Shoreline Rates of Change & Shoreline Management: Anne Arundel & Baltimore Counties, Maryland
Since the early 1900s, the Maryland Geological Survey (MGS) has been involved in monitoring, mapping, and quantifying shoreline change along tidal bodies of water in the State – namely, the Chesapeake Bay and its major tributaries, the Atlantic Ocean, and the coastal bays separating the Atlantic coast barrier islands from the mainland.
During the 1990s, MGS, in partnership with Maryland’s Coastal Management Program (CMP) completed the following tasks:
- digitized a series of mapped historical shorelines;
- oversaw the interpretation of a ca. 1990 shoreline from digital orthophotography;
- published a series of more than 100 quadrangle-based Shoreline Changes maps;
- determined shoreline rates of change; and
- classified reaches of the ca. 1990 shoreline according to generalized erosion rates (e.g., no, slight, low, moderate, and high rates of erosion)
With assistance from MGS, Maryland’s CMP subsequently created a website, Maryland’s Coastal Atlas – Shorelines, that displays the results of this work, and collaborated with its Coastal Restoration Specialist and Shoreline Conservation and Management group to incorporate this work into planning, evaluation and decision-making regarding the State’s shorelines.
Historical shoreline files (.dxf, .shp, and .e00 format) and the Shoreline Changes maps (PDF format) are available online via the MGS website here under “Shorelines”: http://www.mgs.md.gov/coastal_geology/past_projects.html
Maryland’s Coastal Atlas website may be accessed here: http://dnr.maryland.gov/ccs/coastalatlas/index.asp
It has been nearly two decades since the last revision and the shoreline change data is beginning to be less useful in shoreline management. Since the last recorded shoreline change rate was calculated (1990), Maryland has experienced several large storms (Isabel, Sandy) that have likely changed the shorelines in a number of coastal counties.
To address this need for updated data, MGS and CMP are currently working on a project to update shoreline change information for two coastal counties in Maryland: Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties.
Building on previous work, MGS will assemble newly digitized historical shorelines, acquire recent (post-2000) shorelines, run the latest version of DSAS (Digital Shoreline Analysis System - http://woodshole.er.usgs.gov/project-pages/DSAS/), and assign generalized erosion rate categories to one of the recent shorelines.
MGS will then work cooperatively with Maryland’s CMP to upload the results of these activities to Maryland’s Coastal Atlas, disseminate and communicate the information to key stakeholders, and incorporate the work into shoreline management. It is anticipated that this project will be completed in early 2015.
This project will hopefully serve as a first step in anticipation of a statewide shoreline change update for the remaining tidewater counties in Maryland.
Funding for this project is provided by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Award No. NA13NOS4190143), administered by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Chesapeake and Coastal Service (Contract # 14-14-1868 CZM 143).