Of or pertaining to the wind, in this case windblown (aeolian) sediment transport or movement of sand



The area of unconsolidated sediments, stretching from the dunes to the intertidal zone; the underwater portion of the beach profile is sometimes referred to as the shoreface

Beach grooming

Practice of removing debris and seaweed from sandy beaches. Often this is done with a rake of some sort

Beach nourishment

The placement of sediments mined or transported from another location on a beach in order to temporarily reverse or slow down long-term erosion and protect structures located behind the beach


Living on the bottom, in this case animals that live on the sea, bay or estuary floor and generally remaining submerged at all times


A nearly horizontal plateau on the beach face or backshore, formed by deposition of beach material by wave action, or my artificial means


An engineering structure built in the water off of a shoreline with the intention of slowing down waves before they strike the beach, sheltering the adjacent shoreline (i.e. armoring)


A wall, typically built on the estuarine shoreline, to protect adjacent structures from erosion or storm flooding, or to allow for deep water immediately next to the shoreline for the mooring of boats (i.e. armoring)


Coastal Strand

Plant community of flowering plants that form along the shore in loose sand just above the mean high water



The direction in which the littoral drift or longshore sediment transport is moving sediment


A mound or ridge of unconsolidated sediment, usually sand-sized particles, that is built through the accumulation of windblown sand



A semi-enclosed body of water which has open connections to the ocean and within which marine waters are diluted or mixed with freshwater, forming a body of water with lower salinity than the ocean and higher salinity than rivers




The topography, or landforms, of a given area


An engineering structure built perpendicular to the beach, typically constructed of wood pilings, sheet metal, large rocks, or concrete, with the intention of trapping sediment in the littoral drift and slowing local erosion rates (i.e. armoring)



A low mound or ridge of sand, usually characteristic of some coastal strand vegetation



Invertebrate animals that live within the sediment near the surface, such as mole crabs, polychaete worms and clams


Basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g. buildings, roads and power supply)


The area of a shoreline that is alternately exposed to air and submerged under water with changing positions of the daily tide



An engineering structure, typically constructed out of large stone, concrete or sheet metal that is built perpendicular to the shoreline along an inlet shoulder in order to hold or stabilize the inlet and its channels in place (i.e. armoring)



Littoral Cell

Distinct, essentially self-contained units that are geographically limited. These cells consist of a series of sand sources (rivers, bluff erosion) and sinks (dunes, submarine canyons), and longshore transport moves sand along the shoreline

Littoral drift, or longshore sediment transport

The current formed by waves striking a shoreline at an angle which moves sediment along a shoreline, predominantly in one direction (from updrift to downdrift)



An area of partially submerged vegetation, typically saltmarsh reed grasses such as Spartina spp. or Juncus spp. along a shoreline or in an estuary, which may be exposed at low tide and mostly submerged at high tide

Mean High Water

The average of all the high water heights observed over the National Tidal Datum Epoch



The active littoral, or surf, zone where wave action moves significant amounts of sediment on a daily basis



The area of the seafloor or ocean that is farther away from the beach or shoreline, seaward of the surf zone





An engineering structure, typically a sloping wall constructed of large rocks, installed along a shoreline to protect adjacent structures from erosion and encroaching waters (i.e. armoring)


Material or debris such as rock, brick, concrete block or similar hard materials that is placed along a shoreline to slow down local erosion rates (i.e. armoring)

Rubble mound

A mound or ridge of rubble debris (rock, concrete, etc.) placed in the water off of a shoreline that acts like a breakwater to slow down waves and shelter adjacent shorelines


A narrow channel or course, as for water



A wall, typically built of sheet metal or concrete, that is installed parallel to and on the landward side of the beach in order to protect structures from tidal flooding and wave action (i.e. armoring)

Sediment supply

The volume of sediment moved annually along a beach by the littoral drift, or longshore sediment transport


A body of sediment that rises in elevation from the surrounding sea or bay floor and that may be exposed during periods of low tide; shoals are generally found near or within tidal inlets

Shoreline armoring

Construction of seawalls, jetties, offshore breakwaters, and groins (among others), intended to hold shorelines in place


The portion of the beach that remains dry and not submerged during periods of high tide


The portion of the beach, estuary or ocean that remains submerged under water during all tidal periods


Under water

Surf zone

The area adjacent to a shoreline in which waves are breaking and running up on to the beach


Terminal groin

A groin that is placed at the end of an island adjacent to an inlet

Tidal flat

A marshy, muddy or sandy nearly flat landform that is alternately exposed and submerged during periods of low and high tides



The direction from which the predominant littoral drift or longshore sediment transport is moving; jetties and groins can trap this sediment on their updrift sides, blocking its movement to downdrift beaches




Organic materials such as seaweed, marsh grass and other vegetation that is deposited on a beach by waves and tides