Hannides, A., Elko, N. and Humiston, K., 2019 “An ASBPA white paper: The state of understanding of the effects of beach nourishment activities on coastal biogeochemical processes and conditions”, Shore & Beach, 87(3), 46-57. https://doi.org/10.34237/1008734
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An ASBPA white paper: The state of understanding of the effects of beach nourishment activities on coastal biogeochemical processes and conditions
Angelos Hannides(1), Nicole Elko(2), and Kenneth Humiston(3)
1) firstname.lastname@example.org, Department of Marine Science, Coastal Carolina University, P.O. Box 261954, Conway, SC 29528;
2) American Shore and Beach Preservation Association, P.O. Box 1451, Folly Beach, SC 29439;
3) Humiston & Moore Engineers, 5679 Strand Court, Naples FL 34110
Sandy beaches are sites of significant exchange of matter and energy between water and sediment. This rapid exchange is attributed to the high permeability of sandy deposits and is one of the key ingredients in understanding how a given beach will respond to a nourishment event as a habitat for many important organisms. The response is driven by fundamental abiotically and biotically mediated chemical reactions that are profoundly affected by the ability of chemicals to accumulate or to be flushed out of a sandy column in the beach substrate. So while attention has correctly been paid to the effects of nourishment projects on infaunal communities and the upper levels of the food web, the chemical reactions connecting physics and geology on the one hand and ecology on the other are treated as a black box. We synthesize existing findings on biogeochemical processes at source areas and renourished beaches before, during, and after nourishment activities, and identify gaps in knowledge. Among other processes, we highlight how the exposure of reduced sediment to an oxic water column can initially increase oxygen demand, fuel microbial primary productivity, and drive the mobilization of potentially harmful contaminants. Restoration of oxic conditions in surficial sands can proceed rapidly through rapid exchange between sand and the oxygenated water column under the influence of physical forces, such as waves and currents, and high sand permeability. Based on our findings, we recommend foci for research, outreach, and broader impacts in this field as well as discuss coastal management needs for policy makers, planners, contractors, and the public to encourage information sharing.