period of 7 sec, originating from the southeast. During large northeaster storms and
hurricanes, wave height can exceed 4 m with periods in the range of 12-14 sec.
Figure 1. Location map for Shinnecock Inlet, NY.
During the 1997 to 1998 fall and winter season, increased transport and wave
activity enhanced the natural westward migration of the main navigation channel
(Buonaiuto 2003a). Channel reorientation potentially altered the transport conduits
and delivery of sediment to the morphologic features that comprise the ebb shoal
complex (Fig. 2). The movement of sediment was further complicated by an increase
in annual wave energy from the east associated with larger climatic cycles.
The Inlet Modeling System (IMS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers (USACE) Coastal Inlets Research Program (CIRP) was applied to
Shinnecock Inlet with the main objective of simulating transport pathways and
evolution of morphology arising from the increased supply of littoral sediments that
took place from August 1997 to May 1998. The modeling system was used to gain
insight into the complex hydrodynamics and transport processes that control the
distribution of sediment around the inlet and ebb shoal. Acknowledging that the IMS
was a relatively new tool available to coastal engineers and scientists, the numerical
calculations were supplemented with more standard coastal engineering analyses of
the inlet. The IMS replicated theoretical and observed trends in inlet behavior
including deepening and deflection of the channel, increasing volume of the ebb
shoal complex, and sediment bypassing across the inlet. Additionally the IMS
furthered understanding of the natural rotation of the ebb jet and its interaction with
wave-driven longshore currents, processes that could not be discerned from
traditional engineering techniques.