Sandy ocean beaches are a popular recreational destination and are often surrounded by communities that consist of valuable real estate. Development along sandy coastal areas is increasing despite the fact that coastal infrastructure may be repeatedly subjected to flooding and erosion. As a result, the demand for accurate information regarding past and present shoreline changes is increasing. Investigators with the U.S. Geological Survey's National Assessment of Shoreline Change Project have compiled a comprehensive database of digital vector shorelines and rates of shoreline change for the Pacific Northwest coast including the states of Washington and Oregon. No widely accepted standard for analyzing shoreline change currently exists. Current measurement and methods for calculating rates of change vary from study to study, precluding the combination of study results into statewide or regional assessments. The impetus behind the national assessment was to develop a standardized method that is consistent from coast to coast for measuring changes in shoreline position. The goal was to facilitate the process of periodically and systematically updating the measurements in an internally consistent manner. A detailed report on shoreline change for the Pacific Northwest coast that contains a discussion of the data presented here is available and cited in the Geospatial Data section of this report.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
The National assessment of shoreline shange—A GIS compilation of vector shorelines and associated shoreline change data for the Pacific Northwest coast