Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM)
The Shoreline Management Model (SMM) is a novel geospatial approach used to assess conditions along a shoreline, and recommend best management practices for defended and undefended shorelines. The SMM models available spatial data in order to identify areas where the use of living shorelines would be suitable to address shoreline erosion. The model was developed to support and inform decision-making by shoreline managers responsible for management of shoreline resources, shorefront property owners, and tidal habitat restoration actions. Recommended erosion control strategies are based on scientific knowledge of how shorelines respond to natural conditions and anthropogenic measures used to stabilize shorelines. The SMM uses input variables representing current conditions and recommends a strategy that falls into one of three general categories: living shorelines, traditional approaches, and special considerations. Areas of special consideration are areas where the model may not be able to provide an appropriate recommendation due to ecological, geological, or highly developed conditions. These areas are given recommendations that include the instruction to seek expert advice. Data required to run the model include presence of tidal marsh, beach, submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), riparian land cover, bank height, nearshore bathymetry, fetch, and shoreline erosion control structures. The model has been calibrated and validated along Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay shoreline, USA. The model results are largely consistent with field recommendations (i.e., shoreline management recommendations made by scientists based on on-site observations during shoreline evaluation visits). The SMM performed with an overall accuracy of 82.5%. The SMM is exportable; the model code can be adapted to other systems. This geospatial model provides a robust screening tool for local and state governments, coastal and environmental planners and engineers, as well as property owners, when considering best management practices, including living shorelines as an alternative for erosion control.
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Nunez, Karinna; Rudnicky, Tamia; Mason, Pamela; Tombleson, Christine; and Berman, Marcia, A geospatial modeling approach to assess site suitability of living shorelines and emphasize best shoreline management practices (2022). Ecological Engineering, 179, 106617.