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Barrier island geomorphology and shorebird habitat metrics: 16 sites on the U.S. Atlantic Coast, 2013-2014

December 20, 2019

Understanding how sea-level rise will affect coastal landforms and the species and habitats they support is critical for crafting approaches that balance the needs of humans and native species. Given this increasing need to forecast sea-level rise effects on barrier islands in the near and long terms, we are developing Bayesian networks to evaluate and to forecast the cascading effects of sea-level rise on shoreline change, barrier island state, and piping plover habitat availability. We use publicly available data products, such as lidar, orthophotography, and geomorphic feature sets derived from those, to extract metrics of barrier island characteristics at consistent sampling distances. The metrics are then incorporated into predictive models and the training data used to parameterize those models. This data release contains the extracted metrics of barrier island geomorphology and spatial data layers of habitat characteristics that are input to Bayesian networks for piping plover habitat availability and barrier island geomorphology. These datasets and models are being developed for sites along the northeastern coast of the United States. This work is one component of a larger research and management program that seeks to understand and sustain the ecological value, ecosystem services, and habitat suitability of beaches in the face of storm impacts, climate change, and sea-level rise.