Material used to build up and consolidate the land behind a seawall or similar structure.


 The accretion or erosion zone, located landward of the line of ordinary high tide, which is normally wetted only by storm tides; a narrow storm berm (ridge of wave-heaped sand and/or gravel) or a complex of berns, marshes, or dunes landward of the line of ordinary high tide.


 Movement of water back towards the sea after a wave has broken

Backwater effect

 The rise in water surface elevation caused by some obstruction such as a narrow bridge opening, buildings or fill material that limits the area through which the water must flow. Also referred to as "heading up".

Ballast Water

Water carried by a vessel to improve its stability

Barrier islands

 Elongate seafront islands of sand formed by the action of the sea and having an elongate lagoonal or estuarine embayment behind them.

Barriers to entry

 Refers to the obstacles facing potential newcomers to a market. Typical obstacles include: the high level of skills and/or investment required to enter the market, bureaucratic/regulatory obstacles, cultural/social obstacles, action taken by established firms to discourage new-entrants etc.

Base floodplain

 The floodplain that would be inundated by a 100-year (one percent (chance) flood.

Baseline study

 An inventory of natural community or environment to provide a baseline-a measure of its condition at a point of time-often done to describe the status of biodiversity and abundance against which future change can be gauged (usually development driven).


 The total area from which surface runoff is carried away by a drainage system. Other comparable terms are "drainage area", "catchment area", and “watershed”.

Bathymetric chart

 A topographic map of the bed of the ocean, with depths indicated by contours (isobaths) drawn at regular intervals


The measurement of water depths in oceans, seas, and lakes; also information derived from such measurements .


Where the sea has worn away the land so that the land curves inwards.


 A Bar  extending partly or entirely across the mouth of a bay.


An area of sand or pebbles lying along the coast.


 A zone, or strip, of unstable unconsolidated material (e.g., sand, gravel) along the shoreline that is moved by waves, wind and tidal currents.


 The section of the beach normally exposed to the action of Wave Uprush. The Foreshore  of the beach.



 The Cliff, dune or sea wall looming the landward limit of the active beach.

Beach Management

  Management of a beach as a coastal defence with a pre-determined standard of protection, using combinations of beach recharge, recycling, re-profiling, beach control structures and a programme of monitoring.

Beach Profile

A cross-sectional plot of a shore-normal topographic and geomorphic beach survey, usually in comparison to other survey dates to illustrate seasonal and longer-term changes in beach volume


 A low extensive ridge of beach material piled up by storm waves landward of the berm. Usually consists of very coarse sand, gravel or shells. Occurs singly or as a series of more or less parallel ridges.


 (1) An almost perpendicular slope along the beach foreshore; an erosional feature due to wave action, it may vary in height from a few centimeters to several meters, depending on wave action and the nature and composition of the beach. (2) (SMP) A steep slope produced by wave erosion

Beach Nourishment

The technique of placing sand fill along the shoreline to widen the beach

Bench mark

  A fixed physical object or mark used as reference for a vertical datum; a tidal bench mark is often near a tide station to which the tide staff and tidal datum are referred.

Benefit-cost ratio

 The ratio of benefits to costs. It should be calculated using the present values of each, discounted at an appropriate accounting rate of interest. The ratio should be at least 1.0 for the project to be acceptable. Inconsistent benefit-cost ratios may arise because they are dependent on arbitrary accounting conventions.


 Those positive quantifiable and unquantifiable changes that a project will produce.


 Pertaining to, or living on or in the bottom of the sea; upon or attached to the sea bottom (as opposed to pelagic)


 A ridge of sand or gravel deposited by wave action on the shore just above the normal high water mark.

Berm Breakwater

Rubble mound structure with horizontal berm of armor stones at about sea level, which is allowed to be (re)shaped by the waves


 The uptake of substances- e.g. heavy metals or chlorinated hydrocarbons-leading to elevated concentrations of those substances within marine organisms.

Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)

 A measure of the amount of dissolved oxygen required by biochemical processes to oxidize organic wastes in water.

Blow –hole

 A chimney or pipe leading from a cave up through a cliff to the surface. Caused by erosion and often exploitation of joints in the geology.


A depression on the land surface caused by wind erosion.


 Failure of defenses allowing flooding by tidal or storm action.


 An artificial offshore structure aligned parallel to shore usually to provide protection of the shore from large waves. It is a structure protecting a shore area, harbor, anchorage, or boat basin from waves; defined in the State Navigation Law as a structure located within the shoreline of a body of water for the purpose of providing protection from wind and wave action.


 Vertically faced or steeply inclined structure built parallel to the shoreline,
broken when a flood occurs and water overflows

Buffer area
A protective, often transitional, area of controlled use-in coastal management, a peripheral zone separating a developed area from a protected natural area.

Bulk head:

 A wall erected parallel to and near the high water mark for the purpose of protecting adjacent uplands from waves and current action.