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Coastal wetland shoreline change monitoring: A comparison of shorelines from high-resolution WorldView satellite imagery, aerial imagery, and field surveys

August 2, 2021
Shoreline change analysis is an important environmental monitoring tool for evaluating coastal exposure to erosion hazards, particularly for vulnerable habitats such as coastal wetlands where habitat loss is problematic world-wide. The increasing availability of high-resolution satellite imagery and emerging developments in analysis techniques support the implementation of these data into shoreline monitoring. Geospatial shoreline data created from a semi-automated methodology using WorldView (WV) satellite data between 2013 and 2020 were compared to contemporaneous field-surveyed Global Position System (GPS) data. WV-derived shorelines were found to have a mean difference of 2 ± 0.08 m of GPS data, but accuracy decreased at high-wave energy shorelines that were unvegetated, bordered by sandy beach or semi-submergent sand bars. Shoreline change rates calculated from WV imagery were comparable to those calculated from GPS surveys and geospatial data derived from aerial remote sensing but tended to overestimate shoreline erosion at highly erosive locations (greater than 2 m yr−1). High-resolution satellite imagery can increase the spatial scale-range of shoreline change monitoring, provide rapid response to estimate impacts of coastal erosion, and reduce cost of labor-intensive practices.