Shoreline Master Programs photo

Shoreline Master Programs

Task 2.1: Complete shoreline inventory

An inventory begins with careful compilation and evaluation of all pertinent and available data, reports, information, aerial photos, plans, studies, inventories, and other information applicable to your town, city, or county shorelines. For most local governments, the majority of the analysis steps that follow the inventory will involve extracting information from existing reports, studies and data. (Rule citation, SMP Handbook: Chapter 7, Shoreline Inventory and Characterization, Channel Migration Assessment)

Sources of data and information

Local planners should proceed carefully before pursuing new data gathering or data interpretation efforts as state grants for comprehensive updates do not cover new research or data gathering. In most cases, field work should be limited to field verification of existing data and addressing key data gaps identified after preparing an initial assessment.

  • Besides searching on the internet, explore Ecology’s catalog of data and research.

  • Rely on local experts and your technical advisory teams, who can be a wealth of information and source for ground-truthing studies and reports.

  • Many valuable reports and studies for specific geographic regions can be found in local, state agency and University libraries.

  • As you gather existing studies and reports, maintain an annotated bibliography with complete citations. Note the author(s), title, date, and place of publication. As you develop the bibliography, it might be useful to sort items into categories, by type of information and/or geographic areas.

  • While much information is available in digitally mapped form, other maps may need to be created from information extracted from reports, photos or hard copy maps. Regardless of how your mapped data is obtained, keep track of metadata (data about the data). This will allow others to review your data sources.

  • As you gather mapped data, create a working map portfolio that will allow mapped information to be overlain for the analysis task (Task 2.2).

  • After a thorough search of existing reports and data, solicit review of your draft list of references and data source list from your local advisors and your Ecology regional shoreline planner. Maintain a file documenting responses.

  • Be sure to address areas of special interest, such as rapidly developing waterfronts, or previously identified toxic or hazardous material clean-up sites. Some jurisdictions may want to create special area plans for such areas.

Local examples

For more information


Back to Top or Go to Task 2.2, Conduct shoreline analysis