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Coastal vulnerability assessment of Cumberland Island National Seashore (CUIS) to sea-level rise

January 1, 2004

A coastal vulnerability index (CVI) was used to map the relative vulnerability of the coast to future sea-level rise within Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia. The CVI ranks the following in terms of their physical contribution to sea-level rise-related coastal change: geomorphology, regional coastal slope, rate of relative sea-level rise, historical shoreline change rates, mean tidal range and mean significant wave height. The rankings for each input variable were combined and an index value calculated for 1-minute grid cells covering the park. The CVI highlights those regions where the physical effects of sea-level rise might be the greatest. This approach combines the coastal system's susceptibility to change with its natural ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions, yielding a quantitative, although relative, measure of the park's natural vulnerability to the effects of sea-level rise. The CVI provides an objective technique for evaluation and long-term planning by scientists and park managers. Cumberland Island National Seashore consists of stable to washover-dominated portions of barrier beach backed by wetland, marsh, mudflat and tidal creek. The areas within Cumberland that are likely to be most vulnerable to sea-level rise are those with the lowest foredune ridge and highest rates of shoreline erosion.

Publication Year 2004
Title Coastal vulnerability assessment of Cumberland Island National Seashore (CUIS) to sea-level rise
DOI 10.3133/ofr20041196
Authors Elizabeth A. Pendleton, E. Robert Thieler, S. Jeffress Williams
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2004-1196
Index ID ofr20041196
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center