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Open AccessArticle

Shoreline Change along Sheltered Coastlines: Insights from the Neuse River Estuary, NC, USA

Department of Geological Sciences, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA
Institute for Coastal Science & Policy, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2011, 3(7), 1516-1534;
Received: 1 June 2011 / Revised: 29 June 2011 / Accepted: 29 June 2011 / Published: 12 July 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing in Coastal Ecosystem)
Coastlines are constantly changing due to both natural and anthropogenic forces, and climate change and associated sea level rise will continue to reshape coasts in the future. Erosion is not only apparent along oceanfront areas; shoreline dynamics in sheltered water bodies have also gained greater attention. Additional estuarine shoreline studies are needed to better understand and protect coastal resources. This study uses a point-based approach to analyze estuarine shoreline change and associated parameters, including fetch, wave energy, elevation, and vegetation, in the Neuse River Estuary (NRE) at two contrasting scales, Regional (whole estuary) and Local (estuary partitioned into eight sections, based on orientation and exposure). With a mean shoreline-change rate of –0.58 m yr−1, the majority (93%) of the NRE study area is eroding. Change rates show some variability related to the land-use land-cover classification of the shoreline. Although linear regression analysis at the Regional Scale did not find significant correlations between shoreline change and the parameters analyzed, trends were determined from Local Scale data. Specifically, erosion rates, fetch, and wave exposure increase in the down-estuary direction, while elevation follows the opposite trend. Linear regression analysis between mean fetch and mean shoreline-change rates at the Local Scale provide a first-order approach to predict shoreline-change rates. The general trends found in the Local Scale data highlight the presence of underlying spatial patterns in shoreline-change rates within a complex estuarine system, but Regional Scale analysis suggests shoreline composition also has an important influence. View Full-Text
Keywords: estuarine; erosion; fetch; shoreline; compositio estuarine; erosion; fetch; shoreline; compositio
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Cowart, L.; Corbett, D.R.; Walsh, J. Shoreline Change along Sheltered Coastlines: Insights from the Neuse River Estuary, NC, USA. Remote Sens. 2011, 3, 1516-1534.

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