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Coastal Processes Along Plum Island

May 24, 2017 @ 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Over the years, many opinions have emerged about where the sand flows along Plum Island, why it does this, and how it relates to episodes of erosion there. Effective coastal management policy relies on what’s actually happening along the shore, rather than on conjecture. To shed light on this, and lay some misconceptions to rest, Matthew Shultz of the Woods Hole Group will present the results of a recently completed regional assessment study of coastal processes along Plum Island. The Woods Hole Group carried out the study in collaboration with Boston University, on behalf of the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission. The project was funded through the National Fish and Wildlife Federation‘s Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grant Program as part of a larger Community Risk Reduction study.

The project team analyzed existing conditions and developed wave and sediment transport models that illustrate alongshore currents and sand movement driven by breaking waves in the surf zone. The study also identified patterns of erosion and accretion indicating variations in that sand movement.

It is hoped that the results of this study will inform and guide coastal management efforts aimed at reducing erosion impacts along the island.

Matthew F. Shultz, PE


Matthew F. Shultz, PE, is a Senior Coastal Engineer in the Coastal Sciences, Engineering & Planning team at Woods Hole Group. He has over 13 years of experience in coastal studies involving the evaluation of coastal hazards, shoreline restoration, and the development of flood mitigation solutions for reducing risks and offering increased resilience in a changing climate. His areas of expertise include the design of structural and non-structural shoreline protection and restoration alternatives, as well as the modeling of coastal and estuarine hydrodynamics, waves, and sediment transport processes.
Experience has included the management of regional coastal hazard modeling studies, conducting alternative analyses for risk reduction measures, as well as environmental modeling studies focused on ecological restoration and water quality.  His background also includes software development and engineering, which has led to proficiency in advanced modeling technologies, and in developing technical solutions for engineering and scientific problems.  Mr. Shultz is an active member of numerous organizations including Coasts, Oceans, Ports, and Rivers Institute, the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association, and the American Society of Civil Engineers.



May 24, 2017
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
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Storm Surge
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Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
6 Plum Island Turnpike
Newburyport, MA 01950 United States
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