Title:
COASTAL RECOVERY UTILIZING REPOSITIONABLE SHOAL MODULE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of restoring a beach includes positioning a recovery module at a first location in a region offshore of a beach to sea interface. A longitudinal axis of the recovery module is oriented generally parallel to the beach to sea interface. Upon achieving a desired level of accretion in a near-shore region relative to the recovery module, the recovery module is removed from the first location.



Inventors:
Farrell Jr., Joseph Edward (Fort Lauderdale, FL, US)
Application Number:
13/163963
Publication Date:
12/20/2012
Filing Date:
06/20/2011
Assignee:
FARRELL, JR. JOSEPH EDWARD
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02B3/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TOLEDO-DURAN, EDWIN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HOLLAND & KNIGHT LLP (BOSTON, MA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of restoring a beach comprising: positioning a recovery module at a first location in a region offshore of a beach to sea interface; orienting a longitudinal axis of the recovery module generally parallel to the beach to sea interface; and removing the recovery module from the first location upon achieving a desired level of accretion in a near-shore region relative to the recovery module.

2. The method according to claim 1, wherein positioning the recovery module in the first location includes positioning the recovery module to be at least partially submerged during at least a portion of a tidal cycle.

3. The method according to claim 2, wherein positioning the recovery module in the first location includes positioning the recovery module to be completely submerged during the tidal cycle.

4. The method according to claim 1, wherein positioning the recovery module includes ballasting the recovery module.

5. The method according to claim 4, wherein ballasting the recovery module includes filling at least a portion of an interior of the recovery module with water.

6. The method according to claim 1, wherein positioning the recovery module in the first location includes anchoring the recovery module.

7. The method according to claim 1, wherein orienting the longitudinal axis of the recovery module generally parallel to the beach to sea interface includes orienting the longitudinal axis generally perpendicular to an onshore current.

8. The method according to claim 1, wherein the desired level of accretion provides a decreased water depth in the near-shore region relative to the recovery module.

9. The method according to claim 1, wherein removing the recovery module includes at least partially de-ballasting the recovery module.

10. The method according to claim 1, further comprising positioning the recovery module at a second location in a region offshore of beach to sea interface.

11. The method according to claim 10, wherein the second location includes a seaward location relative to the first location.

12. The method according to claim 10, wherein the second location includes an updrift location relative to the first location.

13. A method of beach restoration comprising: positioning a plurality of recovery modules at a plurality of first locations in an offshore region of a beach to sea interface; orienting a longitudinal axis of each of the plurality of recovery modules generally parallel the beach to sea interface; and moving at least one of the plurality of recovery modules from at least one of the plurality of first locations to at least a second location.

14. The method according to claim 13, orienting the longitudinal axis of each of each of the plurality of recovery modules generally parallel to the beach to sea interface includes orienting the longitudinal axis generally perpendicular to an onshore current.

15. The method according to claim 13, wherein the at least a second location includes a seaward location relative to the plurality of first locations.

16. The method according to claim 13, wherein the at least a second location includes a seaward location relative to the at least one of the plurality of first locations.

17. The method according to claim 13, wherein moving at least one of the plurality of recovery modules includes moving all of the plurality of recovery modules to a plurality of second locations.

18. The method according to claim 13, further comprising removing at least a portion of the plurality of recovery modules from the region of the beach to sea interface.

19. The method according to claim 13, wherein moving at least one of the plurality of recovery modules to at least the second location includes moving the at least one of the plurality of recovery modules upon achieving a desired level of accretion in a near-shore region relative to the at least one of the plurality of recovery modules.

20. A method of beach restoration comprising: positioning a plurality of recovery modules at a plurality of first locations in a region offshore of a beach to sea interface; orienting a longitudinal axis of each of the plurality of recovery modules generally perpendicular to an onshore current; and sequentially moving at least a portion of the plurality of recovery modules to a seaward location relative to the remaining recovery modules.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosure generally relates to the stabilization and/or restoration of beaches, and more particularly relates to stabilization and/or restoration of beaches by diminishing wave energy.

BACKGROUND

Waves, storms, and coastal currents may all result in beach erosion, manifesting in long term losses of sediment and rock, as well as short term redistribution of sediment and rock to other regions of a coastline. Such beach erosion can damage coastal property, for example, by reducing the size of the beach and undermining coastal structures. Such destruction and losses can have a severe negative impact on beach properties. Additionally, the loss of beach terrain may result in the loss of natural habitats for coastal life. The loss of natural habitats can have a deleterious impact on coastal eco-environments.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

According to a first implementation, a method of restoring a beach may include positioning a recovery module at a first location in a region offshore of a beach to sea interface. A longitudinal axis of the recovery module may be oriented generally parallel to the beach to sea interface. Upon achieving a desired level of accretion in a near-shore region relative to the recovery module, the recovery module may be removed from the first location.

One or more of the following features may be included. Positioning the recovery module in the first location may include positioning the recovery module to be at least partially submerged during at least a portion of a tidal cycle. Positioning the recovery module in the first location may include positioning the recovery module to be completely submerged during the entirety of a tidal cycle.

Positioning the recovery module includes ballasting the recovery module. Ballasting the recovery module may include filling at least a portion of an interior of the recovery module with water. Positioning the recovery module in the first location may include anchoring the recovery module.

Orienting the longitudinal axis of the recovery module generally parallel to the beach to sea interface may include orienting the longitudinal axis generally perpendicular to an onshore current. The desired level of accretion may provide a decreased water depth in the near-shore region relative to the recovery module. Removing the recovery module may include at least partially de-ballasting the recovery module.

The method may also include positioning the recovery module at a second location in a region offshore of beach to sea interface. The second location may include a seaward location relative to the first location. The second location may include an updrift location relative to the first location.

