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Newport Beach/Santa Ana Rivermouth Beach Profile Study - A

comparison of the summer and winter beach profiles of a high

traffic area of beach containing semi-natural dunes.
Background: There are many forces affecting the sand beaches that surround
the Santa Ana rivermouth. These forces include a reduction of sediment flowing
downriver from the mountains due to dams and reservoirs, the constant longshore
drift that tends to move sand southward, natural coastal erosion, homes built
within a hundred meters of the high tide waterline, and the constant intrusive
forces by humans like groins, sand grooming, sand replenishment and dune
rehabilitation. All of these affect the profile of the beaches year after year.

Figure B: The Santa Ana River Mouth aerial view

Significant and constant change in beaches is a geological fact. Coasts are meant
to erode and fall prey to the forces of wind and water that are always acting on
them. However, due to the fact that we have built communities and the economic
basis of our local cities on having pristine, visitable, and unchanging beaches
means that we need to slow or halt this natural process of change. There are many
ways in which this has been attempted at this particular stretch of beach.
Study aims and objectives: The aim of this study is to compare the summer
profile of a local beach to its winter profile. This is one of the few area beaches that
has been enabled to retain (in part) its dune character making it a better indicator
of natural conditions. In the analysis, several contributing factors will be
considered including human impacts, storm activity and rainfall. The eventual aim
is to create a longitudinal profile of the changes in this area.
Study Methods: Students will use the Emery Beach profile method with 2 x 2-m
marked poles with horizon eyeholes and a 5-m line with a bubble line level.
Markings will be made every 2 meters on sand pack that is quickly changing
elevation and every 5 meters once fairly level beach has been reached.
Data/Analysis: Students will first share their elevation and distance data for both
the summer and winter profiling studies on a google document.
They will then graph the elevation and distance data on 2 separate 3 dimensional
bar graphs in excel. One graph will be the summer profile data and the second will
be the winter profiling data.

Students will research and record and human impacts (dredging, pumping sand
onto the beach, building of jetties, groins or other structures) that have occurred
within the calendar year prior to the profiling study.
Students will research and record the natural phenomena (storm/high surf events
including swell size and direction, significant precipitation events responsible for
bringing sediment from the river) that have occurred within the calendar month
prior to the profiling study.
Any images that were taken at the time of profiling should be included and
captioned appropriately.
[for the years 2015 and following]: Students will record the range and the average
of grain sizes found at the back dune, fore dune and berm area of the beach
Students will make a comparison of the summer vs winter profiles. What is
different? What is the same?
Discussion: The following questions should be considered in writing the
discussion section of this paper.
1. What are the direction of the longshore currents throughout the year? How do
they change and how do they affect sand deposition?
2. How have the human created solutions to loss of sand and sediment benefited
and harmed the beaches?
3. Based upon your understanding of timing of the addition of sand through
dredging and pumping, is this a reasonable solution to beach erosion?
4. What differences are their in human (and canine) beach traffic from summer to
winter? How might this affect the dunes?
5. What (if any) events of note may have impacted the summer and winter beach
6. What would your recommendations be for solving the beach erosion issue long