BEACON artwork

Member agencies:
Cities of: Carpinteria | Goleta | Oxnard | Port Hueneme | San Buenaventura | Santa Barbara
Counties of: Santa Barbara | Ventura

Helpful Terms

Slow addition to land by water-borne sediment.

Wave height.

Artificial Reef
Material of any sort manually placed on the ocean floor to create an ecological habitat.

An offshore ridge or mound of sand, gravel, or other unconsolidated material which is submerged, at least at high tide.

The measurement of depths of water in oceans, seas and lakes. Also the information derived from such measurements.

Beach Face
The section of the beach normally exposed to the action of wave uprush.

Beach Nourishment
The process of replenishing a beach by artificial means.

Beach Profile
A cross-section taken perpendicular to a given beach contour; the profile may include the face of a dune or seawall.

On a beach a nearly horizontal plateau on the beach face or backshore, formed by the deposition of beach material.

A wave that has become so steep that the crest of the wave topples forward, moving faster than the main body of the wave.

Breaker Depth
The still water depth at the point where the wave breaks.

A structure protecting a harbor, anchorage, or basin from waves.

Hydraulic or mechanical movement of sand from the accreting updrift side to the eroding downdrift side of an inlet or harbor entrance.

A strip of land of indefinite length and width that extends from the seashore inland to the first major change in terrain features.

Coastal Management
The development of a strategic, long-term and sustainable land use policy, sometimes called shoreline management.

Coastal Processes
Collective term covering the action of natural forces on the shoreline and the nearshore seabed.

Technically, the line that forms the boundary between the coast and the shore.

Rounded rocks ranging in diameter from approximately 64 to 256 mm.

Perpendicular to the shoreline.

That portion of a stream of water which is moving with velocity much greater than the average or in which the progress of water is principally concentrated.

Deep Water
Deep-water conditions are said to exist when the surf waves are not affected by conditions on the bottom.

Vertical distance from still-water level to the bottom.

Detached Breakwater
A breakwater without any coastal connection to the shore.

Wearing away of the land by natural forces (e.g. wave action, tidal currents or wind).

A more or less continuous line of cliffs or steep slopes facing in one general direction which are caused by erosion or faulting.

(1) The part of a river that is affected by tides. (2) The region near a river mouth in which the fresh water of the river mixes with the salt water of the sea.

Feeder Beach
An artificially widened beach serving to nourish downdrift beaches.

The length of unobstructed open sea surface across which the wind can generate waves.

A long fabric cylinder filled with sediment used as a wall to retain sediment behind.

A shore protection structure.It is narrow in width (measured parallel to the shore) and its length may vary from tens to hundreds of meters ( extending from a point landward of the shoreline out into the water). Groins may be classified as permeable (with openings thorough them) or impermeable ( a solid or nearly solid structure through which sand cannot pass).

Hard Defenses
A general term applied to impermeable coastal defense structures of concrete, timber, steel, and masonry, which reflect a high proportion of incident wave energy.

A land mass having a considerable elevation.

Higher High Water (HHW)
The higher of two high waters if any tidal day.

Incident Wave
A wave moving landward.

The zone between the high and low water marks.

On open seacoasts, a structure extending into a body of water to direct and confine the stream or tidal flow to a selected channel or to prevent shoaling.

Kelp Bed
An area, typically nearshore, where substantial concentrations of kelp occur.

Littoral Current
A current running parallel to the beach and generally caused by waves striking the shore at an angle.

Littoral Drift
The sedimentary material moved in the littoral zone under the influence of waves and currents.

Littoral Transport
The movement of littoral drift in the littoral zone by waves and currents.

Littoral Zone
An indefinite zone extending seaward from the shoreline to just beyond the breaker zone.

Longshore Current
A current located in a surf zone, moving generally parallel to the shoreline, generated by waves breaking at an angle with the shoreline, also called alongshore current.

Longshore Drift
Movement of sediments approximately parallel to the shore.

In beach terminology, an indefinite zone extending seaward from the shoreline well beyond the breaker zone.

The process of replenishing a beach. It may be brought about naturally, by longshore transport, or artificially by the deposition of dredged materials.

A continuing landward movement of the shoreline.

A ridge of rock of other material lying just below the surface of the sea.

A facing of stone to protect an embankment, or shore structure against erosion by wave action or currents.

The rush of water up a structure or beach on the breaking of a wave.

A small sandy point of land or a narrow shoal projecting into a body of water from the shore.

Scour Protection:
Protection against erosion of the seabed in front of the toe.

A structure built along a portion of a coast primarily to prevent erosion and other damage by wave action. Generally more massive and capable of resisting greater wave forces than a bulkhead.

Sediment Source
A point or area on a coast from which beach material arises, such as an eroding cliff or river mouth.

Sediment Transport
The main agencies by which sedimentary materials are moved are: gravity; running water (rivers and streams); ice (glaciers); wind and the sea (currents and longshore drift).

1. noun - A detached area of any material except rock or coral 2. verb - To become shallow gradually.

Shoreline Management
The development of strategic, long-term and sustainable coastal defense and land-use policy within a sediment cell.

A minor sluggish waterway or estuarial creek, tributary to, or connecting, other streams or bodies of water, whose course is usually through lowlands or swamps.

Soft Structure
Coastal structure composed of geotextile material rather than steel, rock, or concrete.

The wave activity in the area between the shoreline and the outermost limits of breakers.

Surf Zone
The zone of wave action extending from the water line (which varies with tide, surge, set-up, etc.) out to the most seaward point of the zone (breaker zone) at which waves approaching the coastline commence breaking, typically in water depths between 5 and 10 meters

The lower front (seaward) portion of a coastal structure.

Tidal Current
The alternating horizontal movement of water associated with the rise and fall of the tide caused by astronomical tide-producing forces.

A bar or spit that connects or "ties" an island to the mainland or to another island.