Behaviour of subtidal sandbars in response to nourishments

Max Radermacher, Matthieu de Schipper, Timothy Price, Bas Huisman, Stefan Aarninkhof, Ad Reniers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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The behaviour of subtidal sandbars can be strongly influenced by the introduction of sand nourishments in the coastal system. This study focuses on the impact of nourishments on subtidal bar behaviour at spatio-temporal scales beyond a single nourishment project. It aims to determine the long-term behaviour of subtidal sandbars along an entire coastal cell, taking into account both the unnourished and nourished regime, and covering various types of nourishments. The analysis is based on over 50 years of sandbar evolution along the Delfland coast, a 17-km long coastal cell at the Dutch North Sea coastline protected by groynes and maintained with frequent sand nourishments. Observations reveal clearly different sandbar behaviour during the unnourished (first 20 years) and nourished periods of the dataset. Introduction of the first beach nourishments (nourished sand primarily placed at the subaerial beach) was found to stimulate sandbar development along previously unbarred sections of the coast. Shoreface nourishments (nourished sand placed at the seaward face of the pre-existing subtidal sandbar) tended to migrate shoreward rapidly at a rate of 20 to 60 m/year at this coast, thereby forcing the pre-existing sandbar to weld to the dry beach. An abrupt transition of sandbar dynamics was observed following a major nourishment operation (∼ 37.5 Mm3 of nourished sand) that covered the entire coastal cell. A new, shallow sandbar formed with a degree of alongshore variability that was unprecedented at the Delfland coast over the full study period. These results imply that individual nourishments can influence the formation and migration of individual sandbars, while continued nourishments can fundamentally change long-term sandbar dynamics along an entire coastal cell.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Early online date15 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • sand nourishment
  • nearshore sandbars
  • sand motor
  • alongshore variability


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