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1 January 2012 Coastal Hazard Vulnerability Assessment of Sensitive Historical Sites on Rainsford Island, Boston Harbor, Massachusetts
Christopher V. Maio, Allen M. Gontz, David E. Tenenbaum, Ellen P. Berkland
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Abstract

It has been well established that numerous coastal areas are threatened by sea-level rise and coastal flooding. Some of these vulnerable lands contain significant archeological sites and cultural resources. The accurate calculation of shoreline rates of change and identification of coastal hazard zones for areas containing cultural resources is crucial for the development of effective coastal zone management strategies that address resource conservation and preservation. This investigation employed geospatial and analytical statistical techniques to conduct a shoreline change study on Rainsford Island occurring from 1944 to 2008. The 4.45-ha island, located in Boston Harbor, Massachusetts, consists of two heavily eroded drumlins connected by a low-lying bar. Past archeological surveys have concluded that Rainsford Island has numerous historical sites and is an area of high prehistoric sensitivity. A recent geophysical survey mapped a Revolutionary War era cemetery on the island. Multiple data sources were integrated, including historical maps, aerial photographs, and airborne laser topographic data for shoreline delineation over various temporal and spatial scales. The Digital Shoreline Analysis System was used to determine rate-of-change statistics and distances, and to identify hotspot areas of erosion and accretion. The results show that the island eroded during the study period at a rate of 0.05 m/y on average, with erosion rates as high as −0.59 m/y. The bar has migrated SE resulting in erosion along the island's northern shoreline. Predictive modeling indicates that 26% of the island would become inundated with 1 m of sea-level rise including the area containing the cemetery.

Christopher V. Maio, Allen M. Gontz, David E. Tenenbaum, and Ellen P. Berkland "Coastal Hazard Vulnerability Assessment of Sensitive Historical Sites on Rainsford Island, Boston Harbor, Massachusetts," Journal of Coastal Research 28(1A), 20-33, (1 January 2012). https://doi.org/10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-10-00104.1
Received: 12 July 2010; Accepted: 1 November 2010; Published: 1 January 2012
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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KEYWORDS
coastal management
cultural resources
erosion
LIDAR
sea-level rise
shoreline change
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