Chan, M.C., 2023. Sizing a small tidal inlet for restoration. Journal of Coastal Research, 39(4), 610–624. Charlotte (North Carolina), ISSN 0749-0208.
Coastal inlets located on active shorelines can be vulnerable to shoaling and closure. It is not uncommon for some of these inlets to fall under the category of small tidal inlets with cross-sectional areas <100 m2 and to be transitional in stability characteristics such that neither the classic large-inlet O'Brien-Jarrett equilibrium formulas nor the small-inlet Byrne stability criteria apply fully. The Flax Pond inlet, a dual-jettied small inlet located on the south shore of Long Island Sound, New York, is an example of this class of inlets. The inlet, which connects Flax Pond, a degraded tidal marsh embayment, to Long Island Sound, was analyzed to support a proposed plan to reconstruct the twin jetties and restore the pond's tidal prism to its conditions in the early 1970s to prevent further loss of wetland and ecosystem diversity. The lack of directly suitable stability criteria presented a challenge because an extrapolative use of unsuitable criteria could entail unacceptable risks. The issue necessitated a comprehensive, process-driven analysis of the littoral and inlet conditions to frame a solution. An approach involving multiple stability criteria was followed to determine the inlet dimensions needed to achieve the restoration objectives. It was demonstrated that, with a process-based understanding and informed assumptions, a transitional small inlet can be sized with reasonable confidence.