Most existing studies of beach replenishments make approximations or use rules-of-thumb for the cost of the volume of material applied or the cost per length of shoreline. Using published historical data from the US Atlantic coast, we develop a statistical model of the costs of beach replenishment episodes. The model can be used to evaluate the costs of replenishment as a function of the volume of material, the beach length, the episode location, the year, the type of episode, and the source of funding. Although it has been observed that beach replenishment activities are small and declining in number in some areas, such as in New England, we expect that future coastal erosion expected from changes in sea levels as exacerbated by storm events eventually may lead to increased attention to the use of beach replenishment as a “soft” structural response. It is critical for coastal planners to compare sound estimates of the costs of soft structures to the costs of alternative responses, including hard structures, retreat, and abandonment.
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Vol. 28 • No. 1A