Coastal Vulnerability Assessment of Point Reyes National Seashore to Sea-Level Rise

Open-File Report 2005-1059
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 Point Reyes National Seashore in Northern California. 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. Point Reyes National Seashore consists of sand and gravel beaches, rock cliffs, sand dune cliffs, and pocket beaches. The areas within Point Reyes that are likely to be most vulnerable to sea-level rise are areas of unconsolidated sediment where the coastal slope is lowest and wave energy is high.

Suggested Citation

Pendleton, E.A., Theiler, E.R., and Williams, S.J., 2005, Coastal vulnerability assessment of Point Reyes National Seashore to sea-level rise, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2005-1059

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Data Ranking
  • The Point Reyes National Seashore
  • Methodology
  • Geologic Variables
  • Physical Process Variables
  • Coastal Vulnerability Index
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Coastal vulnerability assessment of Point Reyes National Seashore to sea-level rise
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2005-1059
DOI 10.3133/ofr20051059
Year Published 2006
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 26 p.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
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