Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



The City of Virginia Beach is situated along both the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay (Figure 1). Through time, the City’s shoreline has evolved, and determining the rates and patterns of shore change provides the basis to know how a particular coast has changed through time and how it might proceed in the future.Along Chesapeake Bay’s estuarine shores, winds, waves, tides and currents shape and modify coastlines by eroding, transporting and depositing sediments.
The purpose of this report is to document how the shore zone of the City of Virginia Beach has evolved since 1937. Aerial imagery was taken for most of the Bay region beginning that year and can be used to assess the geomorphic nature of shore change. Aerial photos show how the coast has changed, how beaches, dunes, bars, and spits have grown or decayed, how barriers have breached, how inlets have changed course, and how one shore type has displaced another or has not changed at all. Shore change is a natural process but, quite often, the impacts of man, through shore hardening or inlet stabilization, come to dominate a given shore reach. In addition to documenting historical shorelines, the change in shore positions along the rivers and larger creeks in the City of Virginia Beach will be quantified in this report. The shore lines of very irregular coasts, small creeks around inlets, and other complicated areas will be shown but not quantified. In addition to the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay shorelines, the Lynnhaven River and Broad Bay shorelines were analyzed for change.Back Bay was not included.



Virginia Beach, Shoreline Management, GIS


This project was funded by the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program at the Department of Environmental Quality through Grant #NA11NOS4190122 of the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, under the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended.