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GIS Data & Maps: Erosion Vulnerability Assessment Tool (EVA)

Cherry Point
Calvert County Lighthouse
Nabbs Creek Boat
Calvert County Shoreline
Turville Creek
St. Clement Creek


The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is tasked with developing a shoreline master plan that can support broad based shoreline management in the Bay.  The Chesapeake Bay Shoreline Erosion Feasibility Study will focus on initiatives that address storm and flood protection, ecosystem restoration, and protection of cultural and historical resources within the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay.  This initiative requires close partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDDNR) as well as other stakeholders within the region including local governments. 

The goals of the feasibility study include the development of decision support tools to prioritize and enhance efficiency of project selection and implementation under the master plan as well as reinforce various state mandated shoreline management and regulatory programs.  To that end, the Erosion Vulnerability Assessment Tool (EVA) has been developed with funding from the Baltimore District Army Corps of Engineers under a joint partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.  The purpose of EVA is to identify areas alongshore that have demonstrated historic patterns of instability, and currently support valued natural, social, or economic resources.  As a planning tool, EVA uses a 50-year planning window to project shoreline position in 50 years, where resources will be vulnerable,  and where the opportunity for shoreline stabilization or restoration may have the greatest benefits.

EVA was designed as an online interactive map interface to illustrate the output of a highly integrated spatial data model that uses multiple data sets generated by various developers across the Chesapeake Bay region.  The map outputs, which can be generated on the fly, will inform local planners where community infrastructure, cultural resources, and habitat are potentially at risk in the future.  As a planning tool, the final products can enhance or redirect future development options for individual communities, and define areas where opportunities for conservation easements could be directed. 

EVA provides a visual evaluation of vulnerability within the planning window with a focus on habitat and socioeconomic resources.  Resources were selected based on their data availability in GIS format and relevance to the project goal. 

The EVA Tool makes three types of information available.  First, the base data used in the analysis can be selected at any time for display.  Metadata can be retrieved by clicking on the layer name in the column.  Attribute information pertaining to a specific layer is accessed by making the layer “active” and using the Identify tool.  This information has been altered little, if any, from its original format.  Some attributes may have been combined to simplify EVA.  Some layers were corrected to the base shoreline used in the study.  Others were not, and for these, the data boundaries particularly on the seaward edge will not necessarily coincide with the base shoreline boundary.  

A vulnerability analysis was performed to assess the potential loss to ecological resources and socioeconomic resources along the shoreline.  Vulnerability was analyzed for specific ecological and socioeconomic features on the landscape and was determined, in part, by the spatial relationship of a feature or attribute to the 50-year planning window. 

Finally, a generalized cumulative impact assessment is presented for  ecological resources.  This cumulative assessment identifies areas within the 50-year planning window that support ecological resources.  It provides an opportunity for communities to define reaches where hotspots exist. 


The Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM) at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), College of William and Mary provides these data with the understanding that it is not guaranteed to be correct or complete, and conclusions drawn from the data set are the sole responsibility of the user.

Every attempt has been made to ensure that these data and the documentation are reliable and accurate. Neither CCRM, VIMS, the USACE or MDDNR assume liability for any damages caused by inaccuracies in the data or documentation, or as a result of failure of the data to perform in a particular manner. The agencies and organizations make no warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness, or utility of this information, nor does the fact of distribution constitute a warranty.


Financial and technical assistance was provided through the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District and the Chesapeake and Coastal Program of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.  Additional funding was provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management.  This project has been supported by various members of the user community through participation is steering meetings.  There are too many to name here, however, contributions by Audra Luscher, Chris Spur, Jean Kapusnick, Doug Lipton, Gwen Shaughnessy, Lamere Hennessee, and Jeff Trulick are particularly notable.  The principal investigator extends a word of thanks to the technical GIS team consisting of Julie Herman, Karinna Nunez, Dan Schatt, Karen Reay, and Dave Weiss for an extraordinary effort.


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