Coastal Zone Management

Environmental Resources

Beach Monitoring Programs

Inlet Management Studies and Implementation

Beach Management


Many coastal communities now adopt Beach Management Plans. These Plans are site specific to the community to which it applies, so not all such Beach Management Pans will contain the same elements. However, a typical Beach Management Plan would list goals and objectives, such as the beach width that would be desired to maintain along a project shoreline, and perhaps criteria that would be used to determine when planning for a Renourishment should be started. A comprehensive plan might include economic data that would justify the activities recommended by The Plan, as well as sources of funding. It would also describe natural environmental resources that lay within 

the vicinity of any coastal construction contemplated by the plan. If beach restoration is a main element of a Plan, it would also likely include a protocol for finding a sand source. Management Plans also typically include a scope for monitoring, both physical monitoring of changes in the beach that may be used to determine whne nourishment is needed, plus biologic monitoring of natural resources. If there is no pre existing data, monitoring surveys are usually done to establish baseline data to which future surveys may be compared, so that changes can be quantified, including changes that may be attributed to coastal construction. H&M prepared the Island Wide Beach Management Plan for Sanibel Island, adopted by the City Council, which has been used to implement beach nourishment, mitigate impacts due to an adjacent inlet, and achieve environmental resource protection goals. Not all communities have such a comprehensive plan. We have also assisted other communities who manage their coastal resources on a project by project basis, and many communities that have not adopted a comprehensive Plan will still employ the same management strategies that are often spelled out in such plans.

Many coastal communities, which have coastal inlets under their jurisdiction, adopt Inlet Management Plans. Many inlets are managed by Special Taxing Districts that include all of the properties that in some way benefit from the inlet, either commercial or recreational navigation, or water quality of embayments that connect to tidal water by exchange through the inlet. Coastal tidal inlets are the most dynamic features in the coastal zone, and these Inlet Management Plans are therefore very specific to the inlet for which they are prepared. H&M prepared the Inlet Management Plan for Collier County

for the management of Big Marco and Capris passes. The plan included measures to mitigate the impact of the inlet on adjacent beaches, preservation of an important Critical Wildlife area for coastal water birds, as well as limited use of shoals as a source of sand for beach nourishment. We have also assisted other communities who manage their inlets on a project-by-project basis, including maintenance dredging for navigation, and tidal flushing of a large mangrove preserve, and management activities to mitigate the impact inlets typically have on adjacent beaches. H&M has played a significant role in the management of six of Florida’s inlets, and has prepared tidal hydrodynamic studies of a number of other inlets, the results of which have played an important role in management strategies for those inlets.

       Coastal Zone Management is a broad term that covers Beach Management and Inlet Management. These are terms that have come into common usage in recent years as more and more communities and planners have become actively involved in managing coastal resources. Coastal Zone Management may include; coastal process studies; quantifying erosion for designing a nourishment project or other erosion control; dune restoration; sand search; inlet hydrodynamic studies; mapping and preserving natural resources such as coral reef, sea grass beds, and critical wildlife habitat; and a scope of physical and biological monitoring to collect data which will form the basis for implementing such a plan. Comprehensive management activities may also include establishing funding by setting up special taxing districts, applying to state agencies for grants, or applying to the federal government to initiate the process of authorization for a federal project. Because there may be many of these elements that are needed, and because the needs of each community may have unique characteristics, many communities have found it convenient to prepare their own Management Plan, consisting of a document that provides guidance, and have it adopted by the entity that will be responsible for implementation. H&M has assisted in the preparation formal Inlet Management Plans and Beach Management Plans, as well as in the implementation of all of the elements of such plans.

Physical monitoring of beaches may identify and quantify erosion, and may be used to develop design criteria for erosion control projects as well as provide justification. For regulatory approval, monitoring may also include biological elements for the preservations of resources such as nearby hard bottom and sea grasses.