Martínez, M.L.; Landgrave, R.; Silva, R., and Hesp, P., 2019. Shoreline dynamics and coastal dune stabilization in response to changes in infrastructure and climate. In: Silva, R.; Martínez, M.L.; Chávez, V., and Lithgow, D. (eds.), Integrating Biophysical Components in Coastal Engineering Practices. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 92, pp. 6–12. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.
The goal of this study was to understand shoreline dynamics and coastal dune stabilization in response to changes in infrastructure (urbanization and the construction of breakwaters for shoreline protection) and climate in Playa Chachalacas, located in the central region of the Gulf of Mexico. Aerial images from different years were analysed to examine: (a) shoreline dynamics and changes at the river mouth, located down-drift from the dunefield; (b) stabilization of the mobile dune; and (c) urbanization along the shoreline. The data show that the cover of grasses and shrubs increased rapidly on the dunefields. In some areas, there was intense erosion along the shoreline and accretion in others at significant rates. The breakwaters promoted accretion but exacerbated erosion down-drift, with notable changes in the inlet. Finally, urbanization has occurred at a fast rate, and mostly parallel to the shoreline. The results indicate that different factors affect sediment dynamics: (a) the breakwaters solved the erosion problem locally but generated intense erosion down-drift; (b) warm and wet climate promoted vegetation growth and sediment stabilization; and (c) urbanization along the coast resulted in ecosystem loss and increased risks to flooding. Indeed, management and development plans for coastal environments need to consider the dynamic nature of the coastline.