The shoreline at George Washington Birthplace National Monument (GEWA) is eroding and vulnerable to storms. Recent storms, such as Hurricane Isabel and Tropical Storm Ernesto impacted the region in 2003 and 2006, respectively. Large losses of the Potomac River shoreline along GEWA prompted the National Park Service to assess the vulnerability of the shoreline and its associated cultural, natural and archeological resources to erosive forces. This project maps the existing shoreline along the Potomac River and at the Memorial House on Popes Creek, provides an assessment of shoreline and bank dynamics, determines the rate of shoreline change between 1937 and 2007, and presents an analysis of vulnerability for the park. The shoreline at GEWA is varied, with high, vertical eroding banks and low, swampy drainage areas, with fronting beaches along the Potomac River, which are eroding at an average rate of 0.3 m/yr (1 ft/yr). However, storm-induced losses can be greater; as much as 9 m (30 ft) of bank were lost along sections of the park between 2002 and 2007. In Popes Creek, extensive and fringing marshes are eroding at lower rates, 0.1–0.2 m/yr(0.3–0.7 ft/yr). Coastal vulnerability, from a management perspective, took into account, bank height, shore type, erosion rates, proximity to infrastructure, and potential loss of archaeological resources. Three areas (1,200 m [3,800 ft]) of shoreline were rated as most vulnerable and two areas (300 m [1,000 ft]) were rated as vulnerable.
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