Pennsylvania Sea Grant Webinar Series:
PA Lake Erie bluff recession – a deep dive into the science and latest resources
Pennsylvania Sea Grant is hosting a webinar series to highlight recent research and state-of-the-art science conducted along the Pennsylvania Lake Erie shoreline to aide in efforts to assess bluff erosion along the Pennsylvania Lake Erie coast. Bluff recession poses a threat to the Pennsylvania Lake Erie economy, environment, and safety of its residents. The 76.6-mile long Pennsylvania Lake Erie shoreline includes Presque Isle State Park, Erie Bluffs State Park, several public access points, and privately owned properties. Researchers from Pennsylvania Sea Grant and Penn State Behrend have assessed recession rates of the Lake Erie bluff using state-of-the-art remotely sensed data, including LiDAR and orthoimagery. The data and new information collected as a result of the effort will be integrated with existing Pennsylvania Lake Erie-related ecological and economic data, services, guidance, and information in order to assist decision-makers, planners and homeowners, and to better sustain Lake Erie’s natural shoreline.
Session 4: New Observations from Bayesian Network Modeling and Change-Detection Analysis on the Lake Erie Bluff Coast of Pennsylvania - April 30, 2021, 1:00 - 2:00 PM EST - Presenter: Anthony Foyle, Ph.D., Department Chair of Environmental Science and Associate Professor of Environmental Science, Penn State Behrend, and Co-presenter Michael Rutter, Ph.D., Associate Director, School of Science, Associate Professor of Statistics, Mathematics, Penn State Behrend REGISTER NOW
PREVIOUS BLUFF RECESSION WEBINARS
Session 1: Bluff Recession – An Overview of the Issue and Challenges - January 29, 2021, 1:00 - 2:00 PM EST - Presenter: Anthony Foyle, Ph.D., Department Chair of Environmental Science and Associate Professor of Environmental Science, Penn State Behrend. RECORDING AVAILABLE
Session 2: Assessing Bluff Recession Using High Resolution Geospatial Data - February 26, 2021, 1:00 - 2:00 PM EST - Presenter: Mike Naber, Ph.D., Associate Teaching Professor of Geosciences, Penn State Behrend. RECORDING AVAILABLE
Session 3: An overview of the latest and inclusive online resource related to Lake Erie - the PA Great Lakes Water and Land Technical Resources (WALTeR) Center - March 26, 2021, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST - Presenter: Sean Rafferty, Ph.D., Research Director, Pennsylvania Sea Grant College Program. RECORDING AVAILABLE
- Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) are available for attendees of 3 out of 4 webinars. CEUs are being offered through Penn State Behrend for 4 hours (0.4 CEUs) for a fee of $35. If interested, participants must first contact Sean Rafferty, Ph.D., PA Sea Grant Research Director for details.
- The webinar topic originally scheduled for April 30, 2021 has been updated. Anyone who had previously registered for "A Bluff Erosion Potential Index (BEPI) for Pennsylvania," with Anthony Foyle, Ph.D., will not need to re-register.
Funding was provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Growing Greener Program.
More about An overview of the latest and inclusive online resource related to Lake Erie - the PA Great Lakes Water and Land Technical Resources (WALTeR) Center
Prior to its dissolution in 2014, the Presque Isle Bay Public Advisory Committee (PIB PAC) identified the need for transparency and easy access to Great Lakes related information, including: services, regulatory and management guidance, research studies and results, watershed plans, restoration and protection project data, and geospatial data. The PIB PAC members suggested a “one stop web-based center” as a means for accessing and integrating Great Lakes related information, data, services, and guidance. Historically, the PIB PAC was tasked with advising and assisting the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection enhance and protect the environmental quality and economic vitality of Presque Isle Bay. The Pennsylvania Great Lakes Water and Land Technical Resources (WALTeR) website (https://pawalter.psu.edu/), developed by the Pennsylvania Sea Grant College Program (PASG) and Penn State Behrend with the PIB PACs needs in mind, serves as the “central” location for Pennsylvania Great Lakes related data, studies, and information. This presentation will provide an overview of the various features of the WALTeR website.
More about New Observations from Bayesian Network Modeling and Change-Detection Analysis on the Lake Erie Bluff Coast of Pennsylvania
On the perimeter of the Great Lakes, coastal bluff retreat is a pervasive geologic hazard. Bayesian Network modeling was recently completed for the first time on the Lake Erie coast of Pennsylvania to help explain bluff retreat within six large coastal watersheds along the western Erie County littoral cell (WECLC). The optimal model comprised eight geo-environmental variables: bluff resiliency, long-term retreat rate, bluff face slope, beach width, toe elevation (beach height), top-shale elevation, bluff height, and wave impact hours. The model was trained and tested across the 1938-2007 period, validated by determining its skill at predicting known bluff-crest change between 2007 and 2015, and then used to simulate bluff-crest retreat through 2065. Overall, the model had a 71.5-95.4% correct classification rate and an 84% average predictive probability. To qualitatively gauge erosion hazards, the modeling suggests that stakeholders considering moving to, or remaining on, a lakefront lot on the bluff top can informally monitor: (i) long-term retreat rate and average bluff-face slope, both of which are inversely correlated with bluff stability; and (ii) bluff-toe elevation and beach volume, both of which are positively correlated with bluff stability.
High-resolution sediment-loss mapping was also completed for the first time on the WECLC coast wherein topographic changes (yielding sediment gains and losses) were mapped every ~1 m2 along ~33.5 km of bluff face. The data reveal that steady average lake levels (e.g., during 2007-2015) were associated with an ~70% reduction in sediment supply from eroding bluffs compared to historically rising and falling lake-level periods. The reduced sediment supply to the littoral zone (~13,250 m3/yr) affects beach resources along the WECLC, while awareness of the issue may allow more precise erosion mitigation at Presque Isle State Park immediately downdrift. The data also reveal that bluffs in the Crooked Creek watershed are the most erosional in western Erie County and are critical for sand supply to the WECLC and ultimately Presque Isle State Park. Crooked Creek’s lakefront bluffs supplied ~700 m3/bluff km/year of sand and gravel to the littoral zone, or 53% to 220% more than any other WECLC watershed. Because of this, a feeder-bluff conservation program could be adopted to preserve coastal sediment supply and help reduce coastal erosion along and west of Presque Isle State Park. Erie Bluffs State Park in the eastern half of the Crooked Creek watershed is the best watershed-scale candidate for designation as a feeder-bluff conservation area.
More about the PA Lake Erie Watershed
The Pennsylvania portion of the Lake Erie watershed drains an area of 508 square miles, including all or portions of 33 municipalities in Erie and Crawford counties. There are 52 streams totaling a length of 1,122 miles within the watershed. Water resources within the watershed and along the coast supply drinking water to its residents, support economic growth primarily through recreational boating and fishing opportunities, provide spawning habitat for Lake Erie fishes, and supply habitat for aquatic-dependent plant and animal species. Stress from urbanization, industrialization, and agriculture pose a threat to Lake Erie’s recreation and tourism-based economy, ecosystem, and the health of its residents and visitors. In addition, bluff recession poses a threat to the Pennsylvania Lake Erie economy, environment, and safety of its residents. Pennsylvania possess approximately 76.6 miles of Lake Erie shoreline, which includes Presque Isle State Park, Erie Bluffs State Park, several public access points, and privately owned properties.