Seafloor mapping investigations conducted on the lower shoreface and inner continental shelf offshore of Fire
Island, New York in 2011 and 2014, the period encompassing the impacts of Hurricanes Irene and Sandy,
provide an unprecedented perspective regarding regional inner continental shelf sediment dynamics during
large storm events. Analyses of these studies demonstrate that storm-induced erosion and sediment transport
occurred throughout the study area in water depths up to 30 m. Acoustic backscatter patterns were observed to
move from ~1 m to 450 m with a mean of 20 m and movement tended to decrease with increasing water depth.
These patterns indicate that both of the primary inner continental shelf sedimentary features in the study area,
linear sorted bedforms offshore of eastern Fire Island and shoreface-attached sand ridges offshore of central and
western Fire island, migrated alongshore to the southwest. The migration of the sorted bedforms represents the
modification of an active ravinement surface and is thought to have liberated a significant volume of sediment.
Comparison of isopach maps of sediment thickness show that the volume of modern sediment composing the
lower shoreface and shoreface-attached sand ridges decreased by ~2.8 × 106 m3 across the ~73 km2 of
common seafloor mapped in both surveys. However, a similar analysis for the relatively calmer 15-yr period
prior to 2011 revealed significant accretion. This allows speculation that the shoreface-attached sand ridges are
maintained over decadal timescales via sediment supplied through erosion of Pleistocene outwash and lower
Holocene transgressive channel-fill deposits exposed on the inner continental shelf, but that the sand ridges also
periodically erode and move to the southwest during large storm events. Analyses show that significant storminduced
erosion and sediment transport occurs far seaward of the 5 to 9 m depth of closure assumed for Fire
Island, where it is thought that an onshore-directed sediment flux from the inner continental shelf to the littoral
system is required to balance the coastal sediment budget. It is also thought that the morphology of the
shoreface-attached sand ridges controls the persistent shape of the adjacent shoreline through modification of
incident waves. Thus, we suggest that the sediment dynamics of the inner continental shelf and both storminduced
and anthropogenic modification of the field of shoreface-attached sand ridges be considered in future
coastal resiliency planning.