Engineering Disciplines



Malibu Coastline Reconnaissance, Los Angeles County, CA.

NCI performed a reconnaissance-level assessment of coastal storm damage potential for the urbanized Los Angeles County shoreline. Work included the analysis of baseline and return frequency coastal parameters, prediction of future beach erosion and wave-related property damage, formulation of alternative plans to mitigate structure and infrastructure losses, and design and cost estimates. A computer model SBEACH was applied to determine the vertical scour as well as the horizontal erosion on beaches during various storm like events. Storm damage scenarios to the public and private coastal structures were characterized, and alternative measures and cost estimates to mitigate the storm damages were formulated.

BEACON Beach Nourishment Demonstration Project, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, CA.

NCI prepared the oceanography section of the EIR document to assess impacts associated with construction of a nearshore sand berm. Baseline condition descriptions included discussion of the dominant littoral cell, tides, currents, wave climate, and littoral processes. Criteria were established to evaluate impacts to offshore borrow site areas; nearshore wave conditions due to nearshore sand berms; littoral transport effects; and potential beach changes. Impact assessment also included analysis of conventional and hopper dredge sand delivery, diffusion of the proposed artificial fills, and consideration of alternative beach nourishment techniques.


El Segundo Marine Terminal, El Segundo, CA.

NCI performed a detailed study to assess the effects of a groin and beach fill improvement on recreational surfing. The study was conducted in accordance with requirements set forth by the California Coastal Commission permit conditions. The local and regional physical oceanography was analyzed to describe the time history of wave climate, surf break, and shoreline conditions that occurred within the affected area. Surf quality parameters were identified and evaluated to provide a more quantitative means of assessing the potential for impacts to quality surf conditions. Impact discussion focused on the effects due to natural littoral process, climatic variability, and project influences.

Siltation Investigation at Federal Maritime Administration Anchorage No. 26, Suisun Bay, CA.

NCI performed estuarine hydrology, hydraulics and sedimentation analyses to investigate the causes of shoaling and to provide potential long-term engineering solutions for reducing siltation at the docking facilities. Services included the field monitoring of currents, water quality and suspended sediments, along with a bathymetric survey. Alternative mitigation solutions and cost estimates were developed.


Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant, Seabrook, NH.

In performing the hydrologic engineering section of the PSAR and FSAR Safety Reports for the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant, Noble Consultants analyzed the probable maximum coastal and riverine flood events and their effects on the plant site. Noble then developed engineering designs, plans and specifications for required plant site flood barriers.

Bolsa Chica EIR, Huntington Beach, CA.

NCI assisted in the draft EIR review for the purpose of identifying technical completeness with respect to coastal and water quality related issues. The evaluation included review of impacts associated with construction of a new tidal inlet, dredging of back bay wetlands, and re-routing of urban flood control channels. Assistance was rendered so that constructive comments to the EIR document could be submitted to clarify ambiguities, questionable assumptions, or incomplete information.



Ventura Harbor Bypass Feasibility Study, Ventura Harbor, CA

NCI has been contracted through the Ventura Port District to prepare the coastal engineering appendix for the Ventura Harbor Sand Bypass System and Regional Beneficial Reuse Feasibility Study for Ventura Harbor, California. The purpose of the study is to design an efficient and economically viable fixed artificial sand bypass system and to determine the feasibility of beneficially reusing the bypassed sediment for beach nourishment and storm damage protection on a regional level.

The design work associated with the fixed artificial sand bypass system consisted of the review of historic dredge and disposal data, bathymetric survey data, disposal site characteristics, and geotechnical information to develop bypass system alternatives that included operation, maintenance, repair and replacement analysis, as well as a detailed design of the recommended plan alternative.

The regional beneficial reuse component of the study was initiated to determine the feasibility of providing additional benefits to the shoreline extending from Carpinteria in Santa Barbara County to Point Mugu in Ventura County. The work associated with this task consisted of gathering and estimating fluvial delivery from the Ventura and Santa Clara Rivers, and surmising the sediment budget through existing reports and beach profile analysis. NCI also performed Monte Carlo type numerical model simulations to rectify the shoreline changes that would occur under the influence of various Santa Clara River discharges, backpass volume deductions, and wave-induced sediment transport rates. Problem areas were identified and a range of small import fill scenarios consistent with logistical limitations of delivery and practical benefit were developed. The reuse alternatives then formed the basis of a regional sand management plan designed to define parameters and establish logistics to distribute bypassed material to areas requiring sand replenishment. As part of the sand management plan, a monitoring program allowing real time analysis of sand deficit versus surplus areas was recommended for implementation.


Ventura/Santa Barbara Reconnaissance Study, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, CA.

