Beach Nourishment Alternatives for Mitigating Erosion of Ancient Coastal Sites on the Mediterranean Coast of Israel
2. Study Area
2.1. Tel Ashkelon: Historical and Archaeological Setting
2.2. Ashkelon Coast: Physical Setting
2.3. Morphological Impact of Ashkelon Port
2.4. Tel Ashkelon Seafront: Previous Protection Planes and Nurishment Activities
2.5. Environmental Aspects
3.1. Grain Size Analysis
- Tel Ashkelon beach—Four samples (T1–T4) of the native sand were taken in December 2019 from the backshore near the Columns wall (Figure 5). The samples were dried at 50 °C for 48 h and then analyzed for grain size through American Standard Test Sieve Series (ASTM) sized from 63 to 2000 µm in the Sedimentology Laboratory of the University of Haifa.
- Rotem Plain sand quarry—Located in the Negev Desert, about 90 km southeast of Tel Ashkelon beach. Four samples were taken in August 2019 from the gathering area of the imported sand used for the north Ashkelon beach nourishment project . The samples were analyzed using the above methodology.
- Ashkelon Port—Six samples were taken in July 2017 from the port’s navigation channel at water depth of 6–8 m (Figure 1). The samples were analyzed through a set of ASTM sieves sized from 63 to 2000 µm by KTE Co., Technologies & Enterprises representative of ALS Global Laboratory at Haifa.
- Offshore Ashkelon—A grab sample was taken at water depth of 20 m offshore Ashkelon, as a part of the Israeli sediment survey in August 2011. The samples were analyzed with a Malvern Mastersizer-2000 laser diffraction particle size analyzer in a range of 0–2000 µm in the Sedimentology Laboratory of the Geological Survey of Israel .
3.2. Stability Index
3.3. Pebble Alternative
3.4. Nourishment Unit Voulme and Cost Estimation
- Rotem Plain sand quarry—Royalties for quarry sand; loading sand on 20 m3 trucks; transportation cost from Rotem Plain to the gathering area near Tel Ashkelon beach; maintenance of the gathering site; construction of facilities for transporting the sand to the beach; bulldozing the sand on the beach. The total cost for these operations is about €52/m3 .
- Ashkelon Port—Rainbowing the sand via a discharge pipe at the bow of a dredging vessel (trailing suction hopper dredger), anchored at a water depth of 6 m. The dredging vessel conducts up to four cycles per day, about 800–1600 m3 of sand per load; bulldozing the sand onto the nourished site. The total cost is about €31/m3 (EDT Marine Construction pers. comm. 2020).
- Offshore Ashkelon—Operations and costs as for Ashkelon Port.
- Pebble alternative—Imported pebbles from Etziona quarry located about 52 km from nourishment site, including cost of pebbles, handling, transportation, and bulldozing on the site. The total cost is about €34/m3 (Etziona quarry CEO pers. comm. 2020).
4. Results and Discussion
4.1. Alternatives Evaluation
- Terrestrial sand quarried from Rotem Plain—The mean grain size is 384 µm, which is coarser than the native 290 µm by ratio of 1.34. The stability index of the sand is 0.57, which means that almost 60% of the imported grain size is coarser than all native sediment, and its durability cost score is 1.0. The volume of sand as assumed above is 200,000 m3 (500 m3/m length of beach). As the estimated cost for this sand nourishment is €52/m3, the expected total cost for this alternative is €10,400,000.
- Marine sand dredged from the Ashkelon Port area—The mean grain size, 282 µm, is a little finer than the native one, but the stability index of this sand is 0.27, which means that only small part of the material is compatible with the native one. The durability cost score is 2.1, which means that with regard to the terrestrial sand, this sand needs about twice the sand volume to obtain the results as the terrestrial sand. Although the direct cost of this sand per m3 is lower, it is uneconomic to use, as it needs a great quantity.
- Marine sand dredge offshore Ashkelon at a water depth of 20 m—This sand is completely incompatible with the native one; its stability index is very poor, and it should be rejected.
- Dolomite and limestone pebbles from Etziona quarry—Pebbles are much coarser than the native grain size, and this solution is economic. Its cost estimation is €34/m3 for the case study site and the expected total cost of this 36,000 m3 project is €1,224,000.
