April 29, 2014 — From 1996 to 2011, 15 percent of the U.S. Southeast coastal region experienced land cover or land use changes—that’s a total of 14,500 square miles and the equivalent of seven million football fields. With the release of land cover and change data gathered from 2010 to 2011, this discovery and many others are available instantly from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Change Analysis Program ( C-CAP).
The area covered by C-CAP data includes the intertidal areas, wetlands, and adjacent uplands of coastal North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida that drain east into the Atlantic Ocean. C-CAP updates its nationally standardized database of regional land cover and change information every five years.
“The release of this latest data set means that C-CAP data users get a long-range view of changes in the coastal Southeast—for example, wetland losses and gains, development trends, and changes in forest areas over 15 years,” says Nate Herold, C-CAP coordinator at the NOAA Coastal Services Center. “That can lead to better-informed plans and decisions relating to hazard resilience, preservation of wildlife habitat, wetlands restoration, and other issues.”