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CIRP-WN-11-3

Assessing the Impact of Federal Navigation Projects on Adjacent Beaches:
Methods to Conduct Section 111 Studies

by Julie D. Rosati

PURPOSE:

This Wiki-Technical note presents an overview of the Section 111 Authority, presents methods that can be applied in Section 111 studies, and provides a reference list to previous Section 111 studies. The Wiki-TN concludes with recommendations for a systematic, defensible Section 111 analysis.

CITATION:

 Rosati, J.D., 2011, Assessing the Impact of Federal Navigation Projects on Adjacent Beaches:
Methods to Conduct Section 111 Studies, Wiki-TN, Vicksburg, MS: U.S. Army Engineer Research
and Development Center.

INTRODUCTION:

Section 111 of the 1968 Rivers and Harbors Act, Public Law 90-483, as amended, gives the Federal government the authority to study, plan, and prevent or mitigate damages to shores caused by navigation projects:

The Secretary of the Army is authorized to investigate, study, plan, and implement structural and nonstructural measures for the prevention or mitigation of shore damages attributable to Federal navigation works and shore damage attributable to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, if a non-Federal public body agrees to operate and maintain such measures, and, in the cases of interests in real property acquired in conjunction with nonstructural measures, to operate and maintain the property for public purposes in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary. The cost of implementing measures under this section shall be cost-shared in the same proportion as the cost-sharing provisions applicable to the project causing the shore damage. No such project shall be initiated without specific authorization by Congress if the Federal first cost exceeds $5,000,000.

Since the 1970s, there have been numerous Section 111 studies that have estimated the erosion caused by navigation channels, jetties, and dredging and placement activities over the lifetime of an individual navigation project. The goal of a Section 111 study is to evaluate data and conduct analyses such that a determination can be made for the percentage of damages caused by the Federal navigation project. Cost of the mitigation project, usually in the form of beach restoration, will then be shared with the local partner at the same percentage as the original navigation project. Section 111 studies have applied a range of methods, including an assessment of processes (waves, currents, sediment transport) with and without the project, analysis of historical shoreline position and beach profile data, and formulation of sediment budgets. The goal of this document is to provide an orientation to Section 111 studies and present guidance for assessment.

IMPROVED VERSUS NATURAL INLET SYSTEMS:

Improved inlets may include dredged navigation channels and placement sites; and stabilizing structures such as jetties, spurs, groins, and revetments. The improved inlet system may differ from the pre-project system in terms of hydrodynamics such as the tidal range in the estuary/bay, circulation and water quality, flooding characteristics in the back bay, and wave breaking characteristics in the nearshore, which are of particular interest to the surfing community. However, the specific intent of the Section 111 analysis is to mitigate for damages to shores -- erosion or other damages -- caused by the federal project. Changes in environmental conditions fall outside the perview of the Section 111 authority.[examples].

The Section 111 study must assess the region affected by the federal navigation channel, including the alongshore extent of influence, and then determine the total damages (Vol_tot; presumed to be erosion) within this region. Background erosion (Vol_bg) caused by regional processes, sea level change during the study period, or other non-project phenomena must also be calculated and subtracted from the total erosion quantity. Background erosion rates can be estimated from pre-project data, idealized numerical modeling, and ancillary data. Then the erosion that can be assigned to the navigation project, Vol_nav, is Vol_nav=Vol_tot-Vol_bg and the percentage of the total erosion, P, that can be supported under the Section 111 authority is P = 100 x Vol_nav/Vol_tot.

TYPES OF DATA FOR ANALYSIS:

Ideally, data to quantify the pre-project and post-project conditions would be available and compared to assess the differences prior to and after project construction. Many times the temporal availability and quality of such data are insufficient. An evaluation of background (non-project) processes, such as relative sea level change and long-term regional erosion or accretion, must be accounted for in the analysis. Uncertainty and error associated with each data set must be quantified so that the percentage of damage to the adjacent shores caused by the navigation project can be characterized relative to the reliability of the data and analysis methods.