According to another implementation, a method of beach restoration may include positioning a plurality of recovery modules at a plurality of first locations in an offshore region of a beach to sea interface. A longitudinal axis of each of the plurality of recovery modules may be oriented generally parallel the beach to sea interface. At least one of the plurality of recovery modules may be moved from at least one of the plurality of first locations to at least a second location.

One or more of the following features may be included. Orienting the longitudinal axis of each of each of the plurality of recovery modules generally parallel to the beach to sea interface may include orienting the longitudinal axis generally perpendicular to an onshore current. The at least a second location may include a seaward location relative to the plurality of first locations. The at least a second location may include a seaward location relative to the at least one of the plurality of first locations.

Moving at least one of the plurality of recovery modules may include moving all of the plurality of recovery modules to a plurality of second locations. Moving at least one of the plurality of recovery modules to at least the second location may include moving the at least one of the plurality of recovery modules upon achieving a desired level of accretion in a near-shore region relative to the at least one of the plurality of recovery modules. At least a portion of the plurality of recovery modules may be removed from the region of the beach to sea interface.

According to another implementation, a method of beach restoration may include positioning a plurality of recovery modules at a plurality of first locations in a region offshore of a beach to sea interface. A longitudinal axis of each of the plurality of recovery modules may be oriented generally perpendicular to an onshore current. At least a portion of the plurality of recovery modules may be sequentially moved to a seaward location relative to the remaining recovery modules.

The details of one or more implementations are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features will become apparent from the description, the drawings, and the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a flow chart of a method of coastal recovery.

FIG. 2 diagrammatically depicts a portion of a coastline to be recovered.

FIG. 3 diagrammatically depicts the portion of coastline of FIG. 2 including a plurality of recovery modules positioned thereon.

FIGS. 4a-4c schematically depict various embodiments of a recovery module.

FIG. 5 diagrammatically depicts the formation of an accretion zone adjacent to a plurality of recovery modules.

FIG. 6 diagrammatically depicts the formation of an accretion zone adjacent to a plurality of recovery modules.

FIG. 7 diagrammatically depicts the plurality of recovery modules of FIG. 6 moved to a plurality of second locations.

FIG. 8 diagrammatically depicts the formation of an accretion zone adjacent to the plurality of recovery modules in the plurality of second locations.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIG. 1, a method of coastal restoration and/or stabilization may generally include positioning 10 a recovery module at a first location in a region offshore of a beach to sea interface. A longitudinal axis of the recovery module may be oriented 12 generally parallel to the beach to sea interface. The recovery module may be removed 14 from the first location upon achieving a desired level of accretion in a near-shore region relative to the recovery module. As used herein, coastal recovery and/or restoration may include coastal stabilization. Accordingly, the methods described herein may include methods for restoring a coastal region and/or for mitigating or reducing further erosion.

Referring also to FIG. 2, in an illustrative example a littoral cell (e.g., littoral cell 50) is generally shown. Littoral cell 50 may generally include a region of coastline encompassing a beach region 52 and a sea region 54, and defining beach to sea interface 56, generally (e.g., the surf zone). As is known, beach to sea interface 56 may be a dynamic region (e.g., rather than a static or defined line), and may shift as a result of tidal action (e.g., the beach to sea interface may be further landward during high tide and further seaward during low tide), wave action, and a variety of other dynamic environmental circumstances and effects. Littoral cell 50 may be subject to a variety of currents. For example, an onshore current (e.g., onshore current 58) may include wave action resulting from waves approaching littoral cell 50. As is generally known, waves approaching littoral cell 50 may break in sea region 54 and/or in the region of beach to sea interface 56. The breaking of waves may additionally result in an uprush of water at beach to sea interface 56 and/or onto beach region 52, known as swash. The energy imparted by the breaking waves and/or swash may suspend sediment, such as sand, silt, and other particulate material, in the water. The suspended particulate material may generally be forced up the beach (e.g., onto beach region 52) generally in the direction of onshore current 58. The water may recede from beach region 52 (e.g., as backwash) in a direction that may be generally perpendicular to beach to sea interface 56 (e.g., the backwash may flow along the gradient of the beach) to seaward. Particulate material suspended in the water (e.g., as a result of the wave action) may carried away from beach region 52 and/or beach to sea interface 56, either down the coastline along the direction of the longshore current (e.g., which may result in the difference in direction of the swash and the backwash) and/or seaward away from the beach region.

While onshore current 58 is shown as being substantially perpendicular to beach to sea interface 56, it will be appreciated that this is for illustrative purposes only. The direction of onshore current 58, e.g., which may include, at least in part, a direction of approach of waves toward beach to sea interface 56 in a dominant wave environment, may be at an angle other than perpendicular relative to beach to sea interface 56. The direction of the waves (and therein, at least in part, the direction of onshore current 58) may be based upon, at least in part, a wind direction (either local wind conditions or distant wind conditions, giving rise to resultant swell). Accordingly, while the direction of onshore current 58 may periodically change (e.g., seasonally, etc.), for at least discrete time periods onshore current 58 may have a generally prevailing direction.

As mentioned above, coastal restoration may include positioning 10 a recovery module at a first location in a region offshore of beach to sea interface 56. As such, the recovery module may include a shore detached structure, e.g., in that the recovery module may be separated from beach region 52. Referring also to FIG. 3, in addition/as an alternative to a single recovery module (e.g., recovery module 60), the method of coastal restoration may equally utilize a plurality of recovery modules (e.g., recovery modules 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70). In an implementation utilizing a plurality of recovery modules (e.g., recovery modules 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70) the plurality of recovery modules may each be positioned 10 in a respective first location (e.g., respective location 72, 74, 76, 78, 80, 82) in a region offshore of beach to sea interface 56, as shown in FIG. 3. It should be noted that while the figures herein may generally depict an implementation utilizing a plurality of recovery modules, the principles of the present disclosure are equally susceptible to the use of a single recovery module (e.g., recovery module 60). Further, while the figures herein generally depict an implementation utilizing six recovery modules, this is intended for the purpose of illustration only, as a greater or fewer number of recovery modules may be equally utilized. For example, depending upon the size of the littoral cell to be restored, twenty-four or more recovery modules may be utilized. As used herein, any characteristics, attributes, and operations described with respect to recovery module 60 may be equally attributable to any of the plurality of recovery modules (e.g., any of recovery modules 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70).