NCI performed a reconnaissance-level assessment of potential storm damage reduction along the 150-mile shoreline within Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. Under the furture-without-porject conditions, erosion prone coastal reaches as well as potential coastal flooding and storm damage shoreline segments were identified. Subsequently, various alternatives including beach fill, beach fill with sand retention structure, seawalls, revetments and offshore breakwater were evaluated under the with-project conditions. Preliminary environmental impact assessments as well as engineering evaluation for each proposed alternative were performed. It was concluded that plans had been found justified for reducing storm-induced damages in the City of Carpinteria. The alternative plans may also be justified for several communities in the future.

Final Expedited Reconnaissance Study Lower Santa Ana River Watershed, Orange County, CA.

NCI assessed potential alternatives to obtain an understanding of the coastal processes and the water circulation patterns in the coastal zone of the study area from the San Gabriel River to the west jetty of Newport Harbor for this expedited reconnaissance study. Our work and services included preparation of a 905 (b) Analysis Report and a draft Project Management Plan. The basis for the evaluation was based on the Corps of Engineer's regulations and engineer manuals. The primary tasks formulated in the PMP report include review of existing field data to determine the scope of additional field level investigations. This information will be incorporated into a water circulation numerical simulation model providing detailed knowledge of the spreading of pollutants in the coastal and oceanic waters. Areas of interest include the regions of the coastline adjacent to and seaward of the Santa Ana River and the Talbert Channel. The results of this task will provide the basis for the Phase 1 development of a comprehensive water quality management plan for Orange County.


Newport Coast Planned Community, Newport Coast, CA.

NCI's service consisted of a third party independent review of the hydrologic, sediment yield, and coastal processes issues, technical documents, results, and conclusions that were prepared by numerous consultants working for the Irvine Company (TIC) pertaining to their planned development of Newport Coast Phase IV-3 and IV-4 that were under Coastal Commission Appeal. Phase IV-3 and IV-4 consist of 1,062 acres extending from the inland side of Pacific Coast Highway fronted by Crystal Cove State Park to the ridge of the San Joaquin Hills Corridor, and falls within the Muddy Canyon/Los Trancos watersheds. The project consists of 635 residential homes, 32 acres of recreational development, 298 acres of dedicated open space lands, and the construction of commercial development and backbone infrastructure.

Our scope of services included the following tasks: 1) independent examination of the appropriateness of the modeling to the project site; 2) independent examination of hydrologic assumptions, input, modeling results and conclusions; 3) independent examination of assumptions, input and results of sediment yields, grain size and littoral area; 4) site visit with Commission staff and TIC personnel to facilitate review of hydrologic and hydraulic material; 5) independent assessment of the major causes of bank channel formation and the management program; 6) independent assessment of compliance with agreed-upon standards; recommendations for ways to improve or modify the project, either to reach compliance or reach compliance in the least environmentally damaging manner; and 7) attendance at Commission staff meetings and Commission hearings.

Hydrologic & Hydraulic Feasibility Study, Phase II, Bel Marin Keys, CA.

NCI is currently under contract with the Corps of Engineers (San Francisco District) to perform on-call design services for navigation and water resources projects. The Phase II study for the Bel Marin Keys V Wetland Restoration project is part of the overall Hamilton Wetlands Restoration and the work order is to perform an assessment of hydraulics, hydrodynamics, and sediment movement in Novato Creek located in San Francisco Bay. The tasks include bathymetric survey in Novato Creek, deployment and retrieval of tide gages and current meters, and hydraulic & hydrodynamic numerical simulations. The hydraulic simulations are to assess the potential impacts to water levels at various reaches of the creek under 19 different scenarios of flood and project improvement conditions. The tidal-induced estuarine hydrodynamic modeling is to characterize water level and currents throughout the Lower Novato Creek so as to address any potential shoaling and scouring impacts resulting from the proposed Bel Marin Keys V wetland restoration.


BEACON Coastal Regional Sediment Management Plan, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, CA.

Regional Sediment Management (RSM) is a planning approach that seeks to address coastal sediment processes on a broader geographic scale. It recognizes that sand, cobble, and fine sediment are important natural resources that are critical to the environmental health and economic vitality of the coastal zone. The relevant sediment processes overlap multiple geopolitical boundaries which explains why a regional planning perspective is needed.

California has been actively engaged in finding ways and means to resolve coastal erosion and sediment management issues on a broader scale. The State Resources Agency and its member Departments have joined together with the US Army Corps of Engineers and other advisory groups to form the Coastal Sediment Management Workgroup (CSMW). The CSMW intends to fulfill regional sediment management objectives by developing a series of regional Plans that are geographically specific to and target the distinct shoreline segments of the California coast.

The coastal regional sediment management plan (CRSMP) that was developed for the 144-mile long Santa Barbara Littoral Cell required consideration of a diverse coast that varies in shoreline orientation, physical characteristics, land use, and population density.  The Plan’s goals and objectives included development of a comprehensive road map to addresses how to conserve and restore the valuable sediment resources, reduce shoreline erosion and coastal storm damages, protect sensitive environmental resources, increase natural sediment supply to the coast, preserve and enhance beaches, improve water quality along the shoreline, and optimize the beneficial use of material dredged from ports, harbors, and other opportunistic sediment sources. 

