Mamaia is the biggest seaside tourism resort in Romania which has one of the most attractive touristic beaches from the southern part of the Romanian Black Sea Coast. It is located close to Constanta city on a narrow sand bar of about 250-350 m width and 8.5 km beach length between Siutghiol Lake (in the west) and the Black Sea (in the east).
Coastal erosion is a particular problem at Mamaia, due to the Midia harbour extension dikes which act as a barrier to longshore currents running from north to south. Unfortunately, erosion is an accelerating process in this area and represents a high risk for the beach environment and related human activities (tourism). The morphological evolution of the beach is influenced also by the diminution of the alluvial sediments discharged by the Danube into the Black Sea and by the extension of Sulina jetties and development of Constanta - South Agigea Port as well which have modified the natural currents and wave regime. The new configuration of the Romanian coast, together with a lessening of sediment loads, contributed to the disturbance of nearshore sedimentary processes and has resulted in an increasing erosion in the southern part of the coast , particularly on Mamaia beach.
Severe storms in 1981, 1986 and 1988 have aggravated the erosion process, particularly in the southern part of Mamaia beach. Significant damage has occurred to beach developments and some hotels have been endangered. Coastal defences were built starting with 1989, consisting of 6 breakwaters (to a depth of 5 m) running from the south to the centre of Mamaia beach. In addition, artificial nourishment was undertaken with sand taken from Siutghiol Lake and placed on 1.5 km of beach behind the breakwaters. Although shoreline retreat was stopped directly in front of the breakwaters, erosion rates nevertheless increased immediately northward of the protected beach area.
The aim of this study is to present the description of the Mamaia Beach, the eroding site and the solution adopted to protect beaches against erosion as well as the effects and lessons learned.