Protecting Property Against Wave Erosion with Bulkheads

an erosion near the pipesLiving on a seafront property has its inherent responsibilities. The action of the wind and waves erodes the land and requires building bulkheads especially in Rockport, Texas. Bulkheads are a necessary part of the local landscape.

With the primary function of resisting excessive coastal erosion, bulkheads are not designed like seawalls. These are vertical walls of low height made of stone, steel, concrete, or timber. Stone walls and concrete can be designed as gravity walls, while steel, timber, and concrete walls can be constructed as anchored walls. Additionally, mesh boxes with stones can also be used as bulkheads.

Hardening Against the Waves and Wind

Bulkheads are a means to harden the shore or bluff at the waterline. This is useful when the property adjoins the sea, which often happens with reclaimed land. The waterline continues to erode the land with wave and wind action.

Hardening the bluff face with a barrier protects it against a wave attack. Hardening the shoreline involves designs and methods that use local materials. For modern coastal properties, bulkheads are made of concrete. Most bulkheads are not aesthetically pleasing. In some places, these look like walls defending the land from the sea.

Effect of Bulkheads

Bulkheads can be freestanding structures or have tiebacks for stability. These can greatly reduce or eliminate shoreline retreat at its location. Due to the effect of the waves, the bottom is scoured by the waves as it retreats from the bulkhead. This effectively digs into the soft bottom of the bulkhead.

To prevent this from happening, stone or riprap is placed at the bottom of the bulkhead to absorb the wave energy and prevent further underwater erosion. Bulkheads are not designed for strong waves like those at the seashore. If possible, bulkheads are only as high as the land it protects, and not any higher.

Bulkheads are ideal for protecting private property from wave erosion. In addition, the bottom of the bulkhead requires stone to absorb the power of the waves.

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