Relative Coastal Change-Potential Assessment of Kenai Fjords National Park

Open-File Report 2004-1373
Prepared in cooperation with the National Park Service
By: , and 



A change-potential index (CPI) was used to map the relative coastal change-potential of the shoreline to future sea-level changes within Kenai Fjords National Park (KEFJ) in south-central Alaska. The CPI ranks the following parameters in terms of their physical contribution to coastal change: geomorphology, regional coastal slope, rate of relative sea-level change, historical shoreline change rates, mean tidal range, and mean significant wave height. The rankings for each input variable were combined, and an index value was calculated for 1-minute grid cells covering the park. The CPI highlights those regions where the physical effects of sea-level and coastal changes might be the greatest. This multi-parametric approach combines the coastal system's potential for change with its natural ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions, yielding a quantitative, although relative, measure of the park's natural susceptibility to the effects of sea-level variation. The CPI provides an objective technique for evaluation and long-term planning by scientists and park managers. The CPI was developed from a Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI) typically applied to coastlines undergoing long-term sea-level rise. The CPI is modified from the CVI and applied to the emergent coast of Kenai Fjords National Park to understand the limits of applying this type of assessment method in a variety of sea-level settings. Kenai Fjords National Park consists of sand and gravel beaches, rock cliffs, calving tidewater glaciers, mudflats, and alluvial fans. The areas within Kenai Fjords National Park that are likely to be most susceptible to coastal change as a result of sea-level change are tidewater glaciers and outer coast shorelines of unconsolidated sediment where shoreline erosion potential is high and wave energy is high.

Suggested Citation

Pendleton, E.A., Thieler, E.R. and Williams, S.J., 2006, Relative Coastal Change-Potential Assessment of Kenai Fjords National Park: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2004-1373, Web Only. Available online at

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Background of CPI
  • Data Ranking System
  • The Kenai Fjords National Park
  • Methodology
  • Geologic Variables
  • Physical Process Variables
  • Calculating the Change-Potential Index
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Figures
  • Tables
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Relative coastal change-potential assessment of Kenai Fjords National Park
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2004-1373
DOI 10.3133/ofr20041373
Year Published 2006
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Woods Hole Science Center
Description 30 p.
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Kenai Fjords National Park
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details