4.2. General Environment Consideration and Possible Negative Environmental Impacts
- The biota of sandy beaches may be affected, or even eliminated under the imported sediment .
- The use of heavy machinery to redistribute the sediment can limit the necessary movement of fauna along the beach .
- Physical changes along nourished beaches include formation of steep berms, or scarps, which can prevent turtles from reaching preferred nesting sites along the beach. As a result, eggs may be laid closer to the water, where they are more likely to be swept away by incoming tides and waves . Nourished beaches are often harder (increased shear resistance) than the natural beaches, preventing attempts of nesting [71,72] and recover adequately within two to three years after project completion  and even up to seven years .
- Oil waste from substandard ship maintenance activities take in ports, may endanger all kinds of life forms on the beach .
- Sediment used for a soft solution mitigation of beach erosion should be derived mainly from the nourishment aims, and the planned beach uses. Different sediment types (i.e., sand, gravel, pebbles) might be used for developing recreation beaches or protecting coastal infrastructures.
- The stability index calculation grades sand alternatives for nourishment and durability.
- Although the direct cost of marine sand for nourishment in the present case study is lower than that of terrestrial sand, its low stability makes its use inefficient and uneconomic in the long term. In the present study, we confirmed that the coarser the sand grain size is than the native one, the better is the stability of the nourished material.
- The pebble solution is preferable for the specific purpose of protecting the southern part (400 m long) of Tel Ashkelon beach for the long run. It has the disadvantages of changing the biotic characteristics of the beach, and creating a new type of habitat. However, compared to the ever-changing beach in the eroded section, which is sometimes sandy and sometimes rocky, the pebble beach is a more stable habitat.
- Terrestrial sand quarried from the Rotem Plain is incompatible with the native one (coarser and not from marine origin) and may result in a steeper and harder beach, which will disturb turtle nesting.
- Marine sand dredged from Ashkelon Port area may include oil waste from ship maintenance activities in the harbor area.
- Marine sand dredged offshore Ashkelon at a water depth of 20 m contains a high percentage of silt that may endanger the biota on the beach and the near shore.
- Dolomite and limestone pebbles will prevent turtle nesting, and disturb bathing. Recovery of the beach for any present biota can hardly be expected. There is, nevertheless, the opportunity for the development of new and different types of biota that are adapted to the new gravel habitats.
- Monitoring of the environmental impacts post-nourishment is crucial for further research and better practice.
Conflicts of Interest
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|Sieve Size||Tel Ashkelon Weight||Cumulative Weight Cni||Sfi||Rotem Quarry||Rotem Quarry||Ashkelon Port||Ashkelon Port||Offshore Ashkelon||Offshore Ashkelon|
|µm||%||%||Fbi %||FbixSfi||Fbi %||FbixSfi||Fbi %||FbixSfi|
|Durability Cost Score||-||-||-||-||1.0||-||2.1||-||5.7|
|Alternative||m3/m Length of Beach||Total Nourished Volume (m3)||Stability Index||Coefficient of Durability Cost||Cost for 1 m3 of Sediment (€)||Total Cost −1000€|
|Terrestrial Sand from Rotem Plain Quarry||500||200,000 *||0.57||1||52||10,400|
|Marine Sand Dredged in Ashkelon Port||1050||420,000 **||0.27||2.1||31||13,020|
|Marine Sand Dredged Offshore Ashkelon||Not Relevant||Not Relevant||0.1||5.7||31||Not Relevant|
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Bitan, M.; Galili, E.; Spanier, E.; Zviely, D. Beach Nourishment Alternatives for Mitigating Erosion of Ancient Coastal Sites on the Mediterranean Coast of Israel. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2020, 8, 509. https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse8070509
Bitan M, Galili E, Spanier E, Zviely D. Beach Nourishment Alternatives for Mitigating Erosion of Ancient Coastal Sites on the Mediterranean Coast of Israel. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. 2020; 8(7):509. https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse8070509Chicago/Turabian Style
Bitan, Menashe, Ehud Galili, Ehud Spanier, and Dov Zviely. 2020. "Beach Nourishment Alternatives for Mitigating Erosion of Ancient Coastal Sites on the Mediterranean Coast of Israel" Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 8, no. 7: 509. https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse8070509