– As wave action diminishes beaches along the Space and Treasure Coasts, the need to prevent seaside erosion grows more critical. In pursuit of this goal,
Florida Tech Professor of Ocean Engineering Dr. Gary Zarillo just received a $507,000 grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Zarillo’s new grant will fund the next stage of a six-year-long project to develop quantitative models, which can predict and optimize engineering
activities at inlets. These turn-key numerical models will forecast evolution in a tidal inlet channel, shoals and adjacent beach areas. The forecasts will
optimize construction projects, such as jetties, to bypass the sand around the inlets and maintain the adjacent beaches.
“It is likely that some of the beach erosion currently evident in Florida could have been prevented if quantitative models were available at the time
inlets were artificially cut or stabilized,” said Zarillo. These will be the first models with the capability of long-term — over decades — simulations.
This engineering and management tool will be applicable to many locations, including the Intracoastal Waterway and Sebastian Inlet.
Zarillo and his team have so far developed a theory of tidal inlets. Their theory qualitatively explains the relationship between sediment movement and
shoal building, and either erosion or sand deposition on the adjacent shorelines.
Zarillo is collaborating with coastal engineers from the University of South Florida at Tampa; geologists from Boston University; and private consulting