Ohio Coastal Design Manual
Promote better projects along the coast that balance the use of Lake Erie as a shared natural resource along with the property owners’ need for lakefront erosion protection and the benefit of access to the lake.
The ODNR Office of Coastal Management has prepared the print and online versions of the Coastal Design Manual to promote better projects along the Ohio shore of Lake Erie including Maumee Bay and Sandusky Bay.
The manual demonstrates how structures along the shore of Lake Erie are designed and how coastal engineering principles are best applied to achieve a balance between landowners’ needs for erosion control and lake access and the need to protect our lake’s natural resources.
- General vicinity map
- Identification of adjoining and nearby property owners
- History of the site
- Site conditions and existing structures
- The Coastal Erosion Area designation and erosion at the site
- Geology of the upland
- Site drainage
- Characteristics of the shore
- Types of coastal habitat
- Habitat considerations
- Nearshore bathymetry
- Performance of nearby structures
- Site wave climate
- Horizontal and vertical datums
- Existing site conditions and structures
- Determination of the parcel boundaries for the site
- Depicting the littoral partitions between adjoiners for the site
- Survey products for projects the under regulatory authority of ODNR
- Metes and bounds descriptions
- Plat of survey for the submerged lands lease parcel
- Surveyor’s role during project construction
- Post construction survey
- Design water levels
- Design wave height
Run-up and overtopping of structures
- Changes to the littoral system
- Effects on adjacent or nearby properties
- Impact of design on habitat
- Other design considerations in the general arrangement of structures
- Design drawings, design specifications and supporting information
- Suggested standards for engineering and surveying drawings
- Suggested standards for engineering methods and design calculations
- Suggested standards for material specifications
- Suggested standards for supporting information
- 4.1 General Design Guidelines for Erosion Control Structures
- Protection against wave-based erosion
- Protection against upland erosion
- 4.2 Armor Stone Revetment Design
- Armor material
- Armor layer
- Crest elevation
- Filter layer function
- Filter layer design
- 4.3 Seawalls
- General considerations
- Design components
- Wall & cap height
- Run-up & overtopping
- Sliding & overturning
- Overturning safety factor
- Pre-cast concrete block seawall design
- Block seawall structural design
- Steel frame crib design
- 4.4 Construction, Inspection & Maintenance
- Inspection and monitoring
- Maintenance and repair
4.5 Design Examples
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Office of Coastal Management (OCM) prepared this design manual to promote better projects along the Ohio shore of Lake Erie including Maumee Bay and Sandusky Bay. This manual demonstrates how structures along the shore of Lake Erie are designed and how coastal engineering principles are best applied to achieve a balance between landowners’ needs for erosion control and lake access and the need to protect our lake’s natural resources.
The focus of the manual is the types of structures most commonly constructed in Ohio; therefore the guidance only applies to Ohio’s unique coastal environment. The companion to this design manual is the Lake Erie Shore Erosion Management Plan (LESEMP) which addresses how the conditions along Lake Erie vary, and which types of erosion control are best suited for specific locations and conditions along the lake.
The connection is the LESEMP identifies the types of structures or controls that would function best along a section of the shore and this design manual shows how those structures should be designed and constructed.
The purpose of this manual is to illustrate the engineering and surveying processes needed to develop safe, sound and successful erosion control and lake access projects along Ohio’s Lake Erie shore. Engineers, surveyors and contractors should find the manual a valuable resource for planning projects and working with landowners. For the lakefront property owner, this manual can be a means of better understanding the design, surveying and construction processes.
The policies and guidelines included in the Ohio Coastal Management Program Document and the Ohio Revised and Administrative codes pertaining to design of coastal structures, along with the application and guidance on the application process for shore structure permits and submerged lands leases, are all available on the Office Coastal Management website: www.ohiodnr.com/coastal. The importance of meeting these requirements as well as those of all federal, state and local agencies involved in authorizing projects on Lake Erie cannot be overstated.
Why an engineer and surveyor should be part of the design process
Since 1994, plans and specifications submitted to ODNR for Shore Structure Permits must be prepared and sealed by a professional engineer licensed by the state of Ohio (Ohio Revised Code Section 1506.40).
Documents (metes and bounds descriptions and plats) required to enter into a Submerged Lands Lease with the state of Ohio must be prepared and sealed by a professional surveyor licensed by the state of Ohio.
