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Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Maurice L. Schwartz
Christopher A. Suczek
Richard L. Threet
The coastline of Pierce County, Washington, lies along the glacially scoured channels of Puget Sound. The highly crenelated coastline totals 373 km in length, with approximately 80 km contributed by five major islands and five minor islands. This study was conducted to determine the long-term net shore-drift along the Pierce County coast. Geomorphic and sedimentologic indicators were used to determine drift directions. These indicators include: direction of spit growth, change in bluff morphology and beach profile, stream diversion, sediment-size gradation, identifiable sediments (sediments from an identifiable source), and nearshore sand bar orientation. Sediment supplied to the foreshore is derived primarily from the coastal bluffs by wave erosion and mass wasting. Sediment movement is compartmentalized into drift cells that include zones of erosion, transport, and deposition. These drift cells vary in length from 50 m to about 11.5 km. Evident throughout this study area is the importance of fetch, which directly influences the pattern of net shore-drift. Shore drift patterns can be and have been disrupted by human modification of the coastline. Shore defenses, marinas, commercial sites, and industrial sites have interrupted and divided former drift cells along much of Pierce County's eastern coastline. Throughout this area, and in other areas of the county, sediment supply to the foreshore has been reduced or eliminated by the emplacement of bulkheads, seawalls, or nearshore structures that damp wave action.
Western Washington University
Harp, Brad D., "Net Shore-drift of Pierce County, Washington" (1983). WWU Graduate School Collection. 655.
Net Shore-Drift Coastal Region 1
Net Shore-Drift Coastal Region 2 reduced 7272144.pdf (74 kB)
Net Shore-Drift Coastal Region 2
Net Shore-Drift Coastal Region 3 reduced 7272144.pdf (71 kB)
Net Shore-Drift Coastal Region 3
Net Shore-Drift Coastal Region 4 reduced 7272144.pdf (81 kB)
Net Shore-Drift Coastal Region 4
Net Shore-Drift Coastal Region 5 reduced 7272144.pdf (89 kB)
Net Shore-Drift Coastal Region 5
Net Shore-Drift Coastal Region 6 reduced 7272144.pdf (77 kB)
Net Shore-Drift Coastal Region 6
Net Shore-Drift Coastal Region 7 reduced 7272144.pdf (77 kB)
Net Shore-Drift Coastal Region 7