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Mapping Erosion Hazard Areas in the City of Virginia Beach

Michael S. Fenster and Robert Dolan
Journal of Coastal Research
Special Issue NO. 28. Coastal Erosion Mapping and Management (Spring 1999), pp. 58-68
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25736186
Page Count: 11
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Mapping Erosion Hazard Areas in the City of Virginia Beach
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Abstract

This paper discusses the results of the Phase I erosion hazard area (EHA) mapping project for the City of Virginia Beach under Section 577 of the National Flood Insurance Reform Act (NFIRA). The mapping phase of the project consisted of four main tasks: (1) obtain large-scale base maps with current and accurate planimetric data; (2) update the existing shoreline position data base using recent aerial photography; (3) determine the appropriate erosion reference features (ERFs); and (4) transfer various data such as EHAs, ERFs, and the current and projected flood zone boundary locations (and associated base flood elevations, BFEs) from Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) to the base maps. Shoreline trend results (updated to 1995), from a variety of natural and anthropogencially altered (engineered) settings, reveal that 35% of the City's 36.9 km (22.9 mi) beach is marked by long-term erosion. Maximum erosion rates and EHA widths occur along the 9 km (5.6 mi) narrow barrier spit community of Sandbridge. The commercially-developed portion of Virginia Beach had experienced extreme and ubiquitous erosion prior to restoration of the original seawall and a commitment to long-term annual beach nourishment (1951–1954). Since this time, the seawall portion of Virginia Beach has maintained a balanced sediment budget suggesting that the City's long-term erosion mitigation plans have been effective.

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