Beach Erosion


From 2004 through 2018, CSMW conducted studies that compiled or developed various tools that were designed to assist interested parties obtain information relevant to their sediment management needs. Stakeholders included local and regional planners and managers, local scientists and academia, resources and regulatory staff, and elected officials.

This website represents CSMWs primary tool to make RSM-related information available to all parties. Its intent is to cover all aspects of CSMW and RSM, including tool development and availability. This website also provides historical records of discussions and decisions made through the CSMW to assist member agencies in their missions and to inform the general public and local agencies on technical, planning, and implementation issues. Other RSM support tools, developed by or with significant input from CSMW are listed below.

  • 1.    A topical “Library” was compiled, containing links to reports and documents relevant to CSMWs mission
  • 2.    A geospatial database was constructed containing shapefiles/coverages of georeferenced physical, ecological and sediment source/receiver site data, often developed during preparation of the Coastal RSM Plans
  • 3.    An interactive web browser (aka “WebMapper”) was designed to illustrate and overlay data layers contained within the geospatial database or available through other agency map services
  • 4.    An interactive reference database searchable by author, topic or other criterion was constructed
  • 5.    A Literature Search was conducted to provide stakeholder-requested information on RSM issues they brought forward during the SMP Conceptualization workshops
  • 6.    Guidance documents were developed for local and/or regional agencies discussing how to implement beach restoration projects, including source and receiver site selection, sand compatibility and environmental compliance
  • 7.    Handouts, brochures and laymen reports were developed to provide information and background for use at public meetings, workshops and hearings
  • 8.    An interactive Coastal Sediment Benefits Analysis Tool was developed to help quantify the costs associated with conducting coastal restoration through RSM
  • 9.    CSMW helped initiate, contributed funding for, and provided counsel during construction of a demonstration project meant to assess regulatory concerns when clean sediment with a ratio of sand/fines less than 80/20 was placed on California beaches. The project also evaluated potential sediment use in the Estuary, which is being inundated with sediment from Mexico
  • 10.   Regional Coastal RSM Plans were developed with significant stakeholder input, to identify strategies for using RSM that could address erosion, sedimentation and governance issues within specific regions of the California coastline
  • 11.   The Coastal RSM Plans were typically followed by an environmental document to help assess ecological impacts anticipated when that Plan was implemented, and
  • 12.   An extensive listing of agencies, taskforces and data resources involved in sediment management was compiled


CSMW Library – CSMW developed and compiled numerous informational reports and organized them by topic in the library. Topics include reports either funded or prepared directly by CSMW as well as other reports relevant to their mission. Topics include coastal erosion, coastal engineering, economic studies, environmental, GIS, public information, planning and policy, regional sediment management, sea level rise, and sediment assessments.

Spatial Database – CSMW compiled numerous state-wide and region-specific spatial datasets over the course of the project, with the intent of displaying these layers within their spatial data web browser (WebMapper, see below). Data layers included those developed by CSMW during compilation of the informational reports and Coastal RSM Plans, as well as map service connections to Source Agency webpages when the relevant data was being housed and updated by the agency concerned. An extensive collection of coastal conditions and settings, environmental resources, coastal structures, jurisdictional boundaries, economics, sediment sources and potential receiver sites, transportation, and miscellaneous other datasets of import to RSM are included and available for downloading. Desired data layers and additional GIS servers were identified in a GIS Users Survey.

CSMW WebMapper - CSMW developed a web browser to visually display coastal spatial data collected during the course of the SMP (see above). A tool developed for the browser incorporated Coastal Records Project photography, allowing the browser user to see imagery of a specific coastal location along with spatial data. The browser is currently housed by USACE in Mobile, Alabama.

Coastal Literature Search – CSMW conducted a Literature Search of relevant documents in 2004 to provide needed information for seven main topics of concern that were identified in the SMP Conceptualization workshops. This was done to address a perceived need to assemble the technical information related to beach nourishment and sediment management and make that information easily available to the public.

Coastal Sediment References Searchable Database - CSMW subsequently prepared an interactive database of relevant coastal references that could be filtered by author, topic or subject matter. The database was constructed in large part using references that were developed during the various Coastal RSM Plan developments, as well as those compiled during preparation of the informational reports. The database is currently housed by USACE.

Sand Compatibility and Opportunistic Use Program (SCOUP) – In 2006, CSMW released a report designed to guide local or regional agencies through the beach fill processes of receiver site selection, sediment source material compatibility, testing protocols, implementation and monitoring. SCOUP established a process approved by regulatory agencies for environmentally-responsible use of opportunistic materials, provided a clear vision of testing and monitoring requirements before, during and post construction, and identified standardized methodologies for establishing compatibility between potential sources and receiver sites. It also identified protocols for the use of optimum and less-than-optimum source sands.

Beach Restoration Regulatory Guide – CSMW also released in 2006 a report summarizing the federal and state regulatory process in implementing beach restoration projects within California. An extensive listing of state and federal regulations and their requirements was provided. Processes involved in environmental and compliance review were all detailed, and requirements for all permits normally required were described.

Handouts – Various handouts were developed to provide information and background for use at public meetings, workshops and hearings. Most notably, a brochure was prepared to introduce the concept of RSM to those who might not be familiar with it, and to discuss the sediment imbalance and potential ‘roads to solutions’ issues that could be applicable to given sediment management issue(s). A layman report was prepared with assistance from UC Santa Cruz to explain sand transport along the coast, and how beaches were dependent on that sediment supply.

Coastal Sediment Benefits Analysis Tool - This tool was designed to analyze the costs and impacts of RSM using six components, including Sediment Sources, Receiver Sites, Transportation Modes and Costs, Recreation Usage and Benefit, Cost-Benefit Analysis, and Environmental Considerations. The approach was modified for usage in some of the Coastal RSM Plan efforts, and is housed at the USACE.

Tijuana Estuary Demonstration Project - The demonstration project was a multi-agency effort, led by the State Coastal Conservancy with the US Geological Survey providing scientific findings and analyses. The US Geological Survey analyzed sediment dispersal patterns during the project and developed a verified hydrodynamic model describing how fine sediment disperses when placed on the beach or nearshore. This model can be used to predict sediment dispersal at other locations, and is housed at the USGS.

Coastal Regional Sediment Management Plans – Eleven Plans were developed to provide strategies for identifying and addressing sediment management issues within specific regions. Each plan covered a discrete portion of the California coastline. Potential sediment sources and receiver sites were identified, and the most effective governance structures that would facilitate RSM in that region were recommended.

Environmental Documentation – These reports were typically prepared after completion of a region’s Coastal RSM Plan to assess ecological impacts associated with implementation of RSM within that region. The type of document prepared was generally selected by the regional partners as what was needed for the region. Programmatic Environmental Impact Reports, Mitigated Negative Declarations, SCOUPs and Description of Proposed Actions and Alternatives were all used to categorize potential ecological impacts.

Agency, Taskforce and Data Resources Links - CSMW compiled an extensive list of links to homepages agencies involved in sediment management. These links included CSMW member agencies and advisory groups, sediment management regional programs, sediment management projects, data resources, watershed and wetlands programs, and California ports and harbors. This information was compiled to make it easier for visitors to the website find specific agencies of interest.