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What is ShoreZone? Part 1 Overview & Description. Prepared for: The Nature Conservancy, Alaska Field Office Prepared by: Mary Morris, Archipelago Marine Research Ltd. & John Harper, Coastal & Ocean Resources Inc. June, 2010. Acknowledgements. Thank you!

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What is ShoreZone? Part 1 Overview & Description

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What is ShoreZone? Part 1 Overview & Description

  • Prepared for:

  • The Nature Conservancy, Alaska Field Office

  • Prepared by:

  • Mary Morris, Archipelago Marine Research Ltd.

  • & John Harper, Coastal & Ocean Resources Inc.

  • June, 2010


Thank you!

Alaska Department of Fish & Game


The Nature Conservancy

for providing the funding for this project

Part 1. Outline

  • Introduction to ShoreZone

  • Overview of ShoreZone methodology

  • Examples of observed and derived attributes

  • Example of mapped data

Key Contacts for Team ShoreZone

  • NOAA

    • Cindy Hartmann Moore (NOAA Fisheries, Juneau)

    • Mandy Lindeberg (NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center, at Lena Point, Juneau)

    • Steve Lewis (NOAA Fisheries, Juneau) & lead for the NOAA ShoreZone website and database distribution

  • The Nature Conservancy

    • Laura Baker (Juneau)

  • Alaska Department of Natural Resources

    • David Gann (Juneau)

  • Cook Inlet Citizens Advisory Council

    • Susan Saupe (Anchorage/Kenai)

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Alaska Department of Natural Resources

Alaska Ocean Observatory System

Alyeska Pipeline Service Company

Archipelago Marine Research Ltd.

Coastal and Ocean Resources Inc.

Coastwise Services

Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council

Kachemak Bay National Research Reserve

Minerals Management Services, Coastal Impact Assistance Program

National Park Service

NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Region and Alaska Fisheries Science Center

North Pacific Research Board

Prince William Sound Regional Citizens Advisory Council

Prince William Sound Science Center

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Ocean Fund

The Skaggs Foundation

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Sitka Tribe of Alaska

Southeast Alaska Petroleum Resources Organization

The Nature Conservancy

US Coast Guard

USDA Forest Service

US Fish and Wildlife Service

University of Alaska Fairbanks

University of Alaska Southeast

ShoreZone Alaska Partners

A Partnership that Works !

The ShoreZone Alaska team was the recipient of the

2009 Coastal America Spirit Award

The national award is for “action-oriented, results-driven collaboration process dedicated to restoring and preserving coastal ecosystems and addressing critical environmental issues.”

What is ShoreZone?

ShoreZone is a coastal habitat mapping system that characterizes physical and biological resources of the shoreline.

ShoreZone features:

  • georeferencedimagery

  • georeferenced data

  • searchable database

What is ShoreZone?

Standardized Coastal Mapping System

wave exposure


sediment texture

intertidal/subtidal biota

supratidal biota

man-made features

Where is ShoreZone?

ShoreZone includes:

  • all ~ 5,000 km Washington

  • all ~ 40,000 km British Columbia

  • ~ 45,000 km Alaska (in progress; 59%)

    Almost 100,000 km of contiguous coastline has been mapped – from the Columbia River mouth to Bristol Bay, Alaska.

ShoreZone Method:Coastal Imagery

  • Mapping is based on video and still imagery:

  • - low-altitude flights of < 200m

  • zero tides or lower

  • oblique camera view- spatially-referenced

Imagery is part of the dataset

How is ShoreZone mapped?

from imagery to maps with database

Recorded trackline provides reference position to videography and photos

Barrier Islands, south Prince of WalesIsland

ShoreZone Method: Digital Shoreline

Trackline and imagery are used to segment digital shoreline into along-shore units:

GPS flight trackline recorded at1-second intervals:





Upper Beachface

Cobble-pebble over sand

Beach Berm

Pebble over sand

Lower Beachface

Boulder-cobble-pebble over sand

Low-tide Terrace


dune grass



soft browns

Attributes for the whole unit

Attributes within across-shore of the unit

ShoreZone:A Rigorous Geospatial Database

Biobands in ShoreZone

A bioband is species assemblage with a characteristic colour and across-shore elevation.

Splash zone lichen (VER)

Barnacle (BAR)

Blue mussel (BMU)

Dark brown kelps (CHB)

Islet, Kenai Fjords National Park


Black lichen

on boulders

Blue Mussels on boulders


Green algae


Red Algae


…across-shore zonation

Northwest Prince of Wales Island

Biological Wave Exposure

  • derived from the combination of biobands present in the unit.

HIGH energy

Very exposed





Very Protected

LOW energy

Souhwest of Sitka


A characteristic assemblage of biobands and associated indicator species define each wave exposure category

Sitka, AK area


Sitka, AK area

What biobands are recorded in ShoreZone?

  • salt marsh

  • intertidal algae

  • mussels

  • understory kelps

  • eelgrass

  • canopy kelps

    and more . . . .

2,532 km or 45%

Distribution of Eelgrass in Prince William Sound

Perry Island



Perry Island




South Bay, Perry Island, Prince William Sound

Derived Attributes in ShoreZone

  • biological wave exposure

  • coastal class

  • habitat class

  • oil residence index


Haida Gwaii

Oil Residence Index

derived from: the interaction of substrate permeability


wave energy


ORI = days to WEEKS

Sitka, AK area


ORI = MONTHS to Years

Sitka, AK area

Habitat Suitability

Development Siting

Essential Fish Habitat

Planning and Response

ShoreZone Applications:A Spatial Framework for Coastal Habitat Management

Summary of ShoreZone Overview

  • based on low-tide imagery

  • a digital, georeferenced, searchable dataset of geomorphic and biological attributes.

  • imagery is web-posted, along with summary data tables and maps

Key Contacts

  • ShoreZone NOAA website at:

  • www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/habitat/shorezone/szintro.htm

  • the NOAA ShoreZone website & database distribution:

    • Steve Lewis (NOAA Fisheries, Juneau)

    • steve.lewis@noaa.gov (907) 586-7858

      • contact at The Nature Conservancy:

    • Laura Baker (TNC Juneau field office)

    • lbaker@tnc.org(907) 586-8623

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