Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Chesapeake Bay Shore Erosion

contact: Bob Conkwright (bob.conkwright@maryland.gov)   

 Hurricane Isabel and Shore Erosion in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland page 5 of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8    
  

Uprooted Trees

    Some of the most dramatic examples of storm-induced erosion involved the uprooting of trees. Generally, the extensive root systems of large trees stabilize the upper parts of a slope, until the root mat is undermined. When a tree falls, it pulls away as much as 5-10m 3 of bank material. During the storm, other factors may have contributed to the collapse of trees along the shoreline: (1) the high soil moisture, due to above average precipitation in 2003, (2) the sail effect produced by trees in full canopy catching tropical storm force winds, and (3) on the shoreward side, the absence of shielding afforded by neighboring trees. For a while, the downed trees and eroded sediment will protect newly exposed banks from wave erosion. Once the eroded sediment washes away and the trees disintegrate or float away, direct wave attack will resume. Longer term, the effects of brackish water flooding and spray on trees growing near the shore may lead to their premature demise and collapse.

Root Failure
     Slope undercut by floodwaters overtopping 2-3 ft stone wall and undermining mature trees. Gibson I., Chesapeake Bay, Anne Arundel Co.
Slope undercut by floodwaters overtopping 2-3 ft stone wall and undermining mature trees. Gibson I., Chesapeake Bay, Anne Arundel Co. [2]
Estimated 65x25 ft section of shoreline washed away, toppling trees. Fairhaven, Chesapeake Bay, Anne Arundel Co.
Estimated 65x25 ft section of shoreline washed away, toppling trees. Fairhaven, Chesapeake Bay, Anne Arundel Co. [2]
 2.  J. Stein (photographer), 2003, Anne Arundel Co. Soil Conservation District

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