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St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center

St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center > Alabama Barrier Island Restoration Study > Research > Shoreline Change Analysis

Alabama Barrier Island Restoration Study

Research - Shoreline Change Analysis

An updated analysis of historical (decadal resolution since 1940s) and recent (annual to semi-annual scale since 1998) gulf and estuarine facing shoreline positions is being conducted to provide the basis for assessing short-term and long-term shoreline change along the coast of Dauphin Island, Alabama. The analysis includes the use of shorelines derived from both airborne lidar and historical aerial photography and will identify trends in shoreline erosion/accretion of both sides of the island as well as island width. These data and analysis are intended to aid in establishing island-scale sediment budgets and validate numerical models of morphologic change.

In addition to these observations of horizontal shoreline position, back-barrier marsh cores are collected to understand vertical accretion/erosion of marsh environments. Vegetation (e.g., marsh grasses) help trap sediment transported across the barrier island from the ocean side to the estuarine side during storm overwash and inundation. The combination of these data will help identity how the island is migrating through time, how the two sides of the island interact with each other, and whether the marsh areas are eroding or accreting as the island migrates.

Lidar-derived shorelines (red lines) for the period 1998-2013.
Lidar-derived shorelines (red lines) for the period 1998-2013.

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