Behaviour and performance of a dynamic cobble berm revetment during a spring tidal cycle in North Cove, Washington State, USA

Paul M. Bayle, George M. Kaminsky, Chris E. Blenkinsopp, Heather M. Weiner, David Cottrell

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In many places, sandy coastlines and their associated assets are at high risk of erosion and flooding, with this risk increasing under climate change and sea level rise. In this context, dynamic cobble berm revetments represent a potentially sustainable protection technique to armour sandy beaches, reduce wave runup and protect the hinterland against wave attack. However, the behaviour and performance of such structures is not well understood. The dynamic cobble berm revetment located in North Cove, WA, USA, was monitored over a spring tidal cycle in January 2019. A representative 60 m alongshore section was monitored over 10 days using 2D laser scanner (lidar) measurements, GPS ground elevation surveys, Radio Frequency Identification of individual cobbles and revetment thickness measurements. These data were used together to assess the dynamic behaviour and functionality of the revetment throughout the experiment. Over the course of the experiment, the surface elevation changed by up to ±0.5 m, and the revetment volume reduced by an average 0.67 m3/m. These changes were found to be caused by relatively large significant wave height and high water levels. The revetment demonstrated a dynamic stability and the capacity to quickly reshape under changing hydrodynamic conditions. The instrumented cobbles were transported along and cross-shore and accumulated at the toe of the revetment, but were never transported seaward of the toe. The revetment also managed to recover some of the lost volume under moderate wave conditions. The revetment behaviour was found to be influenced by variation in the cobble-sand matrix. The underlying sand dynamics – i.e., accumulation or removal of sand within the cobbles – were found to govern the overall volume changes and were important to the overall stability of the revetment. Seven possible transport regimes were identified, and a model of the internal sand dynamics was developed. During the spring tidal cycle measured here, the revetment protected the sand scarp immediately landward and prevented flooding of the hinterland, while armouring the underlying sand. Over time, renourishment will likely be required due to longshore sediment transport, and preliminary guidelines for this and other aspects of design are suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103898
Number of pages20
JournalCoastal Engineering
Early online date14 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2021


  • Coastal adaptation
  • Coastal protection
  • Dynamic cobble berm revetment
  • Lidar
  • Sediment dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering


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