In SW Spain, numerous tourist beaches have been nourished over recent years to counteract coastal retreat. Nourishment projects have not produced great endurance, mainly because of the lack of basic information on coastal dynamics and longshore sediment transport paths. In order to cover these aspects in a sandy coastal sector south of the Guadalquivir River mouth, a beach monitoring program was carried out between 1996 and 1998, with a secondary program between 2000 and 2002. Four main beach types were identified, each one with different volumetric trends during the monitoring periods. Most beaches recorded accretion because of the prevalence of fair weather conditions, which emphasized differences among beaches. In a broad sense, beaches located on intertidal rock platforms recorded erosion or no change. Those located updrift of rock platforms or human-made constructions (groins) recorded accretion. These structures divide the coast into several littoral cells, which control longshore sediment transport between beaches. All this information is very useful for planning replenishment projects on eroding beaches. The distribution of cells, the sediment transport paths associated with them, and the volumetric trends obtained for every beach type were used for evaluating nourishment procedures, sand volume needs, and expected life time of the resulting artificial beaches.
Beach volumetric trends