Lake Erie Beach
Beaches are an integral part of the Lake Erie shoreline, providing essential protection against shoreline erosion as well as habitat and recreational opportunities. The ODNR Division of Geological Survey staff recently completed a statewide inventory of Ohio beach width changes over the time period 1990–2004. Beach boundaries were digitized from aerial photography into a geographic information system (GIS). The work adds two additional time periods to shoreline monitoring that has been conducted periodically by various government agencies since 1876.
The beaches along Ohio's Lake Erie shoreline undergo constant change.
Our results show that beaches were lost over the time period 1876–1990, with the non-beach portion of the shoreline increasing from 35 to 54% over the time period. However, this trend has reversed in recent years as beaches are gained, due in part to sand nourishment projects and beach protection efforts. In Ohio, the portion of Lake Erie shoreline covered by beach has increased 6% over the time period 1990–2004. The data gathered during this project can help us better understand lake processes, including sedimentary mass balance, the interaction between bluff retreat and beach geometry, and the long term impact of shoreline engineering projects.
Last update September 23, 2009