The data are from the Sediment Placement Projects on Sandy Beaches in the U.S. Atlantic Coast Breeding Range of the Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) prior to Hurricane Sandy.
This dataset represents the approximate locations of sediment placement projects along the U.S. North Atlantic coast from Maine through Virginia prior to the time that Hurricane Sandy made landfall in October 2012.
The sediment placement projects were identified as part of an inventory of habitat modifications to sandy beach habitat within the U.S. Atlantic Coast breeding range of the federally-threatened piping plover. Sediment placement projects included in the inventory were beach nourishment projects, storm damage reduction projects, beneficial placement or disposal of dredged material, and construction of artificial dunes with fill material.
Project data were identified from published literature, government reports and documents, permit applications, and the beach nourishment database of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines (PSDS) at Western Carolina University. Sediment placement project details were recorded for each state in Microsoft Excel and organized to eliminate overlapping project areas. Only ocean-facing shorelines or those directly exposed to Long Island Sound or the Peconic Estuary were included in this project area; inner harbors and bays were excluded, for a total length of sandy beaches of 1,915 miles from Maine to Virginia. Including previously reported data for North Carolina (see the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 Comprehensive Conservation Strategy for the Piping Plover in its Coastal Migration and Wintering Range in the Continental United States), at least 18% of the sandy beaches in the U.S. Atlantic Coast breeding range of the piping plover were modified with sediment placement projects prior to Hurricane Sandy, with over 338 miles of sediment placement projects.
Project location and length data were not available for 134 of 403 identified project areas (33%), however, so this total length of sandy beach modified by sediment placement projects is conservative.
Where project locations and lengths were available for completed projects, polylines were digitized using a “heads-up” approach using the “Path” tool in Google Earth on the corresponding beach and colored red. For projects where location and length data were not available, red points were created and placed on the beach of the corresponding community. For projects proposed but not constructed prior to Hurricane Sandy, the polylines and/or points were colored sky blue. Digitizing was done at a scale of 500 to 1,000 feet elevation using 2011 or 2012 imagery in Google Earth. For projects where project boundaries were known but the length was unknown, the length of the project area was measured parallel to the beach from endpoint to endpoint using the “Path” tool of Google Earth. Where individual project areas overlapped, the overlaps were eliminated to determine the total length of sandy beach modified by sediment placement projects within each community. All data were recorded in Microsoft Excel. All digitizing was completed by a single GIS analyst.