Shoreline Change Modeling as a Tool in Coastal Environmental Management

Date of Award

Summer 1998

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil & Environmental Engineering


Environmental Engineering

Committee Director

David R. Basco

Committee Member

Mujde Erten-Unal

Committee Member

Jaewan Yoon

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.E553 A43


The one-line numerical model GENESIS has been calibrated to evaluate its performance as a tool in providing insights into the physical components to manage the coastal environment. To calibrate the model, physical environmental data, literature research, and computer modeling methodologies were utilized in addressing the objectives of this thesis. The model was applied at three beaches of the Virginia Beach City with different man-made structures by using the actual field wave data for wave year J 997. Waves are the main environmental component affecting the coastal system; however, additional environmental data and the best engineering decision were used as model input. Calibration parameters were determined for the south jetty at Rudee Inlet and its updrift beach. The jetty is trapping and obstructing the natural alongshore movement of sand. Also, calibration parameters are provided for the beach fill built in 1996 at Dam Neck beach, where about 522,880 m3 of sand were added to the natural environmental conditions. Both its effectiveness as shore protection and its final impact on the local and surrounding shoreline are yet to be determined. Finally, calibration parameters are provided for Sandbridge beach, where several seawall sections have been built. Currently, no less than 62 % of the beach is walled, and its real impact is still an issue.

The modeled shorelines showed an acceptable calibration by reproducing some · features from the measured shoreline. In general, the calibration error values at the three beaches are low suggesting a good agreement between the calculated and the measured shoreline. In addition, the model has provided some insight into the input environmental data and the actual physical components, and they can be used as a tool in managing the coastal environment along the Southeastern shoreline of Virginia.


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