There are three types of data that can be applied, data characterizing the condition of the beaches adjacent to the inlet, process data, and anthropogenic activities such as dredging and placement:

Condition data in vicinity of inlet

  • Shoreline position
  • Beach profiles
  • Topography and bathymetry with associated horizontal and vertical datums (see NOAA's discussion of tidal datums,Datums, Great Lakes datums,Great Lakes Datums, and benchmarks Bench Marks)
  • Aerial photographs, including vegetation type and coverage
  • Sediment type and distribution

Processes

  • Long-term sea level or Lake level change (see NOAA's Tides and Currents,

Historic Sea Level Trends;Historic Great Lakes Water Levels)

  • Offshore (and nearshore, if available) wave and wind climatology (see National Data Buoy Center, NDBC Buoy Data; Wave Information Study Hindcast Data,

WIS Data; Tides and Currents, Meteorological Observations)

Anthropogenic Activities

  • Dredging and placement history
  • Construction of jetties, seawalls, groins, and other structures
  • Mining activities

FLOWCHART FOR SECTION 111 ANALYSIS:

Flowchart for Section 111 Analysis

REFERENCES:

  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1970. Section 111 reconnaissance report, Bakers Haulover Inlet: Dade County, Florida. Jacksonville, FL: U.S. Army Engineer District, Jacksonville.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1970. Section 111 reconnaissance report, Johns Pass, Pinellas County, Florida, Report No. 14. Jacksonville, FL: U.S. Army Engineer District, Jacksonville.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1971. Section 111 reconnaissance report, Fort Pierce Harbor, St. Lucie County, Florida, Report No.14. Jacksonville, FL: U.S. Army Engineer District, Jacksonville.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1974. Section 111 reconnaissance report, Palm Beach Harbor, Palm Beach County, Florida. Department of the Army, Jacksonville District, Corps of Engineers Report No.18. Jacksonville, FL: U.S. Army Engineer District, Jacksonville.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1979. Detailed project report, Ft. Pierce, Florida. Jacksonville, FL. U.S. Army Engineer District, Florida. (Do Not Have)
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1979. Panama City beaches, Florida: Communication from the Secretary of the Army transmitting a Corps of Engineers report on the Panama City beaches, Florida, in partial response to a resolution of the Senate Committee on public works adopted April 20, 1970, and pursuant to Section 111 of Public Law 90-483. Washington, DC: Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers. (Do Not Have)
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1979. Panama City beaches, Florida letter from the Secretary of the Army transmitting a letter from the Chief of Engineers Department of the Army, dated July 8, 1978, submitting a report, together with accompanying papers and illustrations, on Panama City beaches, Florida. The report has been prepared in partial response to a resolution by the Committee on Public Works, United States Senate, adopted April 20, 1970. It is also in response to Section 111, adopted April 20, 1970. It is also in response to Section 111 of the River and Harbor Act of 1968 (Public Law 90-483). (Do Not Have)
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1982. Detailed project report, Ft. Pierce Harbor, Florida. Jacksonville, FL: U.S. Army Engineer District, Florida.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1971. Section 111 reconnaissance report, Michigan City Harbor, Indiana. Department of the Army, Chicago District, Corps of Engineers.? Chicago, IL: U.S. Army Engineer District, Chicago.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1992. Camp Ellis Beach Saco, Maine Beach Erosion Study: Section 111 Reconnaissance Report. Waltham, MA: U.S. Army Engineer Division, New England.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 2001. Saco River and Camp Ellis Beach, Saco Maine Beach Erosion Study: Section 111 shoreline damage mitigation study, initial appraisal (draft). Waltham, MA: U.S. Army Engineer Division, New England.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1972. Section 111 preliminary report on Harbor Beach Harbor, Michigan. Detroit, MI: U.S. Army Engineer District, Detroit.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1973. Section 111 detailed project report on shore damage at South Haven Harbor, Michigan, May. Detroit, MI: U.S. Army Engineer District, Detroit.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1973. Section 111 detailed project report on shore damage for St. Joseph Harbor, Michigan. Detroit, MI: U.S. Army Engineer District, Detroit.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1975. Economic data extracted from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 111 detailed projects report on shore damage at Muskegon Harbor, Michigan. Detroit, MI: U.S. Army Engineer District, Detroit.