Coastal Vulnerability Assessment of Assateague Island National Seashore (ASIS) to Sea-Level Rise

Open-File Report 2004-1020
Prepared in cooperation with the National Park Service
By: , and 



A coastal vulnerability index (CVI, was used to map relative vulnerability of the coast to future sea-level rise within Assateague Island National Seashore (ASIS) in Maryland and Virginia. The CVI ranks the following in terms of their physical contribution to sea-level rise-related coastal change: geomorphology, regional coastal slope, rate of relative sea-level rise, shoreline change rates, mean tidal range and mean wave height. Rankings for each variable were combined and an index value calculated for 1-minute grid cells covering the park. The CVI highlights those regions where the physical effects of sea-level rise might be the greatest. This approach combines the coastal system's susceptibility to change with its natural ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions, yielding a quantitative, although relative, measure of the park's natural vulnerability to the effects of sea-level rise. The CVI provides an objective technique for evaluation and long-term planning by scientists and park managers. Assateague Island consists of stable and washover dominated portions of barrier beach backed by wetland and marsh. The areas within Assateague that are likely to be most vulnerable to sea-level rise are those with the highest occurrence of overwash and the highest rates of shoreline change.

Suggested Citation

Pendleton, E.A., Williams, S.J., and Thieler, E.R., 2004, Coastal vulnerability assessment of Assateague Island National Seashore (ASIS) to sea-level rise, U.S. Geological Survey, Open-File Report 2004-1020

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Data Ranking
  • Assateague Island National Seashore
  • Methodology
  • Geologic Variables
  • Physical Process Variables
  • Coastal Vulnerabilty Index
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusions
  • References
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Coastal vulnerability assessment of Assateague Island National Seashore (ASIS) to sea-level rise
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2004-1020
DOI 10.3133/ofr20041020
Year Published 2004
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 20 p.
Country United States
State Maryland, Virginia
Other Geospatial Assateague Island National Seashore
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details