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Inside Coasts

Tools and Reports

Beach Fx

Beach fx is an analytical framework that evaluates the physical performance and economic benefits and costs of shore-protection projects. The framework was developed in response to a need to strengthen the linkages between engineering analyses and planning functions for coastal storm damage reduction projects. Beach fx is a life-cycle simulation model that evaluates the physical performance and economic benefits and costs of shore protection projects, particularly beach nourishment along sandy shores.

The tool informs the way USACE thinks about coastal project planning. Beach fx has been implemented as an event-based Monte Carlo life-cycle simulation tool that is run on desktop computers. A user manual is available on the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) website (8.3 MB .pdf).


Coastal Value to the Nation

Coasts are dynamic areas, buffeted by storms--some mild and some fierce like hurricanes--that can change the way the area looks and functions over time. Erosion caused by storms eats away at developed land and ocean surges during storms can lead to flooding. Coastal areas and the wildlife that call them home also are impacted upon by natural events and human activities.

The Corps is an important partner in numerous programs and projects designed to help protect the economy and the environment of our nation's coastal areas by reducing the effects of these threats.

Corps coastal protection and restoration projects include:

  • Beach fills and nourishment to protect against storm surge and wave-generated erosion
  • Construction of shore structures, such as sea walls, breakwaters, and revetments, to protect against flooding and erosion
  • Best practices sand management

To learn more about USACE’s coastal mission’s value to the nation, visit the Value to the Nation website.


Eroding U.S. Shorelines – A Call for Resiliency

The NSMS results show that the shorelines of the U.S. are eroding, with enormous implications for the health, economics, and welfare of our citizens and the environment. Climate change and sea level rise significantly compound the regional and local issues on what management steps are needed to establish resilient shorelines. A series of fact sheets are available to provide information at the national, regional and state levels.


Mass Management System (MMS)

USACE Mass Management System (MMS) is a decision support system aiding evacuation management of vulnerable populations.  IWR facilitates support to improve emergency management response to cyclones affecting island communities through implementation of the MMS system.  Studies of methods to protect U.S. populations from the effects of land falling tropical cyclones have largely been confined to the mainland, continental United States.  These studies have emphasized evacuation of large populations from coastal areas as a primary mitigation measure against the effects of coastal storm surge and maximum cyclonic winds. 

The methods used to protect mainland populations from cyclone effects may not be appropriate or effective in island environments.  Deepwater island effects can include terrain enhanced winds, elevated coastal water levels caused by wave-induced ponding on reefs, and mudslides caused by heavy rains.  In contrast to the extensively studied mainland tropical cyclone hazard scenarios, island hazard scenarios have received little attention.

MMS is designed to help the emergency management community, for islands in particular, plan for and execute operational plans to protect lives and property during hurricane and tsunami events. IWR supported implementation and delivery of the MMS for Hawaii, which includes high resolution inundation models, wind models and a relocation/sheltering model. IWR will continue working with the Asia Pacific on disaster risk reduction and creating a resilient network.


Regional Sediment Management (RSM)

Regional Sediment Management (RSM) is the recognition of the regional nature of coastal processes and the regional influence of engineered projects. The interrelationship between coastal navigation projects and contiguous beaches led to establishment of RSM, an USACE effort to collaborate with local and state governments in order to manage sediments over regions that encompass multiple projects.

The RSM management method includes the entire environment from watershed to the sea and aims to protect and enhance the nation’s natural resources while balancing national security and economic needs. Additional information on RSM and how it informs USACE’s coastal mission is available on the RSM website.


Shore Protection Assessment (SPA)

Shore Protection Assessment is an initiative to evaluate how federal shore protection projects performed after hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne in 2004. SPA is a multidisciplinary team of experts from USACE as well as other federal agencies, state governments, local partners and contractors. USACE collaborated with representatives from the Coastal Engineering Research Board (CERB), the National Shoreline Management Study (NSMS), and the Planning Center of Expertise (PCX) for Hurricane and Storm Damage Prevention for the program.

The program performed assessments on how existing projects performed during those four hurricanes, including long-term and immediate effects of post-storm flooding and effects on watershed and water quality; planned and designed for improvements to future projects in order to ensure projects provide maximum protection throughout their lifecycle; and explored whether there was a way to better predict how hurricanes would change shores, which included the initial development of a physics-based, hydrodynamic-sediment transport model called MORPHOS 3-D. See the fact sheets on SPA, Beach Nourishment and Hurricanes, located in the tool bar on the right of this webpage.