Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


Browning Beach is situated on the south shore of Rhode Island just to the west of Matunick. Midway along the barrier beach connecting Green Hill Point and Matunick Point is a narrow strand separating Card's Pond from Block Island Sound. Five homes were built along this section of the barrier beach in the early 1930's. At that time, the homes were situated near the back property lines. Aerial photographs indicate the primary dune system was well established and densely vegetated. After sixty years of shoreline retreat, most of which has taken place in the last seventeen years, the primary dune system has eroded to a position very close to the homes. In an effort to re-establish and strengthen the dune, the homeowners applied for and received authorization to install a series of sand fences and plant dune vegetation. While wind-blown sand did accumulate behind the sand fences during the summer of 1991, it was ineffective in maintaining the feature during coastal storms. With the failure of the sand fence programs proposed by Coastal Conservancy Services (CCS), an alternative method applied in North Carolina and Florida for artificially re-establishing the natural dune systems, has been evaluated by Vanasse, Hangen, and Brustlin (VHB), the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), and myself.