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1975. Mitigation of shore damage attributed to the federal navigation structures at Port Saniloc, Michigan. Draft Environmental Statement, May, 1975: U.S. Army Engineer District, Detroit.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1976. Section 111 detailed project report on shore damage at Grand Haven Harbor, Michigan. Detroit, MI: U.S. Army Engineer District, Detroit.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1976. Section 111 detailed project report on shore damage for Presque Isle Harbor, Michigan. Draft. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Army Engineer District, St. Paul.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1977. Section 111 detailed project report on shore damage for Grand Traverse Bay Harbor, Michigan. Detroit, MI: U.S. Army Engineer District, Detroit.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1979. Draft detailed project report on shore damages at Grand Marais Harbor, Michigan, October. Detroit, MI: U.S. Army Engineer District, Detroit.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1979. Section 111 detailed project report on shore damage at Harrisville Harbor, Michigan. Detroit, MI: U.S. Army Engineer District, Detroit.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1980. Section 111, Expanded reconnaissance report on shore damage at Lexington Harbor, Michigan. Detroit, MI: U.S. Army Engineer District, Detroit.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1982. Grand Marais Harbor, Michigan: Final environmental impact statement on shore damage, August. Detroit, MI: U.S. Army Engineer District, Detroit.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 2000. Detailed project report Section 111 study, Minnesota Point, Duluth, Minnesota. Detroit, MI: U.S. Army Engineer District, Detroit.
  • Frederic R. Harrison, Inc. 1979. Indian River Inlet: Section 111 Erosion study. Lake Success, NY: Frederic R. Harrison, Inc.
  • Frederic R. Harrison, Inc. 1979-08. Indian River Inlet: Section 111 erosion study. Lake Success, NY: Frederic R. Harrison, Inc.
  • Batten, B. K., and N. C. Kraus. 2006. Evaluation of downdrift shore erosion, Mattituck Inlet, New York: Section 111 Study. Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory Technical Report CHL-TR-06-1. Vicksburg, MS: U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1978. Vermilion Harbor, Ohio, Section 111 Study: Study of the impact of the federal navigation structures on shoreline processes. Draft report. Buffalo, NY: U.S. Army Engineers District, Buffalo.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1980. The impact of federal navigation structures on shoreline processes, Section 111 Study, Vermilion Harbor, Ohio. Tetra Tech Report No. TC 3319. Buffalo, NY: U.S. Army Engineer District, Buffalo.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1980. Stage 3 checkpoint, conference document for Vermilion Harbor, Ohio studies; Volume 1 - Section 111 D.P.R. Study; Volume 2 - Breakwater impact study. Buffalo, NY: U.S. Army Engineer District, Buffalo.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1982. Vermilion Harbor, Ohio, detailed project report on Section 111 shore erosion study microform. Stage 3 documentation. Buffalo, NY: U.S. Army Engineer District, Buffalo; and Springfield, VA: National Technical Information Service.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1980. Section 111 report, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. United States Army, Corps of Engineers, Wilmington District.? Wilmington, NC: U.S. Army Engineer District, Wilmington.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 2001. Section 111 report. Morehead City Harbor/Pine Knoll Shores, North Carolina. Revised June 20, 2001: U.S. Army Engineer District, Wilmington.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1981. Section 111: Shores east of diked disposal area, Lorain Harbor, Ohio. Buffalo, November, NY: U.S. Army Engineer District, Buffalo.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1975. Rogue River at Gold Beach, Oregon; Detailed project report, bank erosion at Wedderburn, Section 111 Study. Portland, OR: U.S. Army Engineer District, Portland.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1988. Winchester Bay (Salmon Harbor) mitigation of shoreline damages, Section 111. Final feasibility report and environmental assessment. Portland, OR: U.S. Army Engineer District, Portland.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1994. Winchester Bay (Salmon Harbor) mitigation of shoreline damages, Section 111. Detailed project report and environmental assessment. Portland, OR: U.S. Army Engineer District, Portland.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1994-06. Winchester Bay (Salmon Harbor) mitigation of shoreline damages, Section 111: Detailed project report and environmental assessment. Portland, OR: U.S. Army Engineer District, Portland.