


Beach nourishment creates many opportunities for resource development and use, but it also creates new issues regarding cumulative, long-term losses in borrow areas and appropriate human actions in fill areas. Nourished beaches should be considered as more than consumptive resources built for shore protection and recreation. Assessments of nourishment projects in the United States are used to identify research needed to address impacts on species and habitats in borrow areas and restoration of natural subenvironments in nourished areas. Achieving these goals involves changes in stakeholder attitudes about the meaning of beach nourishment and development of research initiatives to demonstrate the scientific, technologic, and economic feasibility of methods that are more compatible with maintaining or restoring natural landforms and habitats. Suggestions are made for expanding the spatial and temporal scales of investigation, evaluating alternative beach and sediment types, identifying new uses for fill, evaluating alternative technologies and practices, implementing adaptive management strategies, assessing stakeholder attitudes and capabilities, overcoming cost constraints, and conducting interdisciplinary studies.