This dataset represents an estimate of the length of proposed sediment placement on sandy oceanfront beaches after Hurricane Sandy. There are 6 datasets total that together represent sediment placement in the North and Mid-Atlantic: Proposed Sediment Placement (points, lines, and polygons) and Sediment Placement (points, lines, and polygons). These data are part of a broader project: Inventory of Habitat Modifications to Sandy Oceanfront Beaches in the U.S. Atlantic Coast Breeding Range of the Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) as of 2015: Maine to North Carolina.
At least 398.80 miles (641.80 km; 24%) of oceanfront shoreline between Georgetown, ME, and the North Carolina-South Carolina boundary have received artificial sand placement via dredge disposal activities, beach nourishment or restoration, dune construction, emergency berms, inlet bypassing, and inlet closure projects. In most areas sediment placement projects are conducted in developed areas or adjacent to shoreline or inlet hard stabilization structures in order to address erosion, reduce storm damages, or ameliorate sediment deficits caused by inlet dredging and stabilization activities. The length of sandy shoreline modified by sediment placement projects increased significantly during the three years after Hurricane Sandy. Prior to the hurricane, at least 337.98 miles (543.93 km), or 18%, of sandy shoreline was known to be modified by sediment placement (Rice 2015d). During the three years after Hurricane Sandy, approximately 50 miles (80 km) of sandy beach habitat was newly modified with sediment placement projects – a 15% increase. By the end of 2015, another 75.96 miles (122.25 km) of sandy shoreline was anticipated to be (in 2016-17) or proposed to be modified by sediment placement. If constructed, the anticipated and proposed sediment placement projects would increase the length of sandy shoreline modified by sediment placement to 474.76 miles (764.05 km), an increase from 24% to 27% of the sandy shoreline.
Although the coast of Maryland has the highest proportion of sediment placement activities its oceanfront shoreline at 100%, that percentage reflects historical activities that have not recurred in recent decades (Rice 2015c). Since 1980, sandy beach habitat in oceanfront Maryland has only been 53% modified by sediment placement. Therefore the Atlantic Ocean shoreline of New York and New Jersey have the highest proportion of sandy beach habitat modified by sediment placement in 2015, at 61% each. North Carolina, however, has more sandy beach habitat modified by sediment placement than any other state, with over 100 miles (160 km) modified as of 2015; because North Carolina has the second highest length of sandy shoreline within the U.S. Atlantic Coast breeding range of the piping plover, the proportion of habitat within the state of North Carolina that had been modified by sediment placement as of 2015 was 31%. Anticipated and proposed sediment placement projects would modify more sandy beach habitat in North Carolina than in any other state, by a factor of nearly 2.5.
Sandy beach habitat in the New England and Peconic Estuary states is much less modified by sediment placement projects than the states to the south, ranging from 3 to 15%. Large scale, federally-maintained coastal storm damage reduction projects that place sediment on sandy beach habitat every few years for 50 years or more are rare north of Montauk, NY. Locally sponsored projects, particularly the placement of dredged material from nearby navigation channels, are more typical of the states north of Montauk, NY.