Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM)
Shoreline evolution is the change in shore position through time. In fact, it is the material resistance of the coastal geologic underpinnings against the impinging hydrodynamic (and aerodynamic) forces. Along the shores of Chesapeake Bay, it is a process-response system. The processes at work include winds, waves, tides and currents, which together shape and modify coastlines by eroding, transporting and depositing sediments. The shore line is commonly plotted and measured to provide a rate of change, but it is as important to understand the geomorphic patterns of change. Shore analysis provides the basis to know how a particular coast has changed through time and how it might proceed in the future. The purpose of this report is to document how the Chesapeake Bay shore of Norfolk (Figure 1) has evolved since 1937. This is the first year that aerial imagery was taken for most of the Bay region, and it is this imagery that allows one to assess the geomorphic nature of shore change. Aerial imagery shows how the nature of 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, beach nourishment or inlet stabilization will come to dominate a given shore reach. Most of the change in shore positions will be quantified in this report. Others, particularly around inlets and very irregular coasts, will be interpreted.
Shoreline Evolution, Norfolk, VA, Chesapeake Bay, Aerial Photography, Human impact, GIS
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
This project was funded by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s Coastal Resources Management Program through Grant #NA17OZ2355 of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, under the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended.
Hardaway, C., Milligan, D. A., Varnell, L. M., Wilcox, C. A., Thomas, G. R., & Comer, T. R. (2005) Shoreline Evolution Chesapeake Bay Shoreline City of Norfolk, VA. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary. https://doi.org/10.21220/V5S028