For the more information about the geologic resources of the National Park Service, please visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/geology/.


Geologic Monitoring

Coastal Resources

Dunes with vegetation at Canaveral National Seashore, Florida
Dunes with vegetation at Canaveral National Seashore, Florida.

What are coastal resources?

The coastal environment is often considered to include anything landward of the shoreface, the water depth at which incoming waves begin to interact with the seafloor. The focus of this section of the geological monitoring website is on the transitional zone between land water. Environments found in this zone may include:


Why does the National Park Service monitor coastal resources?

The coast is a dynamic region, subject to many different types of stressors including those natural and human induced. Monitoring physical aspects of coastal parks provides land managers with data to assist with park planning and resource protection.

  • Monitoring Book
  • Resource Facts
  • Case Studies

Geological Monitoring Book

Vital Signs Monitored

  1. Shoreline change
  2. Coastal dune geomorphology
  3. Coastal vegetation cover
  4. Topography and elevation
  5. Composition of beach material
  6. Coastal wetland position and acreage
  7. Coastal wetland accretion

Chapter 3
Coastal Features and Processes (PDF - 1.58MB)

The coast is one of the most dynamic environments on the planet. It is the meeting place of the hydrosphere, the lithosphere, and the atmosphere. The coastal zone is subject to constant change. This constant change can cause major problems for coastal communities and management of geologic resources.

There is an infinite number of monitoring techniques and equipment available for monitoring the component environments of the coastal system. The following chapter gives a range of methods from low cost and low level of expertise needed, to high cost and high level of expertise needed.

NPS Coastal Resources Facts

The NPS manages 84 ocean and Great Lakes parks across 26 states.

NPS units contain over 11,000 miles of shoreline (ocean and Great Lakes combined)

Map of NPS Ocean & Coastal Parks

Monitoring Coastal Resources in the National Park Service

Case study #1 Shoreline Change Monitoring at Assateague Island National Seashore, MD & WV

Duration:Spring 2005 - Spring 2010
Data collected:Shoreline position, specifically the neap tide high tide swash line
Frequency:Biannually - spring and fall
Results:Maryland portion of the barrier island had an average inland displacement of -6.38 m
More information:Shoreline Change Monitoring at Assateague Island National Seashore, 2005-2010 Trend Report (PDF - 10.5 MB)

Case study #2: Shoreline Change along Fire Island National Seashore, New York

Duration:Spring 2007 - spring 2008
Data collected:Shoreline position, specifically the neap tide high tide swash line
Frequency:Biannually - spring and fall
Results:The NPS Wilderness Area and Lighthouse both have inland displacements.
More information:Shoreline Change along Fire Island National Seashore, Annual Monitoring Report, 2007-2008 (PDF - 4.99 MB)

Related Links

 

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Last Updated: April 16, 2012