Escudero, M.; Silva, R., and Mendoza, E., 2014. Beach erosion driven by natural and human activity at Isla del Carmen Barrier Island, Mexico.
The study site is located on the Gulf of Mexico and is part of the most valuable lagoon-estuarine system in Mexico, not only in ecological terms but also as an important economic and social site for the country. Although the current state of the environment is still reasonably healthy over much of its area, the natural equilibrium has been greatly affected by human activities, as in many of other coastal lagoons worldwide (e.g., infrastructure and building construction, installation of inappropriately designed defense structures, degradation of vegetation and an artificial lagoon opening). The consequence is a sediment deficit that, combined with the impact of tropical cyclones and the absence of an external sand supply, has led to persistent beach erosion. The analysis of the physical settings, historical shoreline changes and hydrodynamic patterns of the study site has helped to identify the critical elements affecting the current state of the beach. This paper proposes a shoreline protection scheme, based on the understanding of the current functioning of the site, in order to reduce local flooding and erosion risks, which affect the population and tourism, and to preserve the natural environmental services of the area.