The potential influence of small dams on basin sediment dynamics and coastal erosion in Connecticut

1024 681 Stroud Water Research Center

McCusker, M.H., and M.D. Daniels. 2009. Middle States Geographer 41:82–90.

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To date, little work has attempted to link dam sedimentation with the growing problem of coastal erosion, particularly with respect to small dams on comparatively small rivers. This paper reviews past work linking coastal erosion to river sediment regimes and evaluates potential linkages between small reservoir sedimentation and coastal erosion processes in Connecticut through a case study analysis of five dams. Though Connecticut’s coastline is not eroding as rapidly as in some others regions, coastal erosion problems in the state have been identified. By developing a methodology to estimate sediment storage behind small dams, we provide a mechanism by which to quantitatively evaluate the potential contribution of river sediment entrapment to coastal erosion in Connecticut. Results indicate that the ~ 4,000 dams in Connecticut are storing a substantial amount of sediment and potentially significantly contributing to coastal erosion.