As described herein below, recovery module 60 (and/or recovery modules 62, 64, 66) may be positioned 10 in first location 72 (and/or plurality of first locations 72, 74, 76, 78, 80, 82 of respective recovery modules 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70) that may generally be in an offshore region of littoral cell 50. However, such an embodiment is intended for the purpose of explanation only (e.g., in the context of a specific embodiment of coastal recovery for a larger region of littoral cell 50, and/or the entirety of littoral cell 50, to be described in greater detail below), and should not be construed as a limitation. In various additional/alternative embodiments one or more recovery modules may be positioned 10 at any desired location(s) within littoral cell 50, e.g., to effectuate localized coastal recovery, and or to effectuate coastal recovery of a larger region of littoral cell 50 in an alternatively sequenced manner. All such implementations are considered to be within the contemplation of this disclosure.

According to one aspect, the one or more recovery modules may be positioned 10 in an offshore location relative to beach to sea interface 56 to disrupt and/or dissipate at least a portion of the energy of onshore current 58 (e.g., which may include disrupting and/or dissipating at least a portion of the energy of incoming waves). For example, the one or more recovery modules may be positioned to decrease the energy of the coastal system (i.e., disrupt and/or dissipate at least a portion of the energy of onshore current 58) by acting as a breakwater. In this manner, the one or more recovery modules may cause waves approaching beach to sea interface 56 may to break further offshore (e.g., as compared with location at which incoming waves may break in the absence of the one or more recovery modules). In an embodiment in which incoming waves may break further offshore, the energy of the onshore current (e.g., which may include residual waves and swash reaching beach to sea interface 56) at beach to sea interface 56 be decreased, resulting in less energy in the near-shore region of littoral cell 50. The lower energy of onshore current 58 at beach to sea interface 56 may decrease that ability of the water to suspend particulate material (e.g., sand and/or other sediment). As less particulate material may be suspended in the water, less particulate material may be subject to longshore drift (e.g., carried in a direction of the longshore current), and/or carried back out to sea.

Consistent with the foregoing aspect, in which the one or more recovery modules (e.g., one or more of recovery modules 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70), a longitudinal axis of the recovery module may be oriented 12 generally parallel to beach to sea interface 56. The degree of disruption and/or dissipation of the energy of incoming waves may be based upon, at least in part, a dimension of the recovery module that is oriented 12 generally parallel to beach to sea interface 56. As such, orienting 12 a longitudinal axis of the recovery module (e.g., a longitudinal axis of recovery module 60 and/or respective longitudinal axes of recovery modules 62, 64, 66, 68, 70) generally parallel to beach to sea interface 56 may maximize the disruption and/or dissipation of the energy of incoming waves in a near-shore region relative to the one or more recovery modules (i.e., a region between the one or more recovery modules and the beach to sea interface). However, it should be appreciated that other orientations of the one or more recovery modules (including an orientation in which the longitudinal axis of the one or more recovery modules is generally perpendicular to beach to sea interface 56) may also be utilized with varying degrees of efficacy (e.g., which may be based upon, at least in part, the degree of resultant disruption and/or dissipation of onshore current 58, which may include incoming waves, as well as relative aspect ratios of the one or more recovery modules, etc.).

Further, as shown in FIG. 3, beach to sea interface 56 may not be a linear feature. As such, orienting 12 the longitudinal axis of the one or more recovery modules generally parallel to beach to sea interface 56 need not necessitate orienting 12 individual recovery modules generally parallel to a respective expanse of beach to sea interface 56 (however, such an arrangement is considered within the scope of this disclosure). Rather, the longitudinal axis of the one or more recovery modules 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70 may collectively be oriented 12 generally parallel to an average linear orientation of beach to sea interface. Further, in an arrangement including a plurality of recovery modules (e.g., recovery modules 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70) the linear axes of at least a portion of recovery modules 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70 may be collinear. Additionally/alternatively, the longitudinal axes of one or more of recovery modules 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70 may be oriented 12 generally parallel to beach to sea interface 56, but may be disposed in an offset arrangement (i.e., non-collinear) relative to at least another of the one or more recovery modules.

Further, orienting 12 the longitudinal axis of the one or more recovery modules 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70 generally parallel to beach to sea interface 56 may include orienting 16 the longitudinal axis of the one or more recovery modules generally perpendicular to onshore current 58. In the illustrated embodiment onshore current 58 is oriented generally perpendicular to beach to sea interface 56, as such orienting the 12 the longitudinal axis of the one or more recovery modules generally parallel to the beach to sea interface may generally equate to orienting 16 the longitudinal axis of the one or more recovery modules generally perpendicular to onshore current 58. However, as will be appreciated, the direction of onshore current 58 may be at an angle to beach to sea interface 56. In such an embodiment, orienting 16 the longitudinal axis of the one or more recovery modules generally perpendicular to onshore current 58 may differ from orienting 12 the longitudinal axis of the one or more recovery modules generally parallel to beach to sea interface 56. As described above, the orientation of the longitudinal axis of the one or more recovery modules may vary the efficacy of the one or more recovery modules in disrupting and/or dissipating the energy of onshore current 58 (e.g., including the energy of incoming waves). Accordingly, in situations in which onshore current 58 may not be perpendicular to beach to sea interface 56, the longitudinal axis of the one or more recovery modules may be oriented 12, 16 in a manner to achieve a desired level of disruption/dissipation of the energy of onshore current 58.

