Coastal Hazards Pillar

Mapping coastal hazards and environmental change to support community planning, decision-making, and resiliency

Photo Credit:

© Michael Letzring

Develop Geospatial Database for Project Communities

To support research, decision-making, and the co-production of data products, a comprehensive geospatial database is being developed for each study site to include data such as newly created infrastructure layers, aerial and satellite historical and contemporary imagery, and other key datasets to assess environmental change and its impacts on people.  

DLG Shoreline Analysis Overview 
This map presents overall shoreline change analysis for the Alaska coastal community of Dillingham, covering an area from the Wood-River Cannery to the Kanakanak Hospital. Shoreline change is visualized with transects that are perpendicular to the shoreline trend, spaced at 50 meters, and color-symbolized according to change rate.

Photo Credit: Michael Letzring

Create High Resolution Maps Depicting Shoreline & Environmental Change

The shoreline change analysis is coupled with the creation of high-resolution data collected through the assistance of local participants at monitoring sites within each community. A real-time kinematic (RTK) GPS system and unmanned aerial vehicle will be used to create baseline digital elevation models for hot spot areas of change. 

Establish & Maintain Sites for Long-Term Monitoring

Tribal environmental coordinators and other staff at each location are assisting with the establishment and maintenance of monitoring sites that directly measure erosion and capture coastal processes through time-lapse photography. Sites are located at community-selected locations to capture real-time measurements of change in areas of concern such as those fronting critical infrastructure. 

Predict Future Human-Environment Hotspots

We will integrate, map, and model identified socio-environmental stressors to identify current hotspots and conduct scenario analysis to determine the future impacts. The human and environmental stressors will include infrastructure, shoreline change, and residential locations. 

Photo Credit:

© Michael Letzring

Develop an User-Friendly Risk Assessment Field Protocol & Training Module 

The paucity of baseline information about current environmental change is a significant missing factor in coastal management and risk assessment throughout Alaska. For this reason, the workflow applied to carry out this research will be refined and documented so that it can be efficiently applied to other vulnerable communities.

We will develop a user-friendly field protocol that provides a workflow to establish observation sites and conduct coastal hazard risk assessments. This field protocol would describe a workflow about how to acquire data, create new baseline datasets, deploy a cost-effective measurement approach, and leverage existing resources or funding opportunities.