Coastal Partners’ Tracer Pebbles find fame on Countryfile

Published 20 May 2018

Coastal Partners’ coastal engineers Sacha Neill and Dr. Samantha Cope were interviewed on Hayling Island by presenter Ellie Harrison where they demonstrated how the tracer pebbles help to build an understanding of longshore drift patterns along the Hayling beach frontage.

With the Countryfile production team including presenter Ellie Harrison

Sacha Neill and Dr Samantha Cope, together with the Countryfile production team including presenter Ellie Harrison

Coastal Partners have developed an innovative method of using tagged tracer pebbles to track the movement of sediment along our beaches. By deploying and tracking these pebbles, they are able to collect valuable information on rates, direction and the patterns of littoral drift within an area of interest. This helps them to better understand local coastal processes, which in turn, supports local coastal management decisions, aids coastal defence scheme design and informs local beach maintenance activities, such as recycling and replenishment campaigns.

The use of Tracer Pebbles as a method of measuring longshore sediment transport has been widely used and reported on in the coastal environment. Early methods of tracking beach sediment included using fluorescent material, resin shapes and copper cores and aluminium pebbles. More recently, the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology has been used to accurately and efficiently monitor this movement.

The system comprises three main components; passive induced transponder (PIT) tags which broadcast a unique ID number when detected; an antenna used to scan the beach and a data logger used to store the ID number and recorded location.

Visit Tracer Pebble Studies for more about the deployment and survey method, and for links to studies carried out across the SCG and SCOPAC region