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Center for Spatial Information and Research

Application of a Coastal Landform Classification GIS Database to Washington State Parks

A process-based coastal landform classification GIS database using existing data sources was developed for Washington’s Puget Sound shoreline. A geo-database was used to compile a wide variety of data sources for analysis, including historical and current aerial photographs (oblique and vertical) as well as information on topography, hydrology, slope stability, drift cells, coastal dynamics, and other relevant shore zone information such as sediment type and abundance. The classification breaks the shoreline into a nested hierarchy of segments that relate to the physical processes important in determining geomorphology and shape. The resulting classification distinguish between the beachforms and upland forms, including further distinctions such as anthropogenic modifications and whether they are depositional, stable or erosional These smaller features are further nested into beachform and upland form groups, which identify larger process-based geomorphic systems. The classification is a critical basis for understanding how different shoreline types are formed and how susceptible they are to change and various impacts. A case study application of the classification to Washington State Park shorelines demonstrates its utility as a planning tool for assessing the links between geomorphic processes and land forms and the ecological functions related to the wide diversity of marine shorelines found in the Puget Sound.

Related Publications:

Gabriel, A., C. Donoghue, A. Perkins, J. Rhoades, and M. Blackburn. 2007. Application of a coastal landform classification GIS database to Washington State parks in the Puget Sound. Presented at the 2007 Georgia Basin Puget Sound Research Conference, Westin Bayshore, Vancouver, B.C., March 26–29, 2007.

Gabriel, A., C. Donoghue, A. Perkins, J. Rhoades, and M. Blackburn. 2007. Application of a coastal landform classification GIS database to Washington State parks in the Puget Sound. Presented at the 2007 Joint Annual Meeting of the Society for Northwestern Vertebrate Biology in conjunction with Northwest Scientific Association and Northwest Lichenologists, Victoria, B.C., Feb. 21-24, 2007.