Historical Shoreline Changes: A Comparison of Mean High Water and Vegetation Line Movement

by David M. Scaturo, Coastal Science & Engineering, Inc, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Barrier Islands: Process and Management


A cooperative study produced historic mean high water shoreline change maps for the State of South Carolina. These maps have been used to calculate erosion rates for the entire developed shoreline of South Carolina. These rates were compared with vegetation line erosion rates measured from aerial photographs along several islands in the state: Debidue Island, Isle of Palms, Kiawah Island, and others. Results of this study suggest that, with careful selection of historic shorelines for comparison (not all data will be suitable because of the effects of storms and other factors), the two erosion rates are comparable along beaches uninfluenced by tidal inlets. However, the two erosion rates along beaches adjacent to tidal inlets vary widely. The resulting mean high water shoreline changes often bear no resemblance to the movement of the upper beach contours and vegetation line.

Subject Headings: Islands | Shoreline | Comparative studies | Water level | Vegetation | Mapping | Sea water | Tides | South Carolina | United States

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