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Long shot of the shorline Long shot of the shore

Returning a beach to the community

Fifty miles (80km) long and situated at the edge of the Cascade Mountains, Lake Chelan is fed by meltwater from glaciers. The resort community of Chelan, with about 4,000 residents, is located at the southern end of the lake, where it flows into the Chelan River.

The project has halted beach erosion, provided additional protection for the marina, and upgraded the recreational beach.


Silver Award for Excellence, American Council of Engineering Companies Washington

Silver Award for Excellence, American Council of Engineering Companies Washington - See more at: http://www.hatchmott.com/projects/don-morse-park-shoreline-restoration#sthash.FCOnTuf6.dpuf


One of many public parks in the area, Don Morse Memorial Park has 2,000 feet (609m) of waterfront on the lake. Its 40 acres (16ha) offer an 18-hole putting course, a skate park, playground and barbecue areas, picnic shelters, and courts for tennis, volleyball, and basketball.

Over time, the park’s beach was diminished by erosion. Longshore sand transport caused sand to be deposited at the city marina.


The City of Chelan retained Mott MacDonald to address the problem. We were responsible for soft shore stabilization, design of beach groins, wave protection for the marina, and restoration of the recreational beach.

To restore the beach and shoreline, we coordinated with the client regarding design life, design storms, beach configuration, maintenance cycles, size criteria for beach surface material, and preferences for beach retention structures and other infrastructure. Modeling was used to calculate loss rates for beach sand for each alternative.

To protect and optimize the marina, we identified an optimal entrance configuration by modeling wave interactions with the marina’s breakwater and entrance. We simulated wave heights inside the marine at the entrance for alternative layouts.

We finalized beach design drawings through the 60%, 90%, and 100% levels, prepared the cost estimate, and specified the type and placement of beach materials. We answered technical questions, reviewed submittals, attended on-site meetings, inspected construction, developed a punch list, and participated in a final review meeting.


The project has halted beach erosion, provided protection for the marina, and upgraded the recreational beach, replacing a retaining wall with a sloping pebble beach.

The beach is safer and more convenient for swimming, boating, and other activities, and the number of visitors has increased.

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