Further, it will be appreciated that the direction of onshore current 58 may vary over time, both in the short term and the long term. However, it may be appreciated that the onshore current may, at least over a period of weeks or months, have a prevailing direction, either in terms of greatest strength and/or in terms of average greatest time (e.g., swell which may result from relatively consistent winds at sea as compared with more variable wind seas dependant upon current local conditions). Accordingly, the longitudinal axis of the one or more recovery modules may be oriented 16 generally perpendicular to a direction of onshore current 58 representing a direction of the greatest strength and/or greatest average time onshore current. Additionally, as will be discussed below, the one or more recovery modules may be susceptible to repositioning/relocation. Accordingly, in the event of a change in the prevailing direction of onshore current 58 (e.g., due to normal seasonal cycles, a predicted storm, etc.), the one or more recovery modules may be repositioned to orient 16 a longitudinal axis of the one or more recovery modules generally perpendicular to the changed (or anticipated new) direction of onshore current 58.

Positioning the one or more recovery modules (e.g., one or more of recovery modules 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70) in the one or more first locations (e.g., one or more of first locations 72, 74, 76, 78, 80, 82) may include positioning 18 the one or more recovery modules to be at least partially submerged during at least a portion of a tidal cycle. For example, positioning 18 the recovery module 60 to be at least partially submerged during at least a portion of a tidal cycle may include positioning 18 recovery module 60 so that at least a portion of recovery module 60 is disposed below the average water level (e.g., the water level at a midpoint between the crest and trough of a wave) during at least a portion of a tidal cycle. In an at least partially submerged position, recovery module 60 may be (but is not required to be) completely submerged during at least a portion of a tidal cycle (e.g., during high tide) and/or in above average seas for littoral cell 50.

Further, positioning 10 the one or more recovery modules (e.g., recovery module 60) in the first location (e.g., location 72 of recovery module 60) may include positioning 20 recovery module 60 to be completely submerged during the tidal cycles. In such a configuration, recovery module 60 may be completely submerged during the entire tidal cycle (e.g., may be below the average water level at a midpoint between the crest and trough of a wave at an average low tide condition). In a completely submerged position, recovery module 60 may be (but is not required to be) at least partially emergent during at least a portion of a tidal cycle that is below average for littoral cell 50. As such, recovery module 60 may be positioned 20 such that the full height of recovery module may be below the average water level for an average low tide condition for littoral cell 50.

In an embodiment in which the one or more recovery modules (e.g., one or more of recovery modules 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70) may be positioned 10 to break incoming waves further off shore (as compared to a condition not including one or more recovery modules), the location of the one or more recovery modules with respect to beach to sea interface 56 (e.g., the distance of the one or more recovery modules from the beach to sea interface) may depend upon a number of factors. For example, the location of breaking waves may depend, at least in part, upon the seafloor profile adjacent beach to sea interface 56, with waves tending to break farther from beach to sea interface 56 in locations having a relatively shallow seafloor profile and waves tending to break closer to beach to sea interface 56 in locations having a relatively steep seafloor profile. Accordingly, in locations having a relatively shallow seafloor profile in the region of beach to sea interface 56, the one or more recovery modules may be positioned 10 relatively farther away from beach to sea interface 56. Correspondingly, in locations having a relatively steep seafloor profile in the region of beach to sea interface 56, the one or more recovery modules may be positioned 10 relatively closer to beach to sea interface 56.

Additionally, the location of the one or more recovery modules with respect to beach to sea interface 56 may be based upon a desired size of waves to be broken by the one or more recovery modules. For example, for a given seafloor profile and recovery module height, a recovery module located further from beach to sea interface 56 may break relatively larger waves, while allowing relatively smaller waves to pass unbroken. Correspondingly, a recovery module located closer to beach to sea interface 56 may break relatively smaller waves (e.g., with relatively larger waves possibly having already broken due to decreased water depth based upon wave size and seafloor profile). Accordingly, the one or more recovery modules may be positioned 10 to break waves of a general size (e.g., which may be capable of imparting a general energy capable of suspending particulate material at beach to sea interface 56), to thereby disrupt and/or dissipate at least a portion of the energy of onshore current 58 in the region of beach to sea interface 56.

Further, the location of the one or more recovery modules with respect to beach to sea interface 56 may be based upon, at least in part, a height of the one or more recovery modules. For example, a relatively taller recovery module (e.g., in terms of prominence from the seafloor) in a given location may result in less water depth above the recovery module than a relatively shorter recovery module in the same given location. The less water depth above the relatively taller recovery module may result in waves of a relatively smaller size being broken as compared to the size of waves that may be broken by the relatively shorter recovery module in the same given location.

In consideration of the foregoing discussion, the present disclosure is not intended to be limited by the distance from beach to sea interface 56 at which the one or more recovery modules are positioned 10. Such distances are considered to be based upon conditions in the region of beach to sea interface 56 and design choice.

Recovery module 60 (and/or recovery modules 62, 64, 66, 68, 70) may generally include a generally rectangular prismic, or box-like, structure. According to one embodiment, recovery module 60 may have dimensional ratios of one unit height, three units width, and six units length. Similarly, in illustrative embodiments recovery module 60 may have a length of between about 40 feet to about 60 feet. However, these dimensions are intended only for the purpose of illustration, and not of limitation. Various additional/alternative dimensions may suitably be utilized depending upon various factors, such as environmental conditions, design preference, recovery module availability, and the like, which may provide for a variety of alternative implementations. The illustrated recovery modules herein are intended for the purpose of example and should not be construed as a limitation. Various additional/alternative geometries (e.g., cylindrical, trapezoidal, rhomboidal, etc.), dimensions, and dimension ratios may suitably be utilized depending upon environmental conditions, design criteria, etc.

