Default IconAlaska Shorezone

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“ShoreZone is a mapping and classification system that specializes in the collection and interpretation of aerial imagery of the intertidal zone and nearshore environment.”


The land-sea interface of the coast of Alaska is a crucial realm for terrestrial and marine organisms, human activities, and dynamic ecosystem processes. From around the globe, estuaries and nearshore areas, or the “nurseries of the sea,” connect both wildlife and people. The ShoreZone partnership is a collaborative effort of federal, state, local and not for profit entities in Alaska to develop research and analysis of the coastal inter-tidal and nearshore areas of Alaska using the “ShoreZone” protocol to mapping and biophysical inventory.

ShoreZone Methodology

ShoreZone is a habitat mapping and inventory system based on the collection and interpretation of low-altitude, geo-referenced aerial imagery of the intertidal and nearshore environment. Products of ShoreZone data gathering are analyzed so that coordinates from a known reference system can be assigned to geomorphological and biological features, allowing features to be viewed, queried, and analyzed with other geographic data. Physical and biological characteristics of discrete coastal habitat units are mapped both along-shore and across-shore (including wave exposure, substrate type, sediment texture, intertidal organisms, subtidal algae, and some subtidal fauna). The digital imagery, along with selected biological and physical feature data, is then made public through the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Fisheries website NOAA link.

Key Components of the Alaska ShoreZone mapping project:

  • Collection of aerial videography and photography of coastal and nearshore areas;
  • Analysis and digitization, or mapping, of the biologic and geologic features of the along shore and across shore features;
  • Serving the data to the public through the NOAA website;
  • Ground assessments to provide end-users of ShoreZone data with parameters of scale;
  • Educating key users and the public on ShoreZone tools and applications.


By 2010 the ShoreZone partners plan to have the Gulf of Alaska imaged and mapped. To download the latest maps illustrating where ShoreZone imaging and mapping has taken place in Alaska, click here

Keywords Associated with Alaska Shorezone Workspace
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image (5)
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Includes presentations, fact sheets, handouts and more
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Partners & useful links (9)
Links to ShoreZone partners' websites.
Shorezone (1)
United States of America
Saline, brackish, or alkaline lakes and flats; Wetlands; Pelagic; Continental ice or glaciers; Riparian areas; Forest; Benthic
Attribution Non-Commercial
Conservation Action(s): Land/water management; Education & awareness; Land/water protection; Species management
Direct Threat(s):
Climate change; Geological events; Natural systems modication; Biological resource use; Invasives; Resid. & Comm. development; Human disturbance
Time series observations
Other Search Terms(s):
ShoreZone; mapping; coastal management; database; inventory; biobands; nearshore; estuary; Alaska; intertidal
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