Coastal and estuarine developments

Artelia's Laboratory excels in preserving, improving and enhancing coasts and estuaries for future generations.

Key issues and challenges

Changes in the barrier beach at Saint Louis in Senegal | Artelia Hydraulics
Modelling of the barrier beach at Saint Louis in Senegal

Bays, estuaries, lagoons and coastal zones are all places that accommodate human activities. Throughout the twentieth century and up to the present day, they have come under ever-increasing anthropogenic pressure. Awareness is growing as to how fragile these ecosystems are, while at the same time they now face a further threat from the direct effects of global warming.

And yet, shallow coastal areas such as marshes, mangroves, wetlands of all kinds, dune ridges and coral reefs act as natural defences that protect the zone adjacent to the coast/ zone immediately behind the coastline) against risks of coastal and river flooding.

In addition, rehabilitating or adapting ageing coastal developments is posing a major challenge for coastal managers.

Sedimentological physical modelling of coastal and estuarine zones is a field of expertise for Artelia’s Laboratory. It is recognised by the scientific community as being a powerful tool, and we harness it to study the conservation or restoration of these zones, adapt development schemes to their ecosystems, or strengthen them in order to further enhance their capacity to protect us.

Modelling topics studied at Artelia's Laboratory

  • Stability under wave attack of coastal protection structures such as sea fronts, groynes, detached breakwaters, and gauging structures in sea mouths
  • Risks of coastal flooding as a result of wave overtopping or seawater intrusion through breaches in protection structures or barrier beaches
  • Morphodynamic studies performed using movable-bed sedimentological models
  • Estimation of scouring at the toe of structures