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Balancing natural processes and competing uses on a transgressive barrier, Duxbury Beach, Massachusetts

By
Peter S. Rosen
Peter S. Rosen
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA
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Duncan M. FitzGerald
Duncan M. FitzGerald
Department of Earth Sciences, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA
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Ilya V. Buynevich
Ilya V. Buynevich
Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122, USA
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Published:
January 01, 2009

Duxbury Beach, Massachusetts, is a retreating, transgressive barrier that is effectively managed to meet a range of competing land uses. While the barrier is heralded as a natural coastal setting, the entire landform is methodically engineered on an ongoing basis to best accomplish the goals established for the beach within a context of natural processes. Historical and geological data indicate that the natural barrier form includes numerous ephemeral tidal inlets (some of which have migrated) and overwash channels, and low discontinuous dunes. At present, the managed barrier has a continuous vegetated foredune and broad backdune. Management techniques have evolved over the past several decades based on growing experience and understanding of the coastal processes and of wildlife habitats. Although the foredune crest is reconstructed each spring, the entire beach is gradually being allowed to retreat to remain in equilibrium with rising sea level. The lagoonal shore is being widened through beach nourishment and through proposed creation of back-barrier salt marshes using silty dredge spoil. Uses of the barrier include town and public recreational beaches, off-road vehicle access, a right-of-way to isolated communities, flood protection of landward areas, and shorebird nesting habitat.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

America's Most Vulnerable Coastal Communities

Joseph T. Kelley
Joseph T. Kelley
University of Maine, Department of Earth Sciences, Orono, Maine, USA
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Orrin H. Pilkey
Orrin H. Pilkey
Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA
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J. Andrew
J. Andrew
Centre for Coastal and Marine Research, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK
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G. Cooper
G. Cooper
Centre for Coastal and Marine Research, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK
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Geological Society of America
Volume
460
ISBN print:
9780813724607
Publication date:
January 01, 2009

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