The Hatfield Marine Sciences Center has embarked on an experiment of sorts – to slow down the erosion of sandy beach near HMSC’s estuary trail. The trail has been repeatedly eroded or encroached upon by receding beach lines. Scientists say the reason is that so much of the urban area of Yaquina Bay have been armored with steel, rock and concrete so that waves bounce off them and end up lashing the sandy shores, causing erosion. And it’s is bad news for the estuary trail.
To stop this erosive trend, HMSC scientists are putting down gravel along sandy sections of the shoreline near the trail. Earlier experiments with graveling have proven wave erosion is substantially reduced as gravel absorbs wave energy more ably than mere sand. HMSC scientists report that they’ll be “armoring” more sandy areas near the estuary trail over the next week and will be keeping score on the gravel’s protective effects over time.