MULTIPLE RESPONSES TO FRONTAL EROSION AND INUNDATION ON A BARRIER/HEADLAND SHORE, RHODE ISLAND
The Moonstone barrier contains USFWS refuge land and private property. The Refuge is left natural for piping plover habitat, whereas the private section homeowners, with structures on the National Historic Register, have responded by: 1) dismantling and removing; 2) moving to an upland site; 3) trying a series of soft structural shoreline protection methods. The Matunuck headland section contains a private beach club with open space, a town beach, densely populated sections of small summer cottages on leased land, a small commercial district and town road infrastructure with water and sewer lines. Response has been: 1) 100 m setback of buildings at the beach club; 2) dismantling and loss of a 120 m long boardwalk at the town beach; 3) movement of structures landward in the summer cottage area; and 4) maintenance of rip-rap revetments along parts of the commercial area, installed before prohibition by the present coastal management plan (RICRMP). Additional input was the placement of 80,000 m3 of sand on the shallow shoreface in 2 areas, obtained from maintenance dredging of nearby Galilee harbor.
All areas are in imminent danger from additional frontal erosion and storm-surge inundation. Frontal erosion has removed much of the buffer that existed at the time of the 1938 hurricane, resulting in landward translation of FEMA V and A zones. The Town of South Kingstown and Historic Register homeowners can claim a special exception under the RICRMP to install hard structures, probably seawalls because older revetments are failing.