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Reducing Our Risk
Organization: Virginia Institute of Marine Science Foundation
Over 300 acres of Chesapeake Bay shorelands are lost to erosion annually, primarily as a result of severe storms that elevate water levels and contain high wind speeds. Headland Control is a unique shoreline management technique whereby existing geomorphic features are enhanced with large stone breakwaters and/or large stone breakwaters are strategically placed along eroding coasts to create headlands. These enhanced or created shore headlands are widely spaced for economy. The adjacent coasts are allowed to continue to erode toward an equilibrium shore position or planform. The final equilibrium planform is a large pocket beach whose dimensions will depend on the amount of sand that will come to reside in the evolving embayment. Headland Control is applied to long reaches of agricultural or unmanaged woodland shores to begin the process of stabilization. With steadily rising sea levels and increased storm activity, addressing shoreline erosion along tidal water bodies like Chesapeake Bay will become even more important. Headland Control offers a cost effective means to manage eroding shorelines over time.