Bluff Retreat Bayesian Modeling and Littoral Sediment Input Mapping on the Lake Erie Coast of Pennsylvania, USA

Authors: Anthony Foyle*, Penn State Erie - The Behrend College, Michael A Rutter, Penn State Erie - The Behrend College, Erie PA, Karen Schuckman, Dutton e-Education Inst., Penn State University, University Park, PA
Topics: Coastal and Marine, Hazards and Vulnerability, Environmental Science
Keywords: Coastal erosion, Bayesian, Lidar, Bluffs, Great Lakes, Lake Erie
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Coastal bluff retreat impacts property owners across seven Great Lakes states. In Pennsylvania, it is a coastal hazard that affects over $66 million of near-bluff property along Erie County’s 123 km coast, Pennsylvania’s only coastal county on the Great Lakes.

A multivariate Bayesian network model of bluff retreat is being developed for the western Erie County littoral cell (WECLC) to explain recent-to-historical bluff retreat and to estimate future retreat magnitudes and patterns. Additionally, updated littoral sediment inputs are being determined from LiDAR-derived bluff-mass wasting volumes along the WECLC. Bluff sediments impact coastal water quality (turbidity, nutrients) and are the principal input to the WECLC and to the Presque Isle littoral cell (PILC) immediately downdrift. PILC hosts Presque Isle State Park, the state’s largest coastal natural-resource attraction.

The project area comprises ~35 km of coastline, with bluff relief of 1.5-40 m. Seven sites are being used to model bluff retreat, and these connect with WECLC-wide GIS/LiDAR mapping to quantify post-1998 bluff contributions to the littoral sediment budget.

The project will allow improved explanations and forecasting of bluff change and erosion hazards for coastal managers by integrating interactions between multiple variables (bluff stratigraphy, wave run-up distance, groundwater flux, historical bluff retreat). Results are expected to enhance scientific understanding of bluff processes on Lake Erie, and to increase hazard-consciousness among the regional coastal population.

Abstract Information

This abstract is already part of a session. View the session here.

To access contact information login