Professional engineers (PE) and professional surveyors (PS) are licensed by the state of Ohio only after demonstrating technical knowledge and actual engineering/surveying experience. The act of signing and sealing a design drawing by an engineer or surveyor is a statement certifying that the work has been prepared with direct supervisory control and according to the best professional standards. It is an assurance to both the property owner and to the agency that receives the drawings that the work has adhered to appropriate design standards, is protective of the public welfare, and safeguards life, health and property.
Many property owners are familiar with building houses and other structures on land, where contractors “pull” permits from the local building authority without the need for sealed plans from a PE. This process is supported by a system of very protective and conservative building codes and inspections that ensure buildings are both well designed and constructed with appropriate setbacks from property boundaries. No similar system of codes and inspections exists for structures built along the shore of Lake Erie.
The design of coastal structures is not always as straight-forward as complying with plumbing or electrical codes. Many sites have complex geology, drainage issues, structural conditions, and/or wave climates that require careful consideration, planning and design. Failure of an erosion control structure, even over a period of years, may result in loss of additional upland, may threaten existing buildings, and can result in damage to adjacent properties. The repair of a failed structure may be as expensive as the original construction.
The planning of a project also requires a field survey. The surveyor is best suited to provide the critical site information needed by the PE for design. This includes existing site contours, the location, dimensions and elevations of structures, and the offshore bathymetry. A surveyor is needed to determine the boundary of the upland parcel and the partition lines for littoral rights extending into the lake. If a submerged lands lease is needed, a PS prepares a metes and bounds description and plat. These products can only be prepared by an Ohio registered PS.
References, resources and other design manuals
In most cases, important references are noted as part of the discussion in a given Chapter. Design equations, charts and tables included in this manual have been drawn from numerous sources and reflect OCM’s understanding of the state of the art of coastal engineering as it applies to structures along Lake Erie.
The “reference of references” for coastal engineering is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) “Coastal Engineering Manual” or CEM (EM 1110-2-1100, published August 2008) and is linked in the table below. The CEM is a valuable synthesis and repository of the understanding of coastal processes, the design and performance of structures and forms the basis of design for USACE’s coastal projects.
- Phase I Revised Report on Great Lakes Open Coast Flood Levels USACE, Detroit, April 1988.
- Design Water Level Determination on the Great Lakes, USACE, Detroit District September 1993.
- ODNR Division of Geological Survey Coastal Erosion Area maps and tabulated datasheets for recession rates.
- USACE “WIS Report 22, Hindcast Wave Information for the Great Lakes: Lake Erie,” October 1991.
- USACE, EM 1110-2-1614 “Design of Coastal Revetments, Seawalls and Bulkheads” June 1995.
- Pennsylvania Coastal Zone Management Program, “Vegetative Best Management Practices – A Manual for Pennsylvania /Lake Erie Bluff Landowners” 2007. (See "Coastal Processees")
- Coastal Engineering Design & Analysis System, ACES (Automated Coastal Engineering System) module. This is a computer-based calculation tool that includes many of the most commonly used equations for performing coastal engineering calculations. Developed by USACE and now marketed through a private vendor.
- On-line maps and aerial photography. Resources such as Google Earth, Bing Map and the GIS products available from most county auditors are useful tools for visualizing existing conditions along the shore and evaluating potential effects of projects.
There are two preceding engineering design manuals that deserve note and are inspirations for this document.
- “Coastal Processes Manual,” University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, WIS-SG-87-430, Second Edition, 1998.
- “Help Yourself” a general information pamphlet by the USACE (1978), now out of print.
For definitions of terminology used in the surveying profession, see the American Congress of Surveying and Mapping’s (ACSM) “Definitions of Surveying and Associated Terms.”
The limited design discussions presented in this manual should in no way suggest that more detailed engineering analysis of a structure’s expected performance is not desired or of great value. In many cases larger or more complex projects, such as those proposed for commercial facilities, by municipalities, or the USACE may require evaluations using computer and/or physical models.
Organization of the Ohio Coastal Design Manual
Chapters 1 and 2 describe the information needed to support the design process including the requirements for site surveying. Chapter 3 presents the elements of coastal engineering design common to nearly all projects. Chapter 4 presents the design processes for typical erosion control structures and includes detailed design examples.
OCM expects future chapters in later editions of the manual to present design processes and examples for groins, detached breakwaters, piers and access structures.
Coastal Design Manual Online: