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Historical Sediment Budget (1860s to Present) for the United States Shoreline of Lake Erie

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Technical Report

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Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory, US Army Engineer Research and Development Center Buffalo United States

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A sediment budget was developed for the U.S. shoreline of Lake Erie from Maumee Bay, OH, to Buffalo, NY, covering four time frames a Pre-Armoring of the shoreline 1860s1930s, b Mid-Century mid-twentieth century, 1930s1970s, c Recent era 1970s2000s, and d Future expected conditions 2010. Sources of data included historic U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lake Survey charts, aerial photographs, and lidar survey data. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources provided historical recession lines for Ohio. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation, Natural Resources, and the U.S. Geological Survey supplied historical bluff lines for Pennsylvania. Analysis of harbor sedimentation and sediment bypassing provides verification of the volume of sediment calculated from bluff recession measurements. These volumes were consistent with harbor sedimentation or sediment bypassing measurements at most points along the shoreline, with the exception of under predicting sediment volumes at Fairport Harbor, OH. Most reaches show a decrease in bluff-supplied sediment over time. The decrease is a result of greater bluff armoring during the twentieth century, particularly after the 1970s. For New York and eastern Pennsylvania, the future projected sediment supply from bluffs is similar or slightly less than from the recent era. But in Ohio, the future supply is projected to decrease in most areas because of the almost complete armoring of the Ohio shore. For the predicted future conditions, total eroded bluff volume will range from 15,000 cubic meters per year in Erie County, NY, to 200,000 cubic meters per year in Ashtabula County, OH.

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