Developing an Ecological Assessment Framework for Sandy Beach Ecosystems

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Climate Change Science
Ecology and Evolution

Developing an Ecological Assessment Framework for Sandy Beach Ecosystems

A conceptual framework that can be used for assessing biological and ecological impacts of sediment management activities to open coast beaches in the Santa Barbara Littoral Cell (SBLC) will be developed.  Elements of this framework will be suitable for use in other coastal regions of California. The conceptual framework will use a synthesis of the best available scientific evidence of the ecological impacts of sediment management activities to sandy beaches and of best practices to reduce those impacts.  The objective is to provide a framework that will assist managers and regulators in making project decisions about tradeoffs with respect to specific project goals and ecological impacts.  The framework will be based on recent findings from both the academic and grey scientific literature on the ecological impacts of sediment management activities on sandy beaches, with an added focus on the current state of knowledge for best management practices. This study will also provide a road map for monitoring a suite of ecological indicators for impacts to sandy beach ecosystems. This framework and recommendations will fill a pressing need for improved integration, critical analysis, interpretation, and synthesis of the recent scientific literature that can be applied to monitor and reduce ecological impacts, and develop best practices for sediment management activities in the region and state.

Tasks and Deliverables


  • Development of Ecological Assessment Framework for sandy beach ecosystems
  • Development of assessment criteria and measurements for beach ecosystems
  • Synthesis of new and recent literature on Biological and Ecological Impacts to sandy beach ecosystems from Sediment Management Activities with added focus on recommendations for best practices.
  • Gap analysis of existing scientific information on ecological impacts and best practices to reduce impacts from sediment management activities for sandy beach ecosystems
  • Recommendations for ecological monitoring and study design to fill gaps in science concerning impacts and best practices identified above
  • Identification of Ecological Framework Components and Development of Conceptual Framework Model relevant to sediment management activities on sandy beach ecosystems


  • Development of ecological assessment framework and framework criteria for sandy beach ecosystems;
  • Synthesis of ecological impacts to sandy beach ecosystems from sediment management activities;
  • Recommendations for best practices and ecological monitoring activities for sandy beaches that will be affected by sediment management activities.