Consistent with various embodiments, the recovery modules may include hollow structures that may be manufactured from metal (e.g., reinforced or non-reinforced sheet metal), plastic (including fiber reinforced plastics as well as non-reinforced plastics), composite materials, concrete (reinforced as well as non-reinforced) or other suitable materials. In some embodiments, the recovery modules may include generally sealed and/or watertight structures, and/or include generally sealed and/or watertight features. Further, in some embodiments, the generally sealed and/or watertight structures or features may include fluid conduits, such as passages, hoses, vents, etc., that may be selectively opened such that the generally sealed and/or watertight structures or features may be at least partially filled with fluid (such as water or air), for example, by to allow flooding of the generally sealed and/or watertight structures or features. Additionally, in some embodiments, when the at generally sealed and/or watertight structures or features are filled with air, a recovery module may be at least partially buoyant and/or floatable. An at least partially buoyant and/or floatable recovery module may facilitate, for example, sea transport, for example by pushing or towing.

Referring also to FIGS. 4a through 4c, an embodiment of recovery module 60 is depicted. Consistent with the illustrated embodiment, recovery module 60 may include a generally enclosed rectangular box. While not shown, it will be appreciated that the recovery module may include various reinforcing structures, such as internal or external ribs, bulkhead, and the like. Additionally, recovery module 60 may include one or more ports (e.g., ports 150, 152) that may provide fluid communication with an interior of recovery module 60. It will be appreciated that while only two ports (namely ports 150, 152) are shown, the number and arrangement of the ports may vary depending upon design criteria and user need. One or more of ports 150, 152 may include associated seacocks, connectors (e.g., including self closing connectors, which may, for example, achieve a closed condition when not coupled to a mating connector, etc.), and the like. Seacocks, connectors, valves, and the like may allow, for example, one or more of ports 150, 152 to be opened or closed (e.g., to allow fluid communication with an interior of recovery module 60, and/or to prevent fluid communication with an interior of recovery module 60), may allow hoses or equipment to be coupled for fluid communication with an interior of recovery module 60, and the like. It will be appreciated that a recovery module herein may include various additional/alternative configurations, and that various additional/alternative method and arrangements may be utilized for flooding and blowing down a recovery module.

With particular reference to FIG. 4a, and continuing with the above discussed aspect in which recovery module may be at least partially filled with water (e.g., “flooded”), one possible arrangement for flooding recovery module 60 (e.g., for the purpose of ballasting recovery module 60) is shown. In the illustrated embodiment, port 150 may allow air to escape from recovery module 60, for example via a hose (not shown) coupled to port 150. The other end of the hose (e.g., opposite the end of the hose that is coupled to port 150) may, for example, be supported above the surface of the water, by a float or other suitable arrangement. As such, the hose coupled to port 150 may effectuate a surface snorkel for exhausting air from within recovery module 60. The other port (e.g., port 152) may be opened to allow water to flow into recovery module 60, thereby causing air to be exhausted from recovery module 60 via port 150 and the hose connected thereto. Further, as shown, port 152 may include a downpipe extending to a region proximate a bottom interior of recovery module 60. Consistent with the illustrated arrangement, water may only enter recovery module 60 via port 152, and may be direct to a region proximate a bottom interior of recovery module 60. Air, which may be displaced by the entering water, may be exhausted above, or near, the surface of the water. In such an arrangement, recovery module 60 may be filled from the bottom up. Accordingly, recovery module may maintain its general orientation in the water (e.g., may have a decreased tendency to roll and/or flip over).

Referring to FIGS. 4b and 4c, two possible arrangements and methods are shown for removing the water from recovery module 60 (e.g., “blowing down”/pumping out recovery module 60). As shown in FIG. 4b, compressed air (e.g., which may be provided by a surface compressor, tanks of compressed air, or the like) may be introduced into recovery module 60 via port 150. The introduction of compressed air into recovery module 60 may displace the water within recovery module 60, e.g., by forcing the water to exit recovery module 60 via downpipe 154 and port 152. As downpipe 154 may extend to a region proximate a bottom of recovery module 60, water may be displaced from recovery module 60 down to the level of the interior open end of downpipe 154.

In a related embodiment, depicted in FIG. 4c, rather than (or in addition to) displacing the water within recovery module 60 using compressed air, the water within recovery module 60 may be pumped from within recovery module 60. For example, a hose (not shown) may couple port 152 to an external water pump (e.g., which may be provided by a surface vessel). Water may be pumped out of recovery module 60 (e.g., via port 152 and downpipe 154). The water pumped out of recovery module may be replaced by air that may enter recovery module 60 via a hose (not shown) coupled to port 152. The hose coupled to port 152 may extend above the surface (and/or may be coupled to a supply of air, e.g., one or more compressed air tanks) in the manner of a surface snorkel. As described with respect to FIG. 4b, as downpipe 154 may extend to a region proximate a bottom of recovery module 60, water may be removed from recovery module 60 down to the level of the interior open end of downpipe 154.

Various techniques may be used to position 10 the one or more recover modules (e.g., recovery modules 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70) in desired locations. For example, a recovery module (e.g., recovery module 60) may be deployed from beach 52, and may be positioned from sea. In such an embodiment, recovery module 60 may be deployed into the water from beach 52 using a crane, intense pneumatic tires (e.g., commonly known as “roller bags,” “shipping air bag,” or “salvage bags”) as rollers for traversing beach 52, or other suitable means for deploying recovery module 60 into the water. Additionally/alternatively, recovery module 60 may be deployed from sea, e.g., by being transported by a barge or other vessel. In such an embodiment, recovery module 60 may be deployed from the barge or other vessel into the water using a crane or other suitable means.

