In a recent newsletter, the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) announced that it had secured funding to update its Shoreline Change Project. The Shoreline Change Project documents and makes available online historical (back to the mid-1800s) delineations of the mean high water line on all ocean-facing landforms throughout the state of Massachusetts. This is crucial information used by coastal managers, shorefront landowners, and potential property buyers to make informed decisions about coastal areas.
The last time CZM updated the Shoreline Change Project was in 2001, when it added a 1994 shoreline. The addition of a contemporary shoreline will be a welcomed addition to an already valuable resource.
We use shoreline data routinely when calculating short-term and long-term trends in erosion and accretion to help our clients better understand coastal processes active in their region and make informed management decisions. Often we find ourselves arduously digitizing aerial photographs and digital orthophotos when digital files are not available from a state or from NOAA. Naturally we are excited to hear that CZM and USGS will be interpreting, digitizing, and ground-truthing a new data set this year.