Theses and Dissertations

Using XBeach to Describe the Performance of an Intertidal Vegetation Shoreline Stabilization Treatment

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Civil, Coastal, and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair

Dr. Bret M. Webb, Ph.D., P.E.


The purpose of this project is to predict the hydrodynamic and morphodynamics of an engineered vegetation-only shoreline restoration project in Little Lagoon, Alabama under different storm and sea level rise scenarios. Little Lagoon is a shallow, single-inlet lagoon located in Baldwin County, Alabama that has been experiencing shoreline erosion for the past 28 years. A living shoreline using vegetation only (Spartina alterniflora) was implemented in the southwest corner of the lagoon, located within Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, to create habitat, improve water quality, and prevent future erosion. This research compares “with-project” and “without-project” hydrodynamics and morphodynamics using XBeach in a one-dimensional transect-based mode to assess potential project performance. This was done using four storm scenarios and five sea level rise scenarios. The with-project and without-project scenarios were compared using profile shape, gross sediment change, and wave height behind the vegetation. Results from this project indicate that the emergent marsh vegetation shoreline contributions to overall shoreline stability are negligible, likely due to the already stable nature of the shoreline. The results from this project will aid practitioners in the future design and implementation of vegetation only shoreline restoration projects along stable shorelines.

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