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Center for Spatial Information and Research

Curriculum Development: Using and Interpreting Data for SMP Shoreline Characterizations

Land use alterations and nonpoint source pollution to contributing watersheds is a principal cause of shoreline habitat degradation. In Washington, shoreline use and development is regulated by the state's Coastal Zone Management Program (CZMP) which is implemented primarily through locally adopted plans and regulations. If local planners are equipped with the means to acquire and use scientifically based assessments to assist them in most beneficially locating low impact development preservation, restoration and enhancement activities, these plans can address the cumulative effects of growth.

Crucial to the development of effective local plans that protect shorelines and water quality is an inventory and assessment of critical physical processes, biological features, and land use alterations. However, many local land use planners are overwhelmed by the sheer mass of information available and confounded by the inconsistent formats and spatial scales of the data. In surveys conducted by the Washington Department of Ecology's (Ecology) and the Coastal Training Program (CTP), the highest priority topic was clarification of what data to use in preparing assessments and how to extract and synthesize relevant information for shoreline planning.

The overall goal of this project is to provide guidance on how to prepare effective shoreline assessments for planners updating their local Shoreline Master Programs and Comprehensive Plans.

The curriculum:

  • describes the use and limitations of currently available and relevant data, information and lake assessment methods
  • provides links to necessary data and technical reports
  • explains how to interpret and use existing information effectively
  • offers illustrated case examples of shoreline assessments

Funding Source:

Washington Department of Ecology. Amount: $11,700.
Dates of Project: 11/03-07/04
Students Funded: 2

Finished Reports:

Donoghue, C., T. Gates, and A. Gabriel. 2004. Using and interpreting data for SMP shoreline characterizations. Coastal Training Program Curriculum, July 8 and 15, 2004, Ecology Headquarters, Lacey, WA.

Related Publications:

Gabriel, A. 2005. Challenges and lessons learned from the shoreline inventory, analysis and characterization. Presented at the 2005 Annual Planning Association of Washington Spring Conference: Empowered by Planning, WestCoast Ridpath Hotel, Spokane, Washington, April 28–29, 2005.