Saturday, May 03, 2008

Cama Beach

The construction is largely wrapped up and the park will open in June (Cama Beach State Park, see also hshipman).

The shoreline just north of the point has always been the most dynamic section of the beach in terms of the formation and subsequent erosion of storms berms. I suspect it is particularly sensitive to the different effects of wave action from south and north. Many beaches are exposed to waves from two directions, but those near the tips of points, where shoreline orientation changes rapidly, seem more likely to exhibit profile changes in response to different wave conditions. It helps when there is sufficient sediment to provide a response.

It is often easy to see where the natural beach wants to be, even on a heavily intruded shoreline. The beach contours, including the distinct gravel berms, curve into the seawall as if the structure wasn't even there. Maybe this is a reminder that we too often focus on the potential complex interactions of seawalls and waves and beaches, rather than looking at the obvious - the fact that the beach has simply been buried - or as in this case, the beach has continued to shift landward, despite the presence of the concrete wall. The wall has "moved" seaward over the past several decades as the beach has shifted position around/beneath it.

This beach is remarkable in the large proportion of clam shell - much of it intact. I suppose it changes the overall density and particle mobility of sediment and may contribute to the propensity of this beach to build steep, narrow berms. Once the park opens, I wonder if the foot traffic will affect the preservation of these beautiful whole-shell berms?

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