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Shoreline Studies Program

The Shoreline Studies Program (SSP) within the Department of Physical Sciences conducts basic and applied research primarily within the shore zone of the Chesapeake Bay estuarine system and Virginia's ocean coast. Research efforts involve wave climate analysis, shoreline morphology, shore zone stratigraphy and recommending shoreline management strategies.

Living Shoreline Design Guidance: Most shorelines in Virginia's Chesapeake estuarine system are eroding. The information provided here is meant for education in the use of living shoreline strategies.
Shoreline and Sediment Management: A detailed understanding of shoreline and sediment processes is critical to developing effective shoreline management plans. Dunes: Coastal primary sand dunes form by the accumulation of sand due to the interaction of wind and wave action along the shore.

Shoreline Evolution: Shoreline evolution is the change in the shore zone through time. The processes involved include winds, waves, tides and currents which shape and modify coastlines by eroding, transporting and depositing sediment.
Beaches: Sand is the foundation that comprise the beaches found around the world including the Chesapeake Bay. Life span of a beach and dune may vary from a few years to decades depending on the geomorphic setting and the local supply of sand. Regional Sediment Mangement (RSM) is a planning approach that addresses coastal sediment processes and dredging issues on a broad geographic scale.


"Just a few years ago beaches were desolate wastes of sand dunes and underbrush, little enjoyed by the people of the hinterland of our States bordering the coast. Today a beach is recognized as the playground and health restoring assest of the State, and each year finds this assest attracting more and more people, and contributing annually to the welfare and happiness or our people, with the logical result of enhanced values in land once considered of little value. It, therefore, behooves us to give careful thought to the permanence of an assest of such potential importance."

Virginia Senate Document No.14 from 1932