Coastal Erosion in Westport, WA
UW -Eau Claire
Westport, Washington lies in an accretion zone formed by the mouth of the Columbia River. The beaches of southwest Washington and northwest Oregon are the result of accumulated sediment carried by the river. As the beaches continue to move seaward, tourism and growing populations along the coast continue to push the limits of Washington’s shoreline. Although the majority of Washington’s southwestern coast is accretional, the rate of accretion has slowed recently and portions of the coast have begun to erode at tremendous rates. Westport is victim to erosion on several fronts. As part of the Grays Harbor Navigation Project, two jetties were constructed at the mouth of the harbor. The immediate result of these jetties was accretion of sediment at North and South beaches, a trend that has since reversed. South Beach, extending to the south of Westport, has been eroding since the 1940s. Rehabilitation of South Jetty has not abated this erosion due to a shortage in sediment. The construction of South Jetty has also had repercussions inside the mouth of the harbor, as in the formation of Half Moon Bay just north of Westport. Human interference with the natural coastline has given birth to an array of complications in and around Westport.