Once deployed into the water, recovery module 60 may be floated (e.g., in embodiments in which the recovery module may be at least partially buoyant, as discussed above) to a desired location. For example, a barge or work boat may be utilized to tow or push recovery module 60 to a desired location. Upon reaching the desired location, recovery module 60 may be positioned 10 in a desired location on the seafloor. For example, recovery module 60 may be flooded (e.g., as described with respect to FIGS. 4a-4c) or otherwise ballasted to achieve a neutral, or at least partially negative, buoyancy. Recovery module 60 may be guided to a desired position and orientation on the seafloor using any suitable means, including but not limited to cranes and the like.

In further embodiments, e.g., in which recovery module 60 may not be at least partially buoyant, recovery module 60 may be positioned 10 on the seafloor using, for example, a barge mounted crane, or other suitable equipment. In such an embodiment, recovery module 60 may be, for example, craned from a transport barge and lowered to the water and positioned 10 using the crane in a desired location (e.g., location 72) on the seafloor. Various additional/alternative techniques for positioning the one or more recovery modules may suitably be employed. As such, the present disclosure is not intended to be limited by the foregoing illustrative examples.

Consistent with the foregoing description, in which the one or more recovery modules (e.g., recovery modules 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70) may be at least partially submerged, the one or more recovery modules may stabilized on the seafloor to aid in maintaining the one or more recovery modules in a desired location (e.g., in respective locations 72, 74, 76, 77, 78). According to one embodiment, positioning 10 the one or more recovery modules may include ballasting 22 the one or more recovery modules to thereby maintain the one or more recovery modules in the desired location. Consistent with the foregoing description, in some embodiments the one or more recovery modules may include at least partially hollow structures. The at least partially hollow structures of the one or more recovery modules may be at least partially emptied to achieve neutral or positive buoyancy for the purpose of floating the one or more recovery modules to a desired location. Once the one or more recovery modules have been floated to a desired location, the one or more recovery modules may be positioned in respective first locations on the seafloor (e.g., respective first locations 72, 74, 76, 78, 80, 82) including ballasting 22 the one or more recovery modules. Ballasting 22 the one or more recovery modules may increase the weight of the one or more recovery modules to allow positioning 10 the one or more recovery modules on the seafloor (e.g., by sinking the one or more recovery modules, or achieving a generally neutral buoyancy that may allow facile positioning of the one or more recovery modules on the seafloor). Accordingly, once the one or more recovery modules have been ballasted 22, the one or more recovery modules may be less susceptible to undesired movement.

It is appreciated that the strata of the seafloor may vary in consistency and stability. Such variations in consistency and stability may, in some situations, result in settling or movement of the one or more recovery modules. Unintended settling of the one or more recovery modules may, in some circumstances, inhibit and/or undesirably increase the difficulty of further repositioning and/or removal of the one or more recovery modules. Additionally, unintended settling may impact the efficacy of the one or more recovery modules in disrupting or dissipating energy of onshore current 58 (e.g., by increasing the depth of the water above the one or more recovery modules). Similarly, unintended settling of the one or more recover modules may result in the one or more recovery modules moving from the desired location on the seafloor (e.g., locations 72, 74, 76, 78, 80, 82), and/or moving from a desired orientation relative to beach to sea interface 56 and/or onshore current 58. In order to at least partially control the degree of settling or movement of the one or more recovery modules, the degree of ballasting (e.g., and therein the resulting negative buoyancy, or effective weight applied to the seafloor) may be determined based upon, at least in part, the nature of the seafloor. Such control of the degree of ballasting may be carried out to reduce and/or control the degree of settling experienced by the one or more recovery modules. In various embodiments, the degree of ballasting 22 may be varied by the selection of ballasting materials, the amount of ballasting material, the inclusion of low density materials (e.g., foam materials, air bladders, or other low density materials), and the like. In addition, baffling may be used in conjunction with, or exclusive of the aforementioned ballasting materials, to minimize, mitigate, and/or other wise eliminate undesired settling of the one or more recovery modules.

With reference to the description of FIGS. 4a-4c, ballasting 22 of the one or more recovery modules may include at least partially filling 24 the one or more recovery modules with water. For example, as described above, the one or more recovery modules may be at least partially filled 24 with water by pumping water into the one or more recovery modules, opening one or more seacocks below the water level (e.g., an possible also providing one or more air vents to allow for the escape of air from the one or more recovery modules as water enters the recovery module), etc., thereby allowing the one or more recovery modules to at least partially flood. As noted above, in addition/as an alternative to at least partially filling 24 the one or more recovery modules with water, the one or more recovery modules may be ballasted 22 with other materials, such as sand, rocks, etc.

In addition/as an alternative to ballasting 22 the one or more recovery modules, positioning 10 the one or more recovery modules may include anchoring 26 the one or more recovery modules in the respective first locations (e.g., first locations 72, 74, 76, 78, 80, 82 of recovery modules 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70). Anchoring 26 the one or more recovery modules may also advantageously be employed when, for example, the seafloor strata lacks the necessary stability to carry the weight of a fully ballasted recovery module without undesired settling or shifting of the one or more recovery modules. In such an implementation, the one or more recovery modules may be ballasted to achieve a buoyancy that can acceptably be carried by the seafloor (e.g., neutral buoyancy, or an acceptable degree of negative buoyancy). The one or more recovery modules may then be anchored 26 to the seafloor, e.g., to aid in maintaining the one or more recovery modules in the desired first locations. Further, the one or more recovery modules may also be anchored 26 even in embodiments in which the one or more recovery modules may be optimally ballasted (e.g., to aid in maintaining the desired location of the one or more recovery modules). The one or more recovery modules may be anchored 26 using any suitable known anchor, such as a mushroom anchor, earth auger, etc. Similarly, the recovering module may be anchored 26 by spudding. As is known by those having skill in the art, a spud may generally include a generally vertical post (such as a steel rod, shaft, or tubular member; a steel reinforced, often pre-stressed, concrete cylindrical or square beam; wooden piling; or any other suitable material, orientation, geometry, and/or configuration) that may be coupled to the recovery module (e.g., as by being received through a spud well, such as a receptacle or opening in the recovery module and/or attached to the recovery module) and may be at least partially driven into the beach and/or sea floor. In addition to securing the recovery modules to the seafloor, spudding may also be utilized for tying multiple recovery modules into a larger functional structure. Tying multiple recovery modules together may be accomplished, for example, by aligning at least one spud well of each respective adjacent recovery module with one another (e.g., in an overlapping manner) such that two, or more, recovery modules may share at least one common spud that may be at least partially received through each respective spud well. According to an embodiment, the aspect of tying multiple recovery modules together may allow for the creation of a functional structure one or more orders of magnitude larger that any single recovery module.

