Shorezone mapping of St. Lawrence Island

FY 2013 | 3 – Inform | 13-10-04

Shorezone mapping of St. Lawrence Island

John Harper, Coastal and Ocean Resources
Contract Term: 04/01/13 – 03/31/14
Award: $70,835

Scope of Work:

This proposal outlines an approach for coastal habitat mapping of St. Lawrence Island. While the Oil Spill Recovery Institute (OSRI) normally has a bias towards funding prototypes rather than ongoing survey work, the proposed ShoreZone survey program takes advantage of a highly unique survey opportunity that is not likely to be repeated. The ADNR’s Division of Geological& Geophysical Surveys is planning to barge a helicopter to St. Lawrence Island in July 2013. St. Lawrence Island is currently the only location in Alaska with no ShoreZone or ESI(Environmental Sensitivity Index) coverage. The proposed program would use the helicopter to collect imagery that could support both ESI and ShoreZone mapping of St. Lawrence Island coastal habitats.

The base proposal is for imaging the entire 1,100 km of St. Lawrence Island shoreline and web posting the imagery. Three options are included: (1) collection of ground station information to support mapping and to be added to the ShoreZone Ground Station website, (2) completion of ShoreZone biophysical habitat mapping for the entire 1,100 km of shoreline, and (3) development of Geographic Response Strategies (GRS).

The base proposal is for the collection and posting of video and photo imagery on the NOAA ShoreZone website, consistent with the other 70% of the mapped shoreline in Alaska. Imagery is routinely used in spill preparedness planning and during spill response (e. g., Kulluk drillship incident). It also is used to support other scientific studies (e. g., the Three Amigos Monitoring Protocol funded by OSRI).

For the ground station option, an estimated 10 to 12 ground stations could be occupied to provide a basic species list of intertidal macro-biota of St. Lawrence Island; although this number of stations does not provide comprehensive coverage on 1,100 km of shoreline, the opportunity is unique in being able to access very remote sections of shoreline. For the ShoreZone habitat mapping option, the ShoreZone Mapping Protocol would be used to provide habitat mapping consistent with other portions of the state; all data would be web-posted on the NOAA ShoreZone website and managed by NOAA. GRS development is an important part of spill preparedness, and again, the opportunity for aerial imaging on St. Lawrence Island presents a unique opportunity to develop state-of-the-art GRSs as part of the state-wide coverage.

In summary, while some of the elements included in this proposal do not represent“demonstration projects”, the opportunity addressed by this proposal is extremely unique and important to spill preparedness in Alaska.

Download Report: 13-10-04-final11.pdf