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Responses by macrobenthic assemblages to extensive beach restoration at Perdido Key, Florida, U.S.A.

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In this study, we examine complex responses by macrobenthic assemblages to extensive beach restoration affecting 7 km of open shoreline at Perdido Key, Florida. Beach restoration consisted of two phases, beach nourishment and profile nourishment, each phase lasting roughly one year. We examined macrobenthic responses using an optimal impact study design incorporating ten macrobenthic surveys completed over a three-year period. This study is important because of its geographical region, its relatively large spatial scale, ito long duration, and its consideration of both nearshore assemblages from high energy sandy beaches and diverse assemblages from stable offshore habitats. The physical environment was altered by beach restoration through changes in depth profiles and sediment composition as well as through sediment dynamics. Various macrobenthic responses attributable to beach restoration included: decreased species richness and total density, enhanced fluctuations in those indices, variation in abundances of key indicator taxa, and shifts in macrobenthic assemblage structure. One long-term impact of beach nourishment at nearshore stations included the development of macrobenthic assemblages characteristic of steep depth profiles. Two long-term negative impacts of beach restoration at offshore stations included one from beach nourishment and another from profile nourishment. After beach nourishment, the macrobenthic assemblage structure changed markedly across a considerable offshore area in concert with increased silt/clay loading. Macrobenthic impacts from silt/clay loading were still evident at the end of the study, more than two years after beach nourishment. Macrobenthic populations fluctuated widely at the farthest seaward stations from apparent sediment disturbance, both during and after profile nourishment. These fluctuations involved total densities, species richness, and densities of key indicator taxa. Macrobenthic fluctuations continued through the end of the study, although profile nourishment was completed for more than one year prior to that time. Considerable macrobenthic recovery was apparent during the study, although macrobenthic recovery remained indeterminate in some places. Long-term macrobenthic impacts at several offshore stations supported the hypothesis that diverse offshore assemblages may be less resilient than contiguous nearshore sandy-beach assemblages.
... In Florida, a large-scale (~7 Mm 3 sand) beach and profile nourishment resulted in altered structure of macrobenthic communities and decreased species richness > 100 m offshore. This was attributed mainly to the increased loading of fine-grain material, and impacts due to altered sediment composition persisted for at least two years (Rakocinski et al. 1996). ...
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Coastal protection has evolved from focusing on hard solutions such as breakwaters and groynes to include soft or nature‐based solutions (NbS). NbS have been proposed as cost‐effective means to offer long‐term coastal protection and at the same time strengthen coastal resilience and biodiversity. However, projects utilizing NbS for coastal protection have often focused on a single solution and the evidence of improved biodiversity remain equivocal. In this paper, we review solutions traditionally used for disparate purposes – namely beach nourishment and the establishment of vascular plants such as seagrass and dune grass. The main incentives behind large‐scale beach nourishment projects are often the cost‐effectiveness, multifunctionality and dynamic shoreline protection whereas the focus of vegetation restoration has typically been on recreating important habitats and not specifically as a coastal protection measure. Based on previous studies and an on‐going large‐scale coastal adaptation project in southern Sweden, we investigate the feasibility of combining these seemingly dichotomous management strategies to yield a viable physical defense and at the same time strengthen coastal biodiversity and ecosystem multifunctionality. Given the urgency in combatting biodiversity loss and adapting to a changing climate, management interventions for coastal protection should explicitly incorporate ecological values into every coastal protection measure and seek innovative, integrated approaches that consider both geomorphological and ecological values and the possible complementarity between the two.
... To continue maximizing the availability of red knot prey across the tidal cycle, and in particular the availability of blue mussel prey which requires peat bank substrate to settle in high densities, ongoing management on Virginia's barrier islands that discourages beach stabilization and nourishment projects and allows the natural processes of overwash and island transgression should continue. Beach nourishment buries invertebrate prey that live within the top layers of sand and peat, causing prey mortality, altered prey community assemblages, and/or a reduction in foraging shorebirds' ability to access prey [141][142][143][144][145][146][147]. Beach stabilization and nourishment stall coastal shoreline erosion and are often used on barrier islands to prevent island transgression [142,148,149]. ...
