Why ShoreZone Is Important

Alaska has more coastline than the continental United States. For the first time ever, the Alaska ShoreZone Project is taking an inventory of the biology and geology of Alaska’s coast.

More than 20 partners are helping to make millions of photos, video, and digital data, all geo-referenced, available to the public, through the internet. The Alaska ShoreZone Project received the 2009 Coastal America Spirit Award from the Dept. of the Interior.

Increasing storm frequency and coastal erosion issues associated with changes in climate are a concern for Alaska’s coastal communities. Also, projected increases in shipping traffic and offshore oil and gas development make it vital that coastal managers have access to data to support planning and response efforts. This baseline data will greatly improve our ability to understand, respond to and plan for the dynamic coastal changes taking place in Alaska. 

You can fly the coastline, download spatial data and view photos for:

  • Oil spill and emergency planning, response, and recovery
  • Community planning for climate change impacts
  • Search and rescue
  • Fisheries habitat management
  • Desktop reconnaissance
  • Invasive species detection and monitoring
  • Marine debris clean-up

**NEW** June 4, 2014  ShoreZone Arctic photos from the North Slope are now together 
with the mapping data on the Flex Site.
From Point Hope to the Canadian border, view and map ShoreZone images and attributes:  

Click here to access===>   ShoreZone Flex Site including ARCTIC COAST pictures

User Story:  ShoreZone and Archaeology in Southeast Alaska 

March 5, 2014

Dave Richards, a volunteer with the Forest Service out of the Ketchikan/Misty Fjords Ranger District, is in his 12th season working with archaeologist Martin Stanford.   In the summer they do Cultural Resource Inventory and Monitoring via sea kayak, going slow to see things from up close but also to travel (as much as possible) as the natives did in the past.

About 6-7 years ago, they started using the ShoreZone data site as part of their pre-trip planning.  “It’s a way if you will to "see" where we would be going, before we got there” says Dave Richards.  “ShoreZone allowed us to see beaches for possible camping locations (and remember, good beaches for us to camp at might also be good beaches for natives in the past), as well as see physical structures that might be located in the tidal areas”.  He adds, “Seeing things pre-trip from the air in the tidal areas is the key, as then we are able to plan and adjust our routes and schedules to investigate potential sites”.

Pre-planning surveys and site visits are a couple of the main uses of ShoreZone.  It allows scientists, recreationalists and response planners to “visit” an areas coastline via photo and video before ever setting foot (or kayak) there.  Identifying landing areas, plotting safe harborage locations and searching for other desired coastal attributes can all be done using ShoreZone….and sometimes you can find much more.

The accompanying photo is just such an example.  Shown in this actual ShoreZone survey photo are numerous historical stone fish traps and weirs (highlighted by added arrows).  “If we had not known about it from using ShoreZone, we might have passed by at a high tide and not know it was used in the past as an active native fishing location”, says Richards when describing the photo. 

Once the site was identified via the ShoreZone photo an exact location was pinpointed with the attached geo-referenced coordinates.  During the ensuing visit to this archeological site, in addition to the visible stone weirs and traps, the team was also lucky enough to find a stake from a wooden stake weir that was pulled for carbon dating and found to be around 1470 years old. 

This research team was made aware of ShoreZone after a presentation at the Discovery Center in Ketchikan.  “The Center director had seen the presentation and thought Martin might find the site useful in our investigations” recalls Dave, “It has been that for sure”.

If your organization, agency, department or school would like to take part in a ShoreZone presentation or workshop please contact Darren Stewart at The Nature Conservancy, 907-865-5711.

^^LINK to new FINAL 2014 ShoreZone protocol^^

Subscribe to Alaska ShoreZone Distribution List

Summer 2014 All-Partner ShoreZone Meeting

On Thursday June 26th at 10:00 am we will be having the ShoreZone All-Partner Summer teleconference/webinar.  Please join us for updates on the program including scheduled surveys, continuing mapping, outreach efforts and applied ShoreZone uses and future plans.

Details:  HERE

Agenda 2013 ShoreZone Annual Partners Meeting

Please join the Alaska ShoreZone partners in the Anchorage Hilton on October 29-30, 2013 for their annual meeting.  This is a chance to learn more about the program, how to use the database, various user groups and applications, current progress and future plans.  

Read Full Post  

User Story:  ShoreZone in Bering Land Bridge National Preserve,  September 11 2013                     This summer in Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, the ShoreZone database was being used in a most unique and effective manner. Read Full Post

ShoreZone project to begin on St. Lawrence Island, July 20 - 24.
Survey staff began to arrive yesterday in Savoonga in preparation for a ShoreZone coastal habitat imaging survey starting this weekend on St. Lawrence Island.   Read Full Post

This website is funded in part with qualified outer continental shelf oil and gas revenues by the Coastal Impact Assistance Program, Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.



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