A Review of Sediment Budget Imbalances along Fire Island, New York: Can Nearshore Geologic Framework and Patterns of Shoreline Change Explain the Deficit?

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Sediment budget analyses conducted for annual to decadal timescales report variable magnitudes of littoral transport along the south shore of Long Island, New York. It is well documented that the primary transport component is directed alongshore from east to west, but relatively little information has been reported concerning the directions or magnitudes of cross-shore components. Our review of budget calculations for the Fire Island coastal compartment (between Moriches and Fire Island Inlets) indicates an average deficit of 217,700 m3/y. Updrift shoreline erosion, redistribution of nourishment fills, and reworking of inner-shelf deposits have been proposed as the potential sources of additional sediment needed to rectify budget residuals. Each of these sources is probably relevant over various spatial and temporal scales, but previous studies of sediment texture and provenance, inner-shelf geologic mapping, and beach profile comparison indicate that reworking of inner-shelf deposits is the source most likely to resolve budget discrepancies over the broadest scales. This suggests that an onshore component of sediment transport is likely more important along Fire Island than previously thought. Our discussion focuses on relations between geomorphology, inner-shelf geologic framework, and historic shoreline change along Fire Island and the potential pathways by which reworked, inner-shelf sediments are likely transported toward the shoreline.

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Journal of Coastal Research, v. 26, issue 3, p. 510-522