The Coastal and Marine Geology Program of the U.S. Geological Survey has generated a comprehensive database of digital vector shorelines and shoreline change rates for the U.S. Southeast Atlantic Coast (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina). These data, which are presented herein, were compiled as part of the U.S. Geological Survey's National Assessment of Shoreline Change Project. Beach erosion is a chronic problem along most open-ocean shores of the United States. As coastal populations continue to grow and community infrastructures are threatened by erosion, there is increased demand for accurate information including rates and trends of shoreline migration. There is also a critical need for shoreline change data that is consistent from one coastal region to another. One purpose of this work is to develop standard repeatable methods for mapping and analyzing shoreline movement so that periodic updates of shorelines and shoreline change rates can be made nationally that are systematic and internally consistent.
This data compilation for open-ocean, sandy shorelines of the U.S. Southeast Atlantic Coast is the second in a series that already includes the Gulf of Mexico, and will eventually include the Pacific Coast, and parts of Hawaii and Alaska. Short- and long-term shoreline change evaluations are based on merging three historical shorelines with a modern shoreline derived from lidar (light detection and ranging) topographic surveys. Historical shorelines generally represent the following time periods: 1800s, 1920s-1930s, and 1970s. The most recent shoreline is derived from data collected over the period of 1997-2002. Long-term rates of change are calculated by linear regression using all four shorelines. Short-term rates of change are simple end-point rate calculations using the two most recent shorelines. Please refer to our full report on shoreline change for the U.S. Southeast Atlantic Coast at http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2005/1401/ to get additional information regarding methods and results.