As discussed above, the one or more recovery modules may be removed 14 from the one or more first locations upon achieving a desired level of accretion in a near-shore region relative to the one or more recovery modules. Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, accretion may occur in the region between the one or more recovery modules (e.g., recovery modules 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70) and beach 52. As the one or more recovery modules may disrupt and/or dissipate the energy of onshore current 58 prior to waves, etc., reaching beach to sea interface 56, the capacity of the water to suspend particulate material may be decrease. As the water may suspend less particulate material, there may be less particulate material carried away by the longshore current, and therefore less longshore drift erosion from the region of beach to sea interface 56 protected by the one or more recovery modules. However, the near-shore region relative to the one or more recovery modules may accrete, for example, due to the import of particulate material via longshore drift from updrift locations. Once sediment is transported into the near-shore region relative to the one or more recovery modules, the reduced capability of the water to suspend sediment (e.g., due to the disruption and/or dissipation of energy of onshore current 58) may prevent the sediment from subsequently being removed from the near-shore region relative to the one or more recovery modules.

Consistent with the foregoing, one or more accretion zones (e.g., accretion zones 84, 86, 88) may form in the near-shore region associated with the one or more recovery modules. The one or more accretion zones may result in a decrease in the depth of water in the near-shore region relative to the one or more recovery modules. The reduced water depth in the near-shore region relative to the one or more recovery modules may further result in a disruption and/or dissipation of the energy of onshore current 58 in the near-shore region. For example, the reduced water depth may additionally cause waves to break farther away from beach to sea interface 56, thereby creating a less energetic onshore current in the near-shore region. Once the desired level of accretion has been achieved in the near-shore region relative to the one or more recovery modules, the one or more recovery modules (e.g., one or more of recovery modules 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70) may be removed 14 from the one or more first locations (e.g., one or more of first location 72, 74, 76, 78, 80, 82). Accordingly, the placement of the one or more recovery modules may facilitate coastal recovery, and once a desired level of coastal recovery has occurred, the one or more recovery modules may be removed from the one or more first locations, thereby leaving nothing behind. As described above, the reduction in depth of the water in the near-shore region relative to the one or more recovery modules may result in a reduction in the energy of onshore current 58 in the accreted near-shore region, even once the one or more recovery modules have been removed 14.

Removing 14 the one or more recovery modules may be accomplished using any suitable technique, for example, any of the techniques discussed with respect to positioning 10 the one or more recovery modules. For example, the one or more recovery modules (e.g., recovery modules 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70) may be floated, and pushed or pull from the first location (e.g., by a workboat or other vessel). Similarly, the one or more recovery modules may be craned from the seafloor and loaded onto a barge or other vessel, or removed 14 via any other suitable techniques. In an embodiment in which positioning 10 the one or more recovery modules included ballasting 22 the one or more recovery modules, removing 14 the one or more recovery modules may include at least partially de-ballasting 28 the one or more recovery modules. For example, in an embodiment in which the one or more recovery modules may have been at least partially filled 24 with water, the one or more recovery modules may be blown down and/or pumped out, as described above with respect to FIGS. 4b and 4c. In the event that ballast other than water may have been used, such ballast material may be removed using any suitable technique. Additionally, removing 14 the one or more recovery modules may include removing any anchors and/or spuds that may have been used.

While positioning 10 the one or more recovery modules (e.g., recovery modules 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70) in one or more first locations (e.g., first locations 72, 74, 76, 78, 80, 82) may result in accretion in the near-shore region relative to the one or more recovery modules, without leaving behind any residual structures or components, in some cases it may be desirable to accomplish even greater coastal recovery. Such additional coastal recovery may be accomplished by moving the one or more recovery modules to one or more second positions. Accordingly, and referring also to FIGS. 7 and 8, in an embodiment the one or more recovery modules may be positioned 30 in one or more second locations (e.g., second locations 90, 92, 94, 96, 98, 100). The one or more second locations may be locations at which the one or more recovery modules may continue to disrupt and/or dissipate the energy of onshore current 58 (e.g., which may cause incoming waves to break prior to reaching beach to shore interface 56, and/or prior to reaching accretion zones 84, 86, 88).

