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Technion Israel Ports
Sediment Transport and Coastal Shore Protection

Sediment Transport and Coastal Shore Protection

Sediment Transport

Coastal facilities, as well as human activities such as dredging, can greatly impact sediment transport, causing erosion and deposition on and off the shoreline. Morphological changes might affect pumping and piping, as well as increase the risk of erosion and flooding. Sometimes it can harm local wildlife and compromising other coastal facilities.
As part of the mandatory environmental impact assessments for coastal and marine enterprises, CAMERI evaluates the effects of future infrastructure projects on the sediment transport in the designated area.
This includes an assessment of changes to the seabed, and natural coastline, based on the estimated influence on the wave and current regime.

Coastal Shore Protection and Nourishment

Almost all shoreline of Israel is sandy. The main source of this sand is delta of river Nile. The sand transport occurs mainly under wave and wind activity.
Net transport rate along the southern Israeli coast (in the Ashdod region) is ~200,000 m3/yr. and at the southern Haifa coast is ~80,000 m3/yr. Annual gross transport is approximately 300,000-400,000 m3/yr.
Based on this knowledge CAMERI has conducted many studies that provide an assessment of morphological changes and coastline evolution along the Israeli coast. The studies comprise hindcast as well as forecast numerical modeling, which accounts for natural phenomena and for potential consequences of human activity on sediment transport patterns and natural sand supply to the beaches. In light of an inevitable development of the coastal areas including construction of either near shore or offshore marine facilities due to growing population in the region, this environmental issue is becoming increasingly important.
In addition to analyzing the potential effect of marine infrastructure on the Sediment transport regime, CAMERI also gained experience in analyzing and developing recommendations for counter measures to beach erosion, for instance in the form of sand nourishment, construction of shore protection structure, etc.

Nourishment serves various purposes:

  • Laying the foundations prior to the construction of a coastal facility or port that require alterations to the natural coast.
  • Protecting critical infrastructures exposed to flooding due to erosion or sediment deposition.
  • Developing tourist destinations by enhancing the local beaches.
  • Coastal rehabilitation.

Despite the crucial role sediment nourishment can play in protecting coastal facilities, it is also an expensive activity. CAMERI has gained experience in examining and improving the efficiency of sand nourishment operations over time.
CAMERI’s team can review completed projects, compare between alternatives, and devise new treatment plans when necessary.

Sediment Spill

Dredging and underwater excavation are an important aspect in the design and construction of certain key elements of a harbor’s infrastructure. Maintenance dredging is essential to keep certain access channels, port basins and canals subject to high sedimentation open to navigation.
Sediment dredging or/and disposal may result in the loss of some fine particle size material, which are characterized by low settling velocities. Therefore, the sediment may be transported over long distances by the water flow before settling. In contrast to non-cohesive sediment, the cohesive properties of fine sediment allow them to stick together and form larger aggregates or flocs with settling velocities much higher than the individual particles within the floc. In this way they are able to deposit in areas where the individual fine particles would never settle.

Both dredging and disposal of dredged material is an environmental concern throughout the world. In many cases, effects of disposal on the benthic community are near-field and short term, although prolonged effects on macro faunal biomass and composition have been reported. Magnitude of the impact and recovery depends on the thickness, area and configuration of the disposed layer that buries the benthos, frequency and timing of the dredging operation, the material characteristics of the discharged material (such as organic enrichment, pollutants and sediment grain-size), but also on the characteristics of the receiving habitat (such as sediment characteristics, water depth and hydrodynamic regime) and the community composition and life history and mobility of the species at the disposal site.
Fate of fine sediment, e.g. released to the water column in the course of dredging / disposal operations, can be modeled by the MIKE 3 Mud Transport module (MT), which describes erosion, transport and deposition of mud or sand/mud mixtures under the action of currents and waves.

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