The Plan was developed systematically using traditional planning processes to understand the baseline science and relevant physical processes; identify the challenges that currently exist and the corresponding opportunities that can be seized to positively move forward; and formulate appropriate action plans and solutions that have unanimity of purpose. The adopted Plan consists of a suite of equally diverse study, management, policy and capital project activities as summarized in Figure 1.


El Segundo Generating Station Beach Monitoring, El Segundo, CA. 

Noble Consultants Inc. (NCI) developed and implemented a beach monitoring program for the El Segundo Power Redevelopment Project at the El Segundo Power Generation Station in El Segundo, California to assess shoreline change influences as a result of infrastructure improvements to the facility.  The modernization program improved visual aesthetics of the plant site and replace two antiquated generation units with new, state-of-the-art, combined cycle power plants.  Reclaimed water will be used for in-plant processes and cooling, eliminating the need for intake of ocean water.

The monitoring program consisted of; a detailed baseline survey along with historical air photo review; sand sampling and testing; beach profile surveys; annual photo-monitoring; and documentation of shoreline responses following major storms.  The period of the monitoring was 10 years, with annual reports submitted to NRG West and the California Energy Commission.

(Before Project Conditions and After Project Artist's Rendition)


FEMA Coastal Flood Hazard Analysis and Mapping for Pacific Coast of The United States.

Noble Consultants was one of the consultants who evaluated existing FEMA procedures for delineating coastal flood hazard areas and performed required tasks to produce new guidelines and specifications of coastal hazard analysis and mapping for the Pacific Coast.  Specifically, NCI was responsible for assessing the Event Based Erosion (EBE) for a variety of coastal settings that includes sandy beaches, coastal bluffs and cliffs, gravel, cobble and single beaches, and beach dunes.  Semi-empirical models and geometric methods were evaluated for applicability to different shoreline segments that are respectively located in California, Oregon and Washington.  A Case study was performed to validate two proposed geometric methods.   Storm-induced short term erosion was estimated by applying the two geometric methods to available pre-storm beach profiles in California and Oregon.  Good agreement with the surveyed post-storm profiles was obtained, which implied the applicability of these two geometric methods.  NCI jointly prepared various sections of a summary report as well as guidelines for assessing coastal hazard and mapping for the Pacific Coast of the Unite States.  The new guidelines and specifications were subsequently recommended for the Pacific Coast region.


Golden Gate Fields Pier & Shoreline Improvements, Albany, CA.

NCI performed coastal engineering analyses to develop a suite of waterfront improvement concepts at Golden Gate Fields in Albany, CA.  This project was part of a larger mixed use development proposed for the site.  The waterfront improvement concepts included the restoration of a dilapidated pier to increase bay access and to expand the existing beach by extending it into the paved parking to the south.  

Our work consisted of a site reconnaissance that included surveying cross sections at the historic pier location and along the existing beach; analyzing historic wind data to determine predominant storm wind directions; and analyzing expected stable beach profiles.

Concept components that were evaluated included a pile supported pier, a rubble mound groin to provide beach stability, beach nourishment, and a buried revetment to provide ultimate shoreline protection if storm induced erosion threatened improvements.



Las Gallinas Creek H&H Coastal Analysis, Marin County, California

NCI performed and analysis to develop the riverine and coastal floodplain maps for the without project existing (year 0) condition and the without project future (year 50) condition.  The performance of the flood control project was also evaluated using the risk and uncertainty method. 

The tasks performed for the H&H analysis included: collecting and reviewing the hydrological and hydraulic data, tidal stages, and topographic/bathymetric data; developing a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) by merging the channel cross section survey and the levee profile survey into the County's DEM; developing a HEC-RAS model for the South Fork of Las Gallinas Creek and adjacent floodplains, with the geometric data being derived using HEC-GeoRAS; conducting riverine hydraulic modeling and floodplain delineation using the HEC-RAS and HEC-GeoRAS models, and developing riverine floodplain maps for eight flood events for both the year 0 and the year 50 conditions; estimating uncertainties in water surface elevations considering the uncertainties in HEC-RAS model parameters; computing the conditional non-exceedance probabilities for the 100-year flood event; and evaluating the project performance based on the freeboard requirements for the 90% or 95% probability of non-exceedance.    

The tasks performed for the coastal analysis included: conducting tidal statistic analysis, and deriving tidal frequency curve for the project site; estimating sea level rise based on the historic trend and on the USACE guidance (EC 1165-2-211), and developing the resulting tidal frequency curve in year 50; conducting wave hindcasting and determining return wave conditions in San Pablo Bay; determining wave conditions at the project site by transforming waves from the Bay to the site and by including the local wind waves generated within the marshland; computing wave runup, wave overtopping rate and cumulative water volume for eight coastal storm events considering the difference in levee characteristics; and determining the coastal inundation water levels, and developing the coastal inundation floodplain maps for eight coastal storm events for both the year 0 and the year 50 conditions.


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