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Understanding factors that influence a species’ distribution and abundance across the annual cycle is required for range-wide conservation. Thousands of imperiled red knots ( Calidris cantus rufa ) stop on Virginia’s barrier islands each year to replenish fat during spring migration. We investigated the variation in red knot presence and flock size, the effects of prey on this variation, and factors influencing prey abundance on Virginia’s barrier islands. We counted red knots and collected potential prey samples at randomly selected sites from 2007–2018 during a two-week period during early and peak migration. Core samples contained crustaceans (Orders Amphipoda and Calanoida), blue mussels ( Mytilus edulis) , coquina clams ( Donax variabilis ), and miscellaneous prey (horseshoe crab eggs ( Limulus polyphemus ), angel wing clams ( Cyrtopleura costata ), and other organisms (e.g., insect larvae, snails, worms)). Estimated red knot peak counts in Virginia during 21–27 May were highest in 2012 (11,959) and lowest in 2014 (2,857; 12-year peak migration x ¯ = 7,175, SD = 2,869). Red knot and prey numbers varied across sampling periods and substrates (i.e., peat and sand). Red knots generally used sites with more prey. Miscellaneous prey ( x ¯ = 2401.00/m ² , SE = 169.16) influenced red knot presence at a site early in migration, when we only sampled on peat banks. Coquina clams ( x ¯ = 1383.54/m ² , SE = 125.32) and blue mussels ( x ¯ = 777.91/m ² , SE = 259.31) affected red knot presence at a site during peak migration, when we sampled both substrates. Few relationships between prey and red knot flock size existed, suggesting that other unmeasured factors determined red knot numbers at occupied sites. Tide and mean daily water temperature affected prey abundance. Maximizing the diversity, availability, and abundance of prey for red knots on barrier islands requires management that encourages the presence of both sand and peat bank intertidal habitats.
... For example, beach replenishment at one beach in the upper portion of a littoral cell will preserve recreation and provide a wide beach to protect back beach development. The trade-off for this management scenario is a temporary reduction in ecological functioning (Greene, 2002;Peterson, Hickerson, and Johnson, 2000;Peterson and Bishop, 2005;Rakocinski et al., 1996;Wooldridge, Henter, and Kohn, 2016). However, the sand (added to the sediment budget as beach replenishment) will move down the coast, providing sand, increasing the beaches' resilience to stressors, and providing additional recreational space and habitat for ecological functioning. ...
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Patsch, K.; King, P.; Reineman, D.R.; Jenkins, S.; Steele, C.; Gaston, E., and Anderson, S., 0000. Beach sustainability assessment: The development and utility of an interdisciplinary approach to sandy beach monitoring. Journal of Coastal Research, 00(0), 000-000. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208. Sandy beaches are valued for various ecosystem services but are increasingly imperiled by anthropogenic stressors. Sea-level rise (SLR), reductions to sand supply, hardening the position of the coastline, and the prevalence of human development along California's coast combine to reduce the fundamental dynamism critical to the resilience of California's beaches. If California continues with business as usual, many of its beaches will erode and eventually disappear. Coastal jurisdictions in California are planning for SLR. However, these coastal managers lack a standardized regional assessment tool that compiles information on the current and likely future condition of sandy beaches. Without such a tool, these managers have limited ability to analyze the integrated impacts of historic decisions or future alternative management scenarios upon beach morphology, ecological functioning, economics, and social utility. This paper presents a study of the Beach Sustainability Assessment (BSA) decision support tool applied to 17 beaches spanning Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles counties. In addition to scoring and grading geomorphological, ecological functioning, and social utility components, the BSA provides a single, overall grade for each beach. To demonstrate the utility of the BSA, a scenario with 1 m of SLR and a 100-year storm was simulated to assess the changes to the overall grade and component grades. The BSA offers a cost-effective, standardized protocol to monitor the condition of California's sandy beach ecosystems. The metrics support spatial and temporal comparisons on a regional scale, giving coastal managers and stakeholders the ability to assess real trade-offs among management solutions. Current BSA indices indicate that beaches in the Southern California Bight study area are already struggling, with most urban beaches receiving Cs and Ds for ecological functioning. The SLR stressor test indicates that ecological functioning and social utility will continue to decline with increasing sea levels.
... The effects of sea-level rise and increased storminess associated with global change have led to increasing human disturbance to sediments of beaches through fill projects (e.g., Dugan et al., 2010;Feagin, Sherman, and Grant, 2005;Peterson et al., 2014) intended to replace sand eroded by storms and to protect coastal development from risk of erosion, flooding, and storm damage (Trembanis, Pilkey, and Valverde, 1999;Wilber et al., 2003). A number of studies (e.g., Peterson et al., 2006;Rakocinski et al., 1996;Viola et al., 2014) have showed that inclusion of mismatched sediments in beach fill can inhibit recovery of the macrobenthos for years. The dominant macroinfauna of warm-temperate, high-energy beaches of North America include burrowing bivalves (genus Donax), mole crabs (genus Emerita), several species of haustorid amphipods, and polychaete worms (genus Scolelepis), all of which serve as prey for ghost crabs, shorebirds, and surf fishes (DeLancey, 1989;Peterson et al., 2006;Wolcott, 1978). ...
