Longshore Sediment Transport

Cape Cod’s beaches are dynamic systems, constantly altered by wind and waves. The sand on a beach is in a relative state of dynamic equilibrium, with sediment moving along the coast parallel to the shoreline. This process is referred to as littoral transport or longshore sediment transport. Studying this process allows us to answer the questions, “Where is the beach material coming from and where is it going?”

Collecting data on longshore sediment transport and littoral cell boundaries allows coastal managers to view coastal projects in the context of surrounding areas and structures that could be linked by common processes. This is similar to the approach of identifying and managing land based on watersheds. Watershed management defines areas connected by a common water course (a river, lake, pond or bay) in order to generate ecologically-based, cost-effective solutions to water and land based problems. Both watersheds and littoral transport areas can cross property, town, county, state, and national boundaries. Download the report here.