Palinkas, C.M.; Barth, N.; Koch, E.W., and Shafer, D.J., 2016. The influence of breakwaters on nearshore sedimentation patterns in Chesapeake Bay, USA.
This study describes nearshore Chesapeake Bay sedimentation at sites adjacent to and landward of 24 segmented breakwaters, varying in age (1–19 years) and physical setting. Grain-size and organic-content profiles are examined at the breakwater-protected sites to assess potential changes induced by breakwater installation as well as at the adjacent-exposed sites to establish historical trends. Sedimentation rates at all sites are calculated with 210Pb (half-life 22.3 years). At the breakwater-protected sites, these rates largely reflect preconstruction sedimentation because of the long half-life of 210Pb relative to breakwater ages. Determining the postconstruction sedimentation rate can be more difficult because the signature of breakwater influence in the sedimentological record can be obscured. For example, if the source of sediment is not affected dramatically by construction, down-core profiles may not have obvious changes. The depth of breakwater influence, however, can be interpreted by considering all the sedimentological evidence at a given location, and the postconstruction rates are calculated from this depth. In general, the sedimentological response to breakwater construction is fairly unique for each location but depends on such factors as breakwater age and geometry, shoreline sediment composition, and construction technique.