... Rosov et al. 2016;Wooldridge et al. 2016). In general, it has been found that organisms in less dynamic areas of the coastal profile, i.e. at larger water depths or in the upper beach profile, have longer recovery rates (Rakocinski et al. 1996;Janssen and Mulder 2005). ...
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Beach nourishments are a widely used method to mitigate erosion along sandy shorelines. In contrast to hard coastal protection structures, nourishments are considered as soft engineering, although little is known about the cumulative, long-term environmental effects of both marine sediment extraction and nourishment activities. Recent endeavours to sustain the marine ecosystem and research results on the environmental impact of sediment extraction and nourishment activities are driving the need for a comprehensive up-to-date review of beach nourishment practice, and to evaluate the physical and ecological sustainability of these activities. While existing reviews of nourishment practice have focused on the general design (motivation, techniques and methods, international overview of sites and volumes) as well as legal and financial aspects, this study reviews and compares not only nourishment practice but also the accompanying assessment and monitoring of environmental impacts in a number of developed countries around the world. For the study, we reviewed 205 openly-accessible coastal management strategies, legal texts, guidelines, EIA documents, websites, project reports, press releases and research publications about beach nourishments in several developed countries around the world (Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, UK, USA and Australia). Where information was not openly available, the responsible authorities were contacted directly. The study elaborates on the differences in coastal management strategies and legislation as well as the large dissimilarities in the EIA procedure (where applicable) for both marine sediment extraction and nourishment activities. The spatial disturbance of the marine environment that is considered a significant impact, a factor which determines the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment, varies substantially between the countries covered in this study. Combined with the large uncertainties of the long-term ecological and geomorphological impacts, these results underline the need to reconsider the sustainability of nourishments as “soft” coastal protection measures.
... Out of the soft engineering solutions, the most reliable solution is beach nourishment [2], [8] & [9]. Whilst nourishment is also carried out in different ways; for example, with (1) Different nourishment locations and (2) Different grain sizes [6], the optimum nourishment scenario must be determined using scientific manner. However, up to the present, no such study was carried out to find out the potential of this beach. ...
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Sri Lanka is an island nation endowed with a wide range of coastal resources, greatly contributing to the Gross Domestic Product. Coastal erosion is a major issue related to the beaches in Sri Lanka. In this regard, Ratmalana beach is critically important as a potential tourism destination due to its proximity to the capital city and the accessibility to a coastal railway station. To develop a beach as a tourist destination, it is importance to monitor the beach profile changes and find out the remedial measures for erosion prevention. For such a management plan, either hard or soft engineering solutions can be utilized. Out of the soft engineering solutions, the most reliable solution is beach nourishment. In this research, Ratmalana beach was regularly monitored and a numerical model was built by utilizing the public domain of XBeach to model the hydrodynamics in the area. Finally, two nourishment scenarios were modelled, and the optimum nourishment scenario is determined. Beach profile monitoring and calculated sand budget indicates that there is significant erosion during the stormy weather season. Based on grain size analysis, Ratmalana beach has a broad grain size distribution. According to the modelled nourishment scenarios, profile nourishment has shown better performance.
... Despite recent policies, environmental degradation still threatens coastal communities, mostly due to the impact of the rigid structures built in the last decades [38,39], which affect landscape, ecosystems, biodiversity and biological interactions [40][41][42]. Therefore, shifting from hard structures towards environmentally-friendly interventions and NBS is crucial in the development of a sustainable sea economy [43][44][45][46][47][48]. Although NBS are certainly an improvement with respect to previous approaches that did not consider the multiple needs of the environment, certain interventions aiming to restore coastal ecosystems failed in their purpose, since bio-geomorphic feedbacks inherent to ecosystems were not analysed sufficiently. ...
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Sea hazards are increasingly threatening worldwide coastal areas, which are among the most strategic resources of the Earth in supporting human population, economy and the environment. These hazards enhance erosion processes and flooding events, producing severe socio-economic impacts and posing a challenge to ocean engineers and stakeholders in finding the optimal strategy to protect both the coastal communities and the health of the environment. The impact of coastal hazards is actually worsened not only by an enhancing rate of relative sea level rise and storminess driven by climate changes, but also by increasing urban pressure related to the development of the sea economy. With regard to larger environmental awareness and climate change adaptation needs, the present study focuses on a stepwise approach that supports the actions for coastal protection at Calabaia Beach, which is located in the Marine Experimental Station of Capo Tirone (Cosenza, Italy). These actions first aim to protect humans and coastal assets, then to restore the environment and the local habitat, overcoming the need for the emergency interventions carried out in the last decades and pointing out that healthy ecosystems are more productive and support a sustainable marine economy (“Blue Growth”).
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