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Alaska Coastal Resources Inventory and Mapping Program

Glacier Bay NP
Phoebe Vanselow

Supporting Link:
Alaska Coastal Resources Inventory and Mapping Program webpage

Alaska Coastal Resources Inventory and Mapping Program
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
Sitka National Historical Park

NPS mandate to preserve resources unimpaired over the long term;
Lack of baseline information about coastal resources (necessary for managers to detect change - both natural and anthropogenic);
This program viewed as the core/pilot of a comprehensive Inventory and Monitoring Program for Glacier Bay.

The Goals
Provide basic useful coastal resource information at an appropriate spatial scale (10m for Glacier Bay's purposes);
Make the information easy and quick to use for managers;
Create a model mapping inventory method (protocol) that is:
1. Simple and straightforward (doable!);
2. Easy to learn and perform;
3. As objective and quantitative (and repeatable) as possible;
4. Easily modified/customized for a variety of shoreline types;
5. Affordable;
6. Easily exportable.

The Uses (managerial and scientific)
Provide a baseline against which to evaluate natural change and the effects of human use;
Identify resources needing special protection (base layer for unique/sensitive/ Threatened and Endangered/otherwise valuable plant/wildlife/intertidal resources);
Provide an information base for issue-oriented studies and basic scientific research;
Assist in identification of resource components to be included in monitoring programs;
Provide an informational context that can guide reaction to environmental disasters such as an oil spill (response, cleanup, injury assessment, restoration);
Identify significant historical/archaeological sites and provide an initial condition rating for those resources to support a monitoring component;
Support archeological research and resource protection;
Identify interpretive opportunities.

The Field Protocol
2-person teams map coastal resources on the ground while tides are lower than +2.0' MLLW;
Segment polygons (primarily determined by surface substrate type) are delineated on high-resolution color infrared coastal aerial photos;
Data types collected include surface substrate, slope, intertidal biological inventory, vertical zonation transect, streams, special features;
Three ground photos are taken for each segment.

The Data Processing Protocol
Aerial photos are scanned and georeferenced;
Segment boundaries are heads-up digitized;
Field data is entered and verified.

The Product (management/scientific tool)
Database, aerial photos, maps, and ground photos are linked together into one simple data viewing form;
The tool is quickly and easily accessible from any workstation on the Park's network;
An interactive ArcIMS project (will be) on the internet for easy-to-use public access to the data and to the detailed field and data processing protocols.

Progress in seven field seasons (1997-2003)
Over 960 miles of coastline (all of Klondike Gold Rush and Sitka National Historical Parks, and portions of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve) have been mapped. This involves approximately 6000 discrete segments, 21,000 ground photos, and 320 georeferenced aerial photos. Field work in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve using this protocol is complete.
Refined protocol complete.

What's Next?
Export the protocol to other coastal National Parks in Alaska (and other interested parties in Alaska and beyond) for use in mapping their coastlines;
Complete coastal resource mapping of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve (less than 250 additional miles). The remaining total will utilize a yet-to-be-developed remote sensing approach in conjunction with ground-truthing. Information collected using the new protocol will be linked to the existing database.
Finalize data and ArcIMS project. Post ArcIMS project on the internet.

Selected References:

Schoch, G.C. and M.N. Dethier. 1996. Scaling up: the statistical linkage between organismal abundance and geomorphology on rocky intertidal shorelines. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 201:37-72.

Zacharias, M.A., M.C. Morris and D.E. Howes. 1999. Large scale characterization of intertidal communities using a predicitve model. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 239:223-242.

Carl Schoch, Bill Eichenlaub, Dan VanLeeuwen, Scott Croll, Scott Grover, Gary Lenhart, Gayle Neufeld, Paul Hillman, Alyssa Reischauer, Sean Bohac, Liza Graham, Michelle Anderson, Jenni Burr, Phoebe Vanselow, Cynthia Malleck, Tim Troccoli, Whitney Rapp, and Bonnie Harris.

For more information, visit:

Lewis Sharman
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
P.O. Box 140
Gustavus, AK 99826
April 08, 2004