National Park Service

Northeast Temperate Network (NETN)

atmospheric deposition and stress


Geomorphology is the scientific study of landforms and the processes that shape them. Geomorphologists seek to understand why landscapes look the way they do to help them better understand landform history and dynamics, and predict future changes through a combination of field observation, physical experiment, and numerical modeling. Shoreline geomorphology, as one might expect, relates to how these processes affect the places where land meets the sea.

Importance & Issues

jefferson salamanderSea level is an important physical parameter for two network parks (Acadia and Boston Harbor Islands) that controls the distribution and spatial pattern of intertidal habitats. As sea level changes, the boundary and extent of intertidal habitat types will shift. Sea level is presently rising at a rate of about 2-4 mm/yr along the New England coastline and this rise is predicted to accelerate in response to global warming. Sea level is presently measured by NOAA tide gauges in Boston, Massachusetts and Bar Harbor, Maine. NETN will integrate existing data sources on sea-level changes into the vital signs reporting framework for these two parks.

Monitoring Objective

The monitoring objective set forth in the NCBN Shoreline Position Monitoring Protocol is:

  • Determine long-term trends in the seasonal and annual variablility in shoreline position for the ocean shoreline in Network parks.

The monitoring objective set forth in the Salt Marsh Elevation Monitoring Protocol is:

  • Determine long-term trends in salt marsh elevation at selected sites in parks and factors contributing to the observed changes (sediment deposition or erosion).


Relative surface elevation of salt marsh and shoreline position.


Last Updated: December 30, 2016 Contact Webmaster