Eastern Aleutian Islands ShoreZone Mapping

FY 2016 | 2 – Respond | 16-10-11

Eastern Aleutian Islands ShoreZone Mapping

G. Carl Schoch, Moran Environmental Recovery
Contract Term: 05/01/16 – 04/30/17
Award: $100,000

Scope of Work:

The ShoreZone Coastal Habitat Mapping System has been implemented by Coastal and Ocean Resources (CORI) for most of Alaska (Fig. 1) and has become an important resource management tool for habitat management, spatial marine planning, as well as oil spill response groups in government and industry. The latter is especially relevant for the Oil Spill Recovery Institute. ShoreZone imagery and maps now extend through British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon representing one of the largest spatially contiguous coastal habitat datasets in North America. The ShoreZone program in Alaska has been funded by many resource agencies and institutions, and CORI and NOAA jointly manage the data. The imagery and map data are freely available to the public from a web site hosted by The Nature Conservancy (http://www.shorezone.org).

ShoreZone is a benthic coastal habitat mapping system that was developed in the late 1970s and substantially revised in the early 1990s with the addition of biological attributes. From 1993 to the present the ShoreZone mapping system has been applied to shorelines in Washington, British Columbia, Oregon, and Alaska and the imaging and mapping protocols are documented in various protocol manuals. The last revision was written in 2013 to address changes implemented in 2010-2012, primarily the addition of a Coastal Vulnerability Module. We are currently implementing another revision that is fully backward compatible and includes:

a. Classifying the Environmental Sensitivity Index according to NOAA protocols,
b. Quantitative methods to classify and map biobands and substrate (see detail in section below),
c. Incorporating the best available NOAA CUSP digital shoreline,
d. Imaging and mapping sensitive areas such as sea lion and walrus haul outs,
e. Integrating Structure from Motion elevation models into the ShoreZone workflow.

The objectives specifically identified as part of this project include:

ShoreZone mapping for the Eastern Aleutian Islands: CORI will map habitat attributes using both geo referenced high definition video and high-resolution still photos for the Fox Islands which include: the Krenitzin Islands (Akutan Island, Rootok Island, Svatanak Island, Akun Island, Taginak Island, Tigalda Island, Aiktak Island, and Ugomak Island); Unalaska Island; and Umnak Island.

ShoreZone Program Coordination: The Nature Conservancy will provide a program coordinator through the end of 2016.
The main duties of the coordinator will be to continue organizing regular steering committee meetings and planning the annual partners meeting.