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Beach Nourishment

Beach nourishment programs, which aim to replenish beach sand with sediment from offshore or an upland source, have become common in coastal communities worldwide. Beach nourishment involves using sediment to enhance dunes, the beachfront, and/or the shoreface. The sediment may be spread by machine and then moved by waves, tides and wind. This approach is best suited for low-lying oceanfront areas with existing sources of sand and gravel.

On the US eastern and southern seaboards, beach nourishment is used to replace sand lost to storms and protect against future erosion of the natural dunes and original shoreline. Nourishment projects require coastal modelling to be effective.

Potential Benefits Potential Challenges
  • Offers a protection against erosion and wave action
  • Can expand the usable beach area for human use
  • Increases the elevation and distance between the upland area and shoreline
  • Typically has lower environmental impact than coastal armouring structures
  • Temporary solution that requires monitoring and repeated application
  • Can disturb or damage habitats both at the site of nourishment and the source of the sediment
  • Not suitable for shorelines with high erosion rates

In BC/Lower Mainland 

Beach nourishment has been undertaken on some beaches across BC, including Parksville and Campbell River on Vancouver Island, and the Hot Sands Beach in Kelowna.