It was a
balmy 60 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny day, March 30, for the annual spring beach
walk at Presque Isle State Park, Erie PA.
from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Buffalo District, the Presque
Isle Advisory Committee, the Park Operations Manager, and the Pennsylvania
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) gathered to walk the
entire length of Presque Isle’s western beach to assess the condition of the
beach ahead of the summer swimming season.
spring beach walk is conducted to determine the extent of erosion that has
occurred since last winter’s beach walk. This year, due to the lack of
protective ice cover, the beach was exposed to battering wave action throughout
the winter. As a result, significant erosion has occurred along the length of
Isle, a National Natural Landmark, is a 3,000 acre sandy peninsula that arches
gracefully into Lake Erie and serves as a natural breakwater that forms and
protects Erie Harbor, PA. This unique natural land feature also contains seven unique
habitats, provides valuable stopover habitat for migrating birds, and offers
valuable nesting habitat for the Federally Endangered Piping Plover.
District is part of the partnership that monitors erosion of the peninsula and aims
at inducing the continued growth of Gull Point, which contains the majority of
the critical habitat for endangered species. This began with the Presque Isle
Shoreline Erosion Control Project, initiated in the 1990s, with the construction
of 55 offshore breakwaters along the western shore and 560,000 tons of sand
approximately 38,000 cubic yards of sand is needed to offset the impacts of
erosion,” says Coastal Engineer Michael Mohr.
The beach is
annually nourished with stockpiled sand or sand dredged from an offshore
source. The project is cost-shared 50-50 with the non-federal sponsor. This
year however, federal funds were not included in the annual appropriations
Weston Cross, Coastal Engineer Michael Mohr, and Project Manager Michael
Asquith assessed various features of the beach and took detailed notes as they inspected
the nearly six miles of shoreline. Cross and Mohr were particularly interested
in documenting the location and size of erosional features along the shoreline.
erosion into the shoreline which causes a scarp, a steep vertical cut in the
bank. This is nothing out of the ordinary, but there certainly are a few more
this year as compared to years past,” said Cross.
will consolidate the measurements and calculations taken from this year’s beach
walk and will provide a detailed technical report to the project partners. Park
managers will use this data to develop plans to nourish the beaches with as
little impact to visitors and residents as possible.