US Army Corps of Engineers
Institute for Water Resources Website

Tales of the Coast
Coastal Dynamics


Wind and Drowned Valley Coasts

Wind impacts drowned valley coasts by driving waves, which carry sediment to the estuary mouth. If wave energy is higher than tidal energy, it can create a wave-dominated estuary. Waves move sediment alongshore and onshore into the mouth of the estuary, forming sandbars or subaerial barriers and spits. These barriers prevent much of the wave energy from entering the central basin, which allows fine sediments to accumulate and encourages marshes to form.


Wind and Drowned Valley Coasts

In areas of low tide range and small tidal prism, inlets at wave-dominated estuaries tend to close, forming coastal ponds.