Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



1 1 Introduction The Town of Colonial Beach occupies a peninsula between the Potomac River and Monroe Bay (Figure 1). Approximately2.5 miles of the shoreline is publicly-owned. Two areas on the Potomac River have been enhanced as recreational beaches forswimming and sunbathing. Central Beach is located just south of the Town Pier and is the main recreational beach. CastlewoodBeach is south of Central Beach near the entrance to Monroe Bay. Mean tide range is1.64 ft while the spring range 1.94 ft (NOAA,2011).
In 1982, breakwater and beach fill systems were completed to abate erosion and restore the beach along the Town’s shoreline.Four gapped breakwaters were constructed at Central Beach, and 50,000 cubic yards of sand was placed as part of an U.S. ArmyCorps of Engineers shore project. At Castlewood Beach, three gapped breakwaters and 16,000 cubic yards of sand were placed, and aterminal groin was constructed to reduce shoaling in the entrance channel to Monroe Bay. Sections of the shoreline had a rockrevetment placed along it by 1986. A project in 1989 called for 1,250 cubic yards of sand, breakwater maintenance, and cleanup andremoval of small rocks from the river bed at the toe of the beach at Central Beach. In the fall of 1992, the Town, in conjunction withthe U.S. Army Corps of Engineers replenished Central Beach with 11,200 cy of sand. In the mid-1990s, the Virginia Department ofTransportation put in additional riprap revetment along a large section of Colonial Beach’s shoreline. Prior to that, a mix of differenttypes of materials had been placed along the shore to abate erosion. In 1998, approximately 2,100 cubic yards of sand was placeprimarily on Central Beach with some on Castlewood. Again in the winter of 1999, more sand was placed on Central and CastlewoodBeaches. In September 2003, Hurricane Isabel severely impacted Colonial Beach (Milligan et al., 2002). In May 2011,approximately 10,000 cy of beach fill was placed on Central Beach.
Specific shore change is addressed at Central Beach and Castlewood Beach through recent beach profiles. Beach profilestaken in January 2011 and July 2011 were compared to previous profiles. Change in beach volume was quantified. Aerialphotography taken in February 2001 were rectified in GIS to compare to previous aerial photos.



Shoreline Management, Constructed Beach, Colonial Beach, GIS

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.