Positioning 30 the one or more recovery modules (e.g., recovery modules 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70) in the one or more second locations (e.g., second locations 90, 92, 94, 96, 98, 100) may include moving all, or at least a portion, of the one or more recovery modules to respective second locations. Consistent with the foregoing description, in which further coastal recovery is desired, the one or more recovery modules may be moved to the one or more second locations upon achieving a desired level of accretion in a near-shore region relative to at one of the first locations (e.g., first locations 72, 74, 76, 78, 80). As shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, the one or more recovery modules may be moved by positioning the one or more recovery modules in one or more second locations (e.g., second locations 90, 92, 94, 96, 98, 100) that may include a seaward location relative to one or more of the first locations (e.g., first locations 72, 74, 76, 78, 80). It should be noted that, for example, if the one or more first locations included a staggered arrangement (e.g., in which the longitudinal axes of a plurality of recovery modules were not collinear; not shown) one or more of the second locations may not be seaward of all of the first locations (e.g., a furthest inshore second location may not be seaward of a furthest seaward first location). Additionally/alternatively the one or more second locations (e.g., second locations 90, 92, 94, 96, 98, 100) may include an updrift location relative to one or more first locations. For example, because the one or more recovery modules may disrupt longshore drift (e.g., by reducing the energy of onshore current 58, and therein diminishing the ability of the water near beach to sea interface 56 to suspend sediment), positioning 30 the one or more recovery modules in an updrift location (e.g., with respect to the longshore current) may provide further beneficial coastal recovery. Positioning 30 the one or more recovery modules in the one or more second locations may be accomplished using any suitable technique, such as those techniques described above with respect to positioning 10 the one or more recovery modules in the one or more first locations. Further, similar to positioning 10 the one or more recovery modules in the one or more first locations, positioning 30 the one or more recovery modules in the one or more second locations may include orienting a longitudinal axis of the one or more recovery modules generally parallel to beach to sea interface 56. Further, orienting a longitudinal axis of the one or more recovery modules generally parallel to beach to sea interface 56 may include orienting a longitudinal axis of the one or more recovery modules generally perpendicular to onshore current 58, as also described above.

Positioning 30 the one or more recovery modules in the one or more second locations may include sequentially moving the one or more recovery modules to a respective seaward and/or updrift location relative to the remaining recovery modules. Additionally/alternatively, positioning 30 the one or more recovery modules in the one or more second locations may include moving the one or more recovery modules at generally the same time (e.g., which may include moving the one or more recovery modules one at a time, but in relatively close temporal proximity). Various additional/alternative movement schemes may be implemented for positioning the one or more recovery modules in the one or more second locations.

With particular reference to FIG. 8, and similar to that shown and described with reference to FIGS. 5 and 6, accretion zones (e.g., accretion zones 84, 86, 88, and 102 shown in FIG. 8) may form in a near-shore region relative to the one or more recovery modules in the one or more second locations (e.g., second location 90, 92, 94, 96, 98, 100). The formation of accretion zones 84, 86, 88, and 102 may, for example, result from the disruption of longshore sedimentary drift as a result of the decreased energy of onshore current 58 in the region of beach to sea interface 56 and/or generally in the region between the one or more second locations and beach 52. For example, and as discussed above, the decrease in the energy of onshore current 58 caused by the one or more recovery modules may result in a decrease in the capacity for the water to suspend sediment, and thereby decrease the amount of sediment that can be carried away by the longshore current. However, sediment from an updrift location (e.g., at which the energy of onshore current 58 has not been decreased) may still migrate into the near-shore region between the one or more second locations and beach 52 on the longshore current.

According to one embodiment, once a desired level of restoration and/or stabilization has been accomplished (e.g., via accretion of sediment in a near-shore region relative to the one or more recovery modules), one or more recovery modules may be positioned 34 for ongoing maintenance and/or stabilization of the littoral cell 50. For example, one or more recovery modules may be positioned 34 in a maintenance location. The maintenance location may include, for example, one or more of the first locations (e.g., first locations 72, 74, 76, 78, 80), one or more of the second locations (e.g., second locations 90, 92, 94, 96, 98, 100), and/or one or more third locations (not shown). As described herein, the one or more recovery modules positioned 34 in the one or more maintenance locations may be oriented generally parallel to beach to sea interface 56 and/or generally perpendicular to onshore current 58, as described hereinabove. Accordingly, the one or more recovery modules positioned 34 in the one or more maintenance locations may prevent/reduce erosion of the previously accreted sediment.

The one or more recovery modules positioned 34 in the one or more maintenance locations may remain in the one or more maintenance locations for a relatively extended period of time. For example, the one or more recovery modules may remain in the one or more maintenance locations for a single season (e.g., during which the onshore current may have a generally constant prevailing direction). Additionally/alternatively, the one or more recovery modules may remain in the one or more maintenance locations for one or more years (or any portion thereof). Not withstanding the relatively extended period of time that the one or more recovery modules may remain in the one or more maintenance locations, the one or more recovery modules may continue to be subject to relatively simple and complete removal.

As described above, recovery modules may be formed from a variety of materials. In the case of recovery modules positioned in maintenance locations, recovery modules may be formed from a material that is capable of withstanding prolonged exposure to water, for example salt water. For example, such recovery modules may be formed from concrete, e.g., which may be capable of withstanding such prolonged exposure to salt water. Additionally/alternatively, recovery modules positioned in maintenance locations may be formed from composite materials, polymeric materials, corrosion protected steel (e.g., including corrosion resistant coatings, and the like).

Consistent with any of the above-described movement techniques, positioning 30 the one or more recovery modules in one or more second locations may include moving all of the one or more recovery modules to one or more second locations. Additionally/alternatively, the one or more recovery modules may be moved in a sequential manner, e.g., in which only one recovery module may be moved at a time. Further, while only a single move of the recovery modules is shown (e.g., positioning 10 the one or more recovery modules in a first location and subsequently positioning 30 the one or more recovery modules in a second location), it will be appreciated that effecting a desired level of coastal recovery may include moving the one or more recovery modules to a plurality of seaward locations and/or a plurality of updrift locations within littoral cell 50. Additionally, the method may further include removing 32 at least a portion of the one or more recovery modules from the at least a portion of the second (or subsequent) locations. As discussed above, one aspect of the present disclosure may include a method to effect coastal recovery that does long leave any equipment or waste within the littoral cell once the desired coastal recovery has been accomplished. The one or more recovery modules may be removed utilizing any suitable techniques, including, but not limited to, the techniques described above.

A number of implementations have been described. Nevertheless, it will be understood that various modifications may be made. Accordingly, other implementations are within the scope of the following claims.