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Perched Beaches

On steep, eroding beaches, the use of a perched beach may be useful to reduce sand losses or to reduce the sand volume required for nourishment. A perched beach is at the seaward side supported by an underwater sill or breakwater. Landward from this sill, where a nourishment may be applied, a dynamic equilibrium profile will develop. If a nourishment is applied, the use of an underwater sill can reduce the volume of material needed as compared to a situation where no sill is in place. When a submerged breakwater is applied and the hydrodynamic energy behind the structure is reduced, erosion may also be reduced.


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How to Use

With a perched beach design, the aim is to create and maintain a dynamic equilibrium profile landward of a submerged breakwater and thereby reduce coastal sediment losses. The design of a perched beach should be based on several considerations, like dimensions and location of the sill or breakwater, the sediment used for the nourishment, the dynamic equilibrium state and the habitat requirements for certain species. In this chapter an overview of the basic theory on equilibrium profiles and perched beaches and some guidance for perched beach design is given.


The different elements of the design (profile, sill) are interrelated, because the design process is cyclic. The first choice regards the location of the shoreline: should it shift seawards, stay in the same position or is a certain amount of retreat allowed? Depending on this choice, the design of the profile and the sill can be further considered.


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Practical applications

On the right a couple of cases is presented providing some application experiences that can be used as inspiration for future designs

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