Corps to Perform Lakebed Imaging Study

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, initiates a lakebed imaging study to determine changes near the New Buffalo, Michigan.

Eleven scientists and engineers from the Detroit Corps office will converge on southeast Lake Michigan to conduct a two-week long lakebed imaging study.

These measurements will be made in an effort to quantify the changes in the amount of sand in the coastal zone.

A variety of techniques will be employed to image the surface and subsurface of the lakebed near the area. The survey is scheduled to be complete by the beginning of October.

Beaches are an important resource not only to tourism but also serve as a buffer against the erosion of coastal bluffs, a 23 year veteran with the Corps’ Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office, Jim Selegean, PhD, said.

Over the last several decades, the supply of sand to the coastal zone has decreased due to the construction of dams and coastal shore protection. This study will quantify the response to this reduction in supply,” Selegean said.

The data collected will consist of bathymetry, side scan sonar, sub-bottom profiling, surficial grab samples, hand cores and underwater video. The analysis of the data will continue through the winter. The results of the study should be available by the spring 2016.

What makes this work so exciting is that we are repeating a study completed nearly 30 years ago and will be able to show how the beaches and nearshore have responded to a dwindling sediment supply over the last 30 years,” said Selegean.

The results will be used to help guide future coastal zone management decisions.

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