GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 132-2
Presentation Time: 2:00 PM


PSUTY, Norbert P.1, SCHMELZ, William J.1, SILVEIRA, Tanya M.2, SPAHN, Andrea1, AMES, Katherine1, SKIDDS, Dennis3 and GREENBERG, Joshua1, (1)New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, Rutgers University, 74 Magruder Road, Highlands, NJ 07732, (2)Centro de Geologia, Universidade de Lisboa, Ed. C6, 2ยบ Piso, Sala 6.2.79, Campo Grande, 1749-016, Portugal, (3)National Park Service, URI Dept of Natural Resources Science, 1 Greenhouse Road, Kingston, RI 02881,

The ongoing evolution of the coastal zone under the influence of sea-level rise, decreasing sediment supply, and human manipulation has led several Federal agencies to embark on a program of coastal monitoring to track vectors of change within their coastal holdings. Starting two decades ago, the Northeast Region of the National Park Service began to identify critical variables (Vital Signs) to monitor within their coastal parks. Coastal geomorphology was considered a high-priority field of inquiry and a program to create a consistent and applicable methodology for monitoring change was initiated in 2007. In concert with this objective, we have produced and the NPS has adopted three Protocols on the measurement of geomorphological change in coastal parks.

The three protocols describe methodologies utilizing GPS survey technology to track changes in: 1) shoreline position [1D]; 2) position and cross-sectional area of beach-dune profiles [2D]; and 3) volumetric dimensions and displacements of coastal landforms [3D]. In addition to a comprehensive methodology for the collection of data, standardized procedures are established for the timing of the collections, implementation of QA/QC measures, processing and archival of the data, and reporting of results. The systematically applied procedures are the basis for consistency and comparability. The 1D, 2D, and 3D datasets and reports are critically reviewed to maintain quality and are added to a regional geodatabase that is publically available through the NCBN (

The application of consistent monitoring procedures provides comparable data sets both within the same coastal site through time, and an opportunity to compare sites throughout the northeastern portion of the US. A step towards realizing this potential was the expansion of the program to include 11 Refuges in the northeastern Section of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Jacques Cousteau Estuarine Research Reserve. The incorporation of additional sites to the network is a substantial step towards producing a publically available set of highly accurate, consistent measurements of regional coastal change that can foster a better understanding of coastal geomorphology on both the local and regional scales.