Term of Award

Fall 2014

Degree Name

Master of Science in Applied Engineering (M.S.A.E.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

N. Mike Jackson

Committee Member 1

Gustavo Maldonado

Committee Member 2

Peter Rogers

Abstract

This thesis documents the results of a study conducted to evaluate the long term effects of groin placement on beach re-nourishment and beach restoration in the Yucatan peninsula. The study includes the evaluation of six control points located on Chelem beach in Yucatan, Mexico, very close to the Progreso pier. The control points were set up in an active groin field to record data on the re-nourishment project covering the Chelem beach area. These erosion control groins were constructed as part of an experimental project to see how the adopted U.S. Army Corps of Engineers guidelines, for installing groins, affected the re-nourishment of the beach.

The scope of this study is to document how placing groins using the USACE guidelines (transversally spacing them by a distance of three times their longitudinal length) affects the shoreline erosion patterns. The profile of the beach was generated by GPS technology and by utilizing the Emery-Method (Krause, 2004). The beach profiles were checked on a weekly basis to ensure the effects of the groins were being adequately monitored. A Beach Morphology Analysis Package (BMAP) model for shoreline evaluation was run to accurately display the displacement of sediment along the coast. Based on this modeling, conclusions are presented regarding groin placement to ensure optimal re-nourishment results.

The results presented herein validate that proper groin placement and engineering can greatly increase the successful re-nourishment of a beach. This study documents the importance of engineering the groins properly and placing them at correct distances and depths in order to achieve the greatest re-nourishment results. Using groins for beach re-nourishment has been a skeptical subject for many engineers because if they are not properly engineered, they can severely damage the beach. The results of this study show that after monitoring the controls points for a 6 month period, the profiles gained an average of 10 meters. This makes a case as to why beach re-nourishment projects using groins should be considered by engineers tasked with restoring a beach or a coastal area when it is deemed necessary.

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