Understanding lateral shoreline change is a critical indicator of shoreline resilience, also providing data input for sea level rise models, and helping to prioritize appropriate restoration adaptation strategies. Given the large continuing investment in San Francisco Bay wetlands restoration, this information is critical to informing regional planning, preservation and prioritization of habitat restoration in light of sea level rise and changing sediment availability. Without this basic understanding of shoreline dynamics, the region is likely to extend valuable resources in unsustainable places.

Using a systematic, empirical, and repeatable approach, we mapped the location of the shorelines in San Pablo Bay at three points in time: 1855, 1993, and 2010. We then measured rates of change over the long (1855-1993) and short-term (1993-2010) to identify zones of erosion, progradation, and areas that have remained stable.

The purpose of this report is to increase our understanding of the rate, distribution, and mechanisms of marsh edge shoreline erosion and describe current understanding of changes of the mudflat-marsh transition, describe several types of shoreline edges, and provide recommendations for next steps in tracking shoreline change. The results of this pilot study provide a new level of understanding about the dynamics of our shorelines and the ways they are likely to respond to local actions.

Programs and Focus Areas: 
Environmental Informatics Program
Geographic Information Systems
Resilient Landscapes Program
Historical Ecology
Wetland Science
Location Information