Costal Vulnerability Assessment of Cumberland Island National Seashore (CUIS) to Sea-Level Rise

Open-File Report 2004-1196
Prepared in cooperation with the National Park Service
By: , and 



A coastal vulnerability index (CVI) was used to map the relative vulnerability of the coast to future sea-level rise within Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia. 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, historical shoreline change rates, mean tidal range and mean significant wave height. The rankings for each input 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. Cumberland Island National Seashore consists of stable to washover-dominated portions of barrier beach backed by wetland, marsh, mudflat and tidal creek. The areas within Cumberland that are likely to be most vulnerable to sea-level rise are those with the lowest foredune ridge and highest rates of shoreline erosion.

Suggested Citation

Pendleton, E.A., Thieler, E.R., and Williams, S.J., 2004, Coastal vulnerability assessment of Cumberland Island National Seashore (CUIS) to sea-level rise, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2004-1196

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Data Ranking
  • Cumberland Island National Seashore
  • Methodology
  • Geologic Variables
  • Physical Process Variables
  • Calculating the Vulnerabilty Index
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusions
  • References
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Coastal vulnerability assessment of Cumberland Island National Seashore (CUIS) to sea-level rise
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2004-1196
DOI 10.3133/ofr20041196
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 23 p.
Country United States
State Georgia
Other Geospatial Cumberland Island National Seashore
Online Only (Y/N) Y
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