University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography scientist Clark Alexander has received funding approval from Georgia Sea Grant for a two-year study to collect and analyze new, high-resolution data to identify the sand resources available near the Georgia coast.
“Sand resources are needed to rebuild beach and dune systems to provide the same or better levels of protection to lives and property,” Alexander said.
“These sand resources data are critically needed in Georgia, as the sand resources in our state waters are the most poorly known of all the states along the East Coast.”
The study will focus on three developed barrier islands that have not been renourished – Sea Island, St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island.
The project will gather new samples and data on seabed sediment texture and composition from the beach out to the state-waters boundary, three nautical miles offshore. The researchers will merge that data with existing samples from the beaches and the sea bed and integrate all the samples to determine where sand deposits are located that would be suitable for beach renourishment.
“Typically, we find a wide range of sand, and not all of it is beach-quality,” Alexander said. “We need to locate sand deposits that have similar size and composition to the natural beach.”
The team will collect beach grain size samples during both the summer and winter to assess the differences in texture and composition in the beach in response to changing storm, tide and wave conditions.