Croatia is a world tourist destination with a basic influence of the sun and sea offer, the mainstay of tourism is the offer that develops on the beaches that are the destination of tourists whether they come from the sea (boaters) or from the mainland.
Croatian beaches are a very valuable resource, not only socio-economically, but they represent a special ecosystem that effectively absorbs the forces of the sea and reflects the beauty of biological and landscape diversity of the Adriatic. However, it is the beaches that often become the object of inadequate maintenance and devastation. Beach embankments pose a threat to the coast and the marine environment. They have been very topical lately, especially with the arrival of warmer days when preparations for the season begin. It is an inadequate arrangement of beaches, embankment that falls under the framework of "feeding the beach". Replenishment of the beach is not considered to be backfilling and change of the coastline outside the existing dimensions, ie replenishment with material that is not supplied in the prescribed manner, nor is it of the same or similar composition and shape as beach material. Unfortunately, we are witnessing numerous backfills of beaches with construction material in the days of the pandemic, far from the public eye. The embankment causes the destruction of important coastal habitats and, in addition to the aesthetic devastation of the coast, it also threatens to disturb the natural balance of marine life.
According to the Regional Beach Management and Programs, Croatia has 1904 beaches with a total area of 6,850,000 m2 and a total length of 619 km. 50% of Croatian beaches have a length of 100 to 400 m while the largest beach is 4200 m long and the smallest 5 m.
The Beachex project deals with the sustainable construction of backfilled beaches and its goal is to define technical support for the needs of long-term replenishment and backfilling of beaches in Croatia with minimal impact on the environment. Replenishment of beaches belongs to the category of technical maintenance of beaches so that the position of the existing coastline does not change, while backfilling belongs to the category of construction (new beach areas) and requires environmental procedures and building permits. Top-dressing is usually carried out in the spring, as part of the preparation of the beaches for the tourist season, and after the action of winter waves that move the shoreline material along the beach and drag it into the depths.
The Beachex project is being implemented in the period from 2019 to 2023 and in that period it is planned to collect data on the current state of supplementation in Croatia, conduct extensive field research on Ploče beach in Rijeka and numerical analysis of beach morphodynamic behavior and investigate the impact of climate change on natural and artificial beaches.
So far, the Beachex project has collected supplementary feeding data for 89 coastal municipalities and cities (out of a total of 130) and 1,400 beaches, respectively.
The first phase of measurements on the beach Ploče (Kantrida, Rijeka) was completed in March 2020, and in April 2021 the second phase ends.
Through the LiveCamCroatia beach video monitoring system within the Beachex scientific project, the analysis of video material provides quantitative information on the rise of waves on the beach during storms and changes in the shoreline by comparison before and after each storm, as well as qualitative information on the current image by the whole beach during a particular storm situation.
Source: Faculty of Civil Engineering, University of Zagreb