Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM)
Shoreline evolution is the change in shore position through time. In fact, it is the material resistance of the coastal geologic underpinnings against the impinging hydrodynamic (and aerodynamic) forces. Along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, it is a process-based response system. The processes at work include winds, waves, tides, and currents, which together provide the energy which shapes and modifies coastlines by eroding, transporting, and depositing sediments. The shore line is commonly plotted and measured to provide a rate of change, but it is as important to understand the geomorphic patterns of change. Shore analysis provides the basis to know how a particular coast has changed through time and how it may proceed in the future. The purpose of this report is to document how the Bay shore of Northampton County, Virginia (Figure 1) has evolved since 1938. Aerial imagery was taken for most of the Bay region beginning that year, and it is this imagery that allows one to assess the geomorphic nature of shore change. Aerial imagery shows how the nature of the coast has changed, how beaches, dunes, bars, and spits have grown or decayed, how barriers have breached, how inlets have changed course, and how one shore type has displaced another or has not changed at all. Shore change is a natural process but, quite often, the impacts of man through shore hardening or inlet stabilization come to dominate a given shore reach. Most of the shore positions will be quantified in this report. Others, particularly very irregular coasts, around inlets, and other areas will be subject to interpretation.
Shoreline Evolution, Northampton County, VA, Chesapeake Bay, Shoreline Management
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
This project was funded by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s Coastal Resources Management Program through Grant #NA17OZ2355 of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, under the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended.
Hardaway Jr., C.S., D.A. Milligan, L.M. Varnell, C. Wilcox, G.R. Thomas, and T.R. Comer (2004): Shoreline Evolution Chesapeake Bay Shoreline Northampton County, VA. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary. https://doi.